Cagatay Kutluhan

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Apr 2011

Cagatay Kutluhan is an excellent professor. His lectures are crystal clear and so is his handwriting. I shopped around different professors before I settled on his class. Very fair grader. Straight-forward exams. His notes are much better than the text itself. I wish all math professors at Columbia were like him! I have not received my grade yet, but I don't care as the knowledge I gained from attending his class is priceless. The TAs he selected were perfect too. I would highly recommend taking any class under him.

Jan 2011

Cagatay's method of teaching is unorthodox, but nonetheless effective. He makes sure everyone is paying attention. Sometimes he'll write something incorrectly on the board to make sure everyone is awake, and he guides students through proofs in class rather than just spoon feeding every derivation. He works through many examples, always listens to questions, and will challenge each of his students. As long as you are fundamentally sound in Calculus I-III, taking ODE with Cagatay will not be problem (he does expect that you remember integration by parts, fundamental theorem of calculus). Also know that as long as you pay careful attention to detail on the exams and take your time, you can pull off a B+ no problem.

Dec 2010

Okay teacher as of right now, decent at best. Lectures are mostly useless, consisting of quotes and occasionally paraphrases from Boyce and Diprima’s Elementary Differential Equations book (the only reason to go to class is to turn in your homework for the week). My chief complaint of Cagatay, shared by many in the class I spoke to, was his inability to connect with the students during lecture. I would sometimes come out having understood much less than half of what he was talking about. His explanations, and responses to student questions, were limited to rewordings of Boyce (which itself is a difficult text from which to self-learn) and offered little to clarify problems or elucidate the material. The results of the ridiculous first midterm, where the average was 40, median 39, led him to reconsider the scope of the class material, and he ended up cutting Chapter 7 (systems of linear equations) from the syllabus—we focused most of our time on series solutions and Laplace transforms. After a while, Cagatay did get more accommodating to student needs, and our second midterm was much more straightforward, as were the homework problems. The average was a 72. The final wasn’t bad either, and the average was also a 72. I think the distribution of grades was about what an engineering (but not math) class is normally—the average was curved to about a B/B+ (although Cagatay frightened us initially by saying he’d curve to a C+/B-). On Cagatay’s good side: he’s quite responsive to email and enjoys interacting with the students (he learned all our names within a few class meetings), and seems open to talking during office hours. However, he doesn’t seem too interested in teaching the class—as it’s sort of run by the engineering school while he’s in the math department. Cagatay will get better soon, I think, as seems very willing to change his lesson plan and heed student opinions (e.g. he gave us mandatory evaluations during class). Overall, after speaking to friends from the other ODE classes, I would say take Cagatay’s class if you can’t get into Lauda—who’s awesome, I had him for Calc III. Cagatay is probably better than Virdol et al but I still wouldn’t call ODE with him an enjoyable experience, as of now. P.S. I have serious difficulty believing it was anyone but the professor (or the kid in the back who got the A+) who wrote the previous review.

Dec 2010

Professor Kutluhan is new to Columbia, but is an excellent professor who will likely soon be known as one of the better math professors we have at the school. Initially, the pace of the class was extremely fast, and that led to the first midterm's average of 40/100, but as he settled in, the class become much easier to understand and very instructive. He is good at explaining concepts and always makes sure to clarify things when somebody asks a question. He's also very helpful if you ever want to ask him something after class or go to his office hours, or even through e-mail. All in all, a great professor who seems to enjoy his job and cares about his students.