Mary Sever

May 2016

Professor Sever is great. If you need her for anything, she'll definitely make time for you whether it's a small question on something from lecture or what's due or anything else. I had her for biochem lab. Her lab lectures were well put together and clear. She provided the material needed for quizzes and lab reports and was always puts students first.

Apr 2015

Seems like a nice person (she always brings us candy on exam days) but is by far the worst and most incompetent lecturer I've had during my time here. Frequently cancels office hours/problem sessions and this makes her inaccessible, it's impossible to get some 1-on-1 time with her, and she once didn't even show up to a session because she "totally forgot." During lecture she often forgets what she says, or backtracks and confuses the class (I'd actually prefer she read off the slide because then it'd be easier to follow). I also think it's pretty hypocritical of her to expect us to remember and regurgitate months' worth of information when she can't even get through a single lecture correctly WITH notes. She assigns problem sets due every two weeks that are a hassle to get through, and doesn't even grade them. I don't think she grades anything that gets handed to her in its entirety because I've definitely received exams where the grader's handwriting changes halfway. You'd think she would hand things back quicker if she had a bunch of Chem department drones doing her work for her. I don't recommend taking biochem with her. Take it at Columbia instead.

Apr 2015

Professor Sever is probably the most incompetent professor I have ever encountered here at Barnard and Columbia. First off, she is extremely unreliable in handing back assignments and tests. I have to say, she was quite good with the first test, but we have not gotten back our second test and it has been over two weeks. Furthermore, we haven't gotten back our problem sets from several weeks ago; she also is not timely in posting solutions to the problem sets on Courseworks. Furthermore, the problem sets are difficult and students do put in effort into them, but she doesn't even to bother to check them; the few problem sets that we have gotten back have no markings on them whatsoever. She is also a very poor lecturer, simply reading off the slides that she posts. She also frequently says wrong information in class, someone will point it out, and then she'll get confused and flustered and ultimately confuse the rest of the class. She is not responsible; one time, she missed a recitation section and we all waited for her to show up for twenty minutes! It's super disappointing to be in a challenging class and to not have a professor who is responsible and reliable. Professor Sever has really confirmed the inadequacies of the Chemistry Department at Barnard.

Dec 2014

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a Biochemistry major and have not yet received my final grade for this 5 credit course so everything I'm saying is as unbiased as can be. While the course offered many opportunities to learn biochemistry lab techniques and truly discover the beauty of each technique and its usefulness, this course failed to truly allow students to grow as individual biochemists and progress forward through the semester. Why, you may ask? Because, Professor Sever though knowledgeable about the course material, was unbelievably unprofessional in her INABILITY to RETURN STUDENT LAB REPORTS ON TIME!!!!!!!! I (along with everyone else) handed in our very first lab report on September 9th, 2014 and did not get the grade or comments on it back until December 9th, 2014!!!! That's 3 MONTHS later. Basically as the semester progressed, we were handing in lab reports one after the other with NO PRIOR FEEDBACK from past lab reports. NO FEEDBACK meant that it was impossible for students to improve, see growth or have a sound sense of where they were in the class. While most Barnard/Columbia professors generally seem to be unconcerned about grades, they need to realize that grades matter to students... especially when we are talking about a 5 credit class! 5 CREDITS! As I'm writing this, it is the morning of December 25th, and I've only received 3 lab reports out of 7 back! This is preposterous! I am really disappointed with how this course was so poorly executed. Kudos to the Lab Assistant/Instructor, Dr. Liu, though; she is phenomenal (I would have preferred if she taught the class).