Luke really cares about his students learning the CC content really thoroughly. He's really great at directing the conversations and synthesizing all the readings for our understanding. He'll give you a very solid CC experience and I'd recommend him! He seems like he'd be a hard grader, but really he really respects all arguments as long as they're sound and well written.
Political Theory is a pretty decent lecture. Professor Macinnis is really well spoken and is a really good lecturer. Also, the required book for the course, Rosen's Political Thought, is a great way to get an overview of major political philosophers. Honestly, there's a lot of overlap with these readings and CC, but we just connect it more explicitly to politics. The downside is there aren't many assignments. There are two papers and one final exam. On the exam, you're expected to know what each philosopher thought about each topic, which can be overwhelming. The papers are a mixed bag. The prompt is purposefully inflammatory so students will have a lot to write about, but neither professor Macinnis nor the TAs were very specific on their expectations for the paper (i.e. what makes an "A" paper). In fact, when my TA was explaining the grading process, he only told us the difference between a B-, a B, and a B+, making me think that no one in our section got an A- or A on the papers. The grading can be pretty frustrating, but if you're looking for a super interesting lecture, this is a good course for that.
I absolutely loved taking this course with Luke. Not only is he crazy smart, he is a thoughtful and engaging professor. He presents the texts in a palatable way, shares his own expertise, and encourages discussion and debate. As a political theory professor, he has been my favorite in my time at Columbia. You should attend class, you should participate, but there were plenty of people who didn't and still did fine. The papers are graded pretty fairly, but if you don't either try hard or discuss them with him, you likely won't get an A. The final is short questions and if you do all the readings, is manageable. I really enjoyed taking this class, I did the readings, I showed up, I didn't spend all that much time otherwise studying or slaving over papers, and I got an A-. In terms of ease, it's your average political theory course, but in terms of what you'll get out of it, and Luke's teaching, it's way above average.
Luke is the best. That is all there is to say. I was so happy to finally have a normal core professor. Class discussions are very relaxed and Luke is very understanding about our workload as Columbia students. Readings are extensive and you should try to get through some of them to actively participate in discussions because there is a significant participation grade. 3 papers--1500 words, 0 stress, very good comments that are constructive and not demeaning Participation grade--make 3 intelligent comments every class and you'll do fine Final-- Luke will give you essay questions and a list of terms. Define all of the terms and plan the essay Midterm -- 10% of your grade, 2 quote id and explanations 10 discussion posts <200 words, counted as a completion grade You won't regret taking Luke for CC.
He picks favorites. Disproportionately chill teacher. Don't expect to learn anything but he probably won't give you lower than a B. I remember asking a kid in class who fervently quotes twitter and Dane Cook how he was doing in participation. He had an A. If you want a class that makes no sense, this is the one.
Can't stress how awesome Luke is (echoing the person below me). He's relaxed and does a fantastic job incorporating class opinions as well as his own thoughtful reflection on the CC content. You could get away with avoiding the reading for the whole semester as he never put you on the spot and provides extremely specific study guides for the midterm and final. That being said, you'd do yourself a disservice since he does give a participation grade- but because the class often goes off on tangents related to philosophy/politics/contemporary world affairs, you could probably get away with talking during those segments. Luke's the chill albeit geeky teacher you want to impress. Go to office hours to talk about papers (which can be on the longer side) or just chit chat; essentially, you should befriend him! He's an incredibly smart, amiable guy and I'm a total fan girl in case that wasn't obvious already.
Luke strikes the perfect balance between being the homie (e.g. taking his classes to movies with the class budget as opposed to museums, giving generous study guides for all exams) and being a really insightful, obviously brilliant, and dedicated CC teacher who knows how to lead a good class discussion and teaches to both the people in the room who did the reading and those who did not. Couldn't imagine having a better CC professor.