Professor Crandall is amazing. She has the ability to help you grow as a writer within a short amount of time and is one of those rare people that inspires you to be better. I signed up for the UW Gender Studies class just because I was interested in the subject but I never bothered looking Crandall up on CULPA - I just wanted to learn more about topics in Gender Studies. I say this because you really have to be interested in the subject to get the most out of this class. This isn't just a writing class - it's a class aimed to challenge the way you think as well as the way you write. If you are not an open-minded individual you will not enjoy this class because the discussions that take place are not meant to "be comfortable" or typical. In other words, if you don't like being challenged, take a different class. Here's a quick list of what I believe makes Emma Crandall's class worth fighting to get into: -straight-forward feed back: if you want more feedback, ASK for it and go to her office hours prepared with questions. It's really your own fault for not taking the extra time to engage with her. I have never found another Professor's office hours to be more helpful. -amazing class discussions: you need to participate and share your thoughts even if you're not sure how others will react to it - this is what makes this class so interesting. And also, don't get offended by anything Crandall says. She is trying to challenging the way you think, not trying to force her own beliefs on you. She just wants to help you make sure you can back up your argument effectively. -amazing personality: at the beginning of the semester she seemed a little guarded. As the semester went on though, and as she got to know the class, she loosened/livened up and it turns out she is really funny. SHE LOVES HER STUDENTS and that is important if you want a good professor. -excellent readings: I don't know what else to say about the readings other than that they were interesting and engaging. -timely grading: you get your essays and homework back pretty darn quick.
I agree with some of the opinions in the previous comments. Prof. Crandall teaches fairly well the general mechanics of an academic essay, she is demanding, and she is a hard grader. Itâ€™s beneficial, of course, since writing is so important to a successful academic life at Columbia. However, she has a personality that does not click with too many people. In a large class the relationship with a professor does not matter much. In a small class like UW it can affect performance negatively. In my case it became a slippery slope. On both parts, unfortunately as at a certain point I realized that the professor was not even reading my assignments. There is no doubt that I was part of the reason this class did not work well for me, but this review is about the professor. So, here are a few critical observations: Prof. Crandall puts considerable pressure on her students, which in itself is positive. However, very often she did not back up that pressure with concrete, specific suggestions on what or how to improve. I would have liked to know about potential problems with my writing before starting to write my first essay. Instead, too often I received back writing assignments with just squares around keywords. Important clues, of course, but not sufficiently helpful. Readings were challenging, but only a few were truly interesting from an intellectual point of view. I understand that the semester at Columbia is long and hard for a professor too. Nevertheless, I found it unacceptable that at least in two occasions the professor went on rants about unspecified people pointing out that she was not afraid of anyone. It was unnecessary, threatening and inconvenient. Class discussions were productive, but to a certain point. A few times I was left wondering whether the professor had really read carefully all of the readings she had assigned. This is my opinion and I might be completely wrong. The fact is that sometimes the discussions did not have a precise aim. I envy the other reviewers who had a great experience with Prof. Crandall. I wanted to succeed in this course and I can see that this professor can be a good teacher when she wants/is in the right mood. Unfortunately, all I can recommend is this: Register for her class, if you think you can handle a very strong personality. If your gut tells you in the first week that this is not the teacher for you, donâ€™t think it twice. It just means that this is not the teacher for you.
Echoing what others have said â€” Prof. Crandall is definitely the kind of teacher you want to have your first semester (or even year) at Columbia. I took her Gender and Sexuality studies class (actually C1012, not C1010). The topic was interesting, but Prof. Crandall really made it come to life. She would always allow us to really discuss the texts, criticize and praise their writing choices, as well as discuss the terminology and material to ensure we had material for our essay. The essays themselves were (I felt) pretty standard. We had a formal and final draft, as well as other writing assignments to do in preparation for our progression essays. Prof. Crandall IS a harsh grader, no doubt about that, but she has a very precise eye and can actually articulate what you do well and where you fall short. This sort of thing has helped me a lot â€” and if she gives you advice, TAKE IT! She will definitely notice if you do. Although she may seem to be unfairly harsh, you will benefit from this. I canâ€™t tell you how many teachers I have had that will point to something very vague or nondescript in your essay and say thatâ€™s either â€œgoodâ€ or â€œbadâ€. Prof. Crandall will highlight specific words or moves and comment on them, and that will really help you get a better sense for where youâ€™re going in the future. A few criticisms: my biggest one is that she never really taught us how to do that sort of editing for ourselves, or even how to take the first steps. Editing is something that emerges naturally from reading and writing a lot, but I would have enjoyed some pointers as to things we should read or write about. Obviously, I became a better proofreader just by listening to her advice, but Iâ€™d like to take the next steps to be able to develop an eve like Prof. Crandall has. Other times, I felt like I got short-shrift at conferences (essentially, mandatory 15 minute office hours) she made us go to. I would show up early, but she would start late with me and, for some reason, make it a point to end on time. One time she started five minutes late and ended on time; she offered to give me some extra help on the way out the building to make up for this, but instead gave pointers someone who overslept and missed their conference entirely (who was conveniently waiting right outside the door when we left). But, despite the criticisms I may have, I think this class was fantastic, and I highly recommend her to anyone who gets the chance to pick her class. She is a fantastic teacher and I am lucky to have been able to learn so much from her!
Prof. Crandall is an amazing and engaging professor! Keep in mind that I took her Gender and Sexuality section last fall. Like the previous post, I think anyone who wants to become a good writer should seek to have a professor like Emma Crandall. She really tries to focus in how a student thinks of crafting an essay and tries to help with the planning process for academic writing. She demands creativity and insight but also gives good and specific comments after every progression. Prof. Crandall does her best to engage in an exciting discussion about the texts we read in class (about content and writing style). The readings are pretty much awesome so no complaints there. While the readings may not be necessarily long or hard, we did get a writing assignment for every class (~500 words or two pages) which did get annoying at times. Please note that she is not an easy grader. I did not know a single person who had an A in the first 2 progressions (and I was in a class of 12 students...). Definitely take her Gender and Sexuality class if you get the chance!
Dr. Crandall is the type of professor that every student should want in their first semester at Columbia. She is in no way an easy grader, but she works with her students and attempts to get every student through the class. She makes the classroom discussion interesting and will work with students knowing that assignments can be quite constricting in their requirements. In general I think anyone who takes her will not be disappointed with what they take away from the class.