Homa Zarghamee

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Apr 2021

I did not really enjoy intro to economic reasoning and I think that was due to a multitude of factors. First, I thoroughly did not like the CORE textbook that was used because it felt as if it was trying to connect everyday concepts to economics without explaining the concepts first. The order in which the material was taught was also a little hard to follow and. However, to my surprise, Economics of Gender was way more engaging and interesting. The connections between economics and the "real" world were much more natural and purposeful. I also liked how it was more reading based and the articles we read for homework were actually engaging and insightful. Even though I did not like the content of intro to economic reasoning, I do think that Professor Zarghamee explained the content very clearly and concisely. She is great at using examples to explain the foundations of economics to students new to this field. But I think that Professor Zarghamee really does shine most in Economics of Gender. She is so knowledgeable and passionate about this field and it definitely was reflected in the atmosphere of the class (in a positive way). She also cares about her students a lot and genuinely wants them to learn. She had over 3+ hours of office hours a week and was willing to explain the same concept over and over again until you understood. *I do want to note that I took both of these courses during the pandemic and in the immersive format so my review might not reflect these courses going forward*

Mar 2021

I really loved taking Spring A intensive Intro to Econ with Professor Zarghamee. Here’s why: 1) Zarghamee makes lectures interactive by asking frequent questions and including examples. So, this is NOT your typical snore-fest lecture format. Everyone works through examples on their own, then she goes over them with the class so you understand what’s up. Zarghamee also includes students who might be afraid to raise their hand and doesn’t care if your in-class answers are right or wrong. 2) Zarghamee encourages collaboration. She suggests making a study group for the homework. DEFINITELY make a study group. The homework is very challenging because she expects you to collaborate with others and discuss each of the problems. Through collaboration, I learned more and did better on assignments. I like that she structures the course with this in mind. 3) The exam has a generous curve. The averages on the midterms and final were in the 50s, but she rounds the average up to a low B. Yes, the exams are hard. But, they’re hard for everyone, making it a fair curve. The material on the exam is the same concepts as the homework. You have to really understand the concepts to interpret the questions and understand what they’re asking for. 4) The difficulty of the online exams makes them cheat-proof. They are open book and open note exams, but I honestly don’t know where someone could get help while taking the tests; the required depth of knowledge is hard to find online. 5) There were 2 office hours times per week, each was about 1.5 hours. Even if you have no questions, Zarghamee lets you chill in the office hours room and work on your homework. When you stumble across a hard question, she will help you work through it. 6) Zarghamee is the kindest human ever! She is super approachable and will answer any question. She makes a huge effort to get to know every student. Cons: 1) I would not recommend this class to someone who struggles with math. Although studying will help someone do well on one of Professor Zarghamee's exams, it does not guarantee a high score if you struggle with critical thinking or math (concepts like percentages, etc.). _____________________________________ Overall, I would 100% take Zarghamee again. I liked the intensive format. Usually, by the midterm, I’ve forgotten what we learned in the first part of a class. When the midterm is just a few weeks in, everything is super fresh which makes studying easier. That said, if you don’t balance your schedule (having an A and a B course) it’s not a good idea to take her intensive. It is like taking 2 courses at once (which is the goal of the intensive format). So, if you have 5 classes and take just hers as an intensive, it will be like you’re doing 6 classes at once for half the semester.

Mar 2021

I took Intro to Economic Reasoning with Prof. Z. for the Spring A session. Given that this class was accelerated, I feel as if she went through course material well. At times material was rushed and a lot of information was given to us at once, but then again we had half a semester to go through the material so this was expected. Prof. Z. is super nice, explains concepts well (as well as answers questions during the lecture pretty quickly), and her lecture slides were very useful for going back and understanding concepts. The textbook was a free website that explained the material adequately, but I do wish there were more practice problems that we could use. The problem sets were pretty fair and we were allowed to talk about them outside of class so that was useful as well. All of this is great EXCEPT for the midterm and final exams. In my opinion (for reference I had an average grade in the class), they were extremely difficult and beyond what was expected in the problem sets. Because of Zoom University, she did warn us that the tests were designed to be quite hard to combat cheating, so it wasn't blind-sighting. The average was usually below a passing grade or just at it, but she did curve the average exam grade to be an 83% which made me feel a lot better in comparison to the raw exam grade. Overall, great professor, good class, but very difficult exams. Would I recommend? Yes, but not the Spring A session. A full-semester class would be more manageable.

Dec 2020

I loved this course so much-- the concepts and readings were super interesting and Professor Zarghamee does a great job of presenting the material in a way that's understandable! I didn't have a background in econ or statistics and found that Professor Zarghamee did an excellent job teaching and reviewing foundational economic models. Overall, would recommend the course to anyone interested in economics or gender studies!

Dec 2018

This course was really great. It starts off kind of slow, with a lot of plain economics that you have to learn to understand the rest of the course. But, the readings were super interesting and it's a very interesting way of looking at gender issues. Professor Zarghamee is funny and intelligent. A problem was that often we were learning a lot in the homeworks and completely different things in the lecture. Sometimes the readings were discussed but not always. You are required to keep track of all of it.

Dec 2018

Professor Zarghamee is really sweet and has the best intentions in teaching this class but it is simply a mess. For the first month, I left class each time feeling more confused than when I entered (which led me to eventually stop going). She would take the most basic concepts of the unit and go over the in excruciating detail, making me feel like I was oversimplifying it, and would completely bypass the concepts that people tended to struggle with more. During the midterm there were no less than three hands raised at once because the questions were so confusing. She would also spend half the class period going on tangents about things that were actually very interesting to me but would ultimately be harmful because it would get so off-track that she would miss discussing important aspects of the material. The TA was also super unhelpful--if I emailed her with five questions, she would answer one and never address the other four. Very frustrating and hoping that I don't end up with a D in the class.

Jan 2018

Great class. Super easy. Not an econ major, but had taken Intro to Economic Reasoning before taking this class. Homa is extremely captivating to listen to and has a lot of opinions, which makes her very personable and adds a level to the class. I bought the textbook but only skimmed it before midterm/final. She pretty much teaches you everything you need to know, or it's in the homework. She is very kind, clearly extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, and I feel that this class really expanded my mind and allowed to think more deeply about things like the gender wage gap, maternity leave, and marriage. I really, really enjoyed it. Take the class as an econ elective. It's awesome and super easy.

Dec 2017

I took this class with high expectations after reading the glowing CULPA reviews. After taking Homa's class, I can tell that she is a good person with the best intents as a teacher, and probably was at one point a very good teacher when she had more control of the curriculum. However, this class has been the greatest source of my stress this semester, and it is the class I most regret taking. This review should be taken as a review of Homa's intro to economic reasoning CLASS, not of Homa in her other classes. The structure and time management in class was very poor. In class, Homa used powerpoints that she hadn't made, and she was clearly very unfamiliar with them. She would breeze through slides saying "this is all in the book," before we could write anything down, let alone grasp the concept. Toward the end of class, she gave up with powerpoints all together, just scrolling through the online textbook projected on the board. Overall, the class always felt disorganized and jumbled. Homa spent a disproportionate amount of class going on tangents about GMOs or factory working conditions in developing countries or Amazon. Although I actually really enjoyed and appreciated her insight on such subjects, the result was that we never learned the actual concepts that we were tested on in class. On the last day of class, Homa tried to race through THREE whole units that we had yet to cover (each unit is supposed to take at least a week,) and these happened to be the units that made up the majority of the final. The problem sets were excessive and access to to help inside and outside of class was limited. There are problem sets assigned each week, which take an absurd amount of time for only being worth 25% of our grade. The exercises are VERY unclear, and the TA does not help clear it up. In fact, if you go to TA (Hoda's) office hours, you only receive help from the other confused students, because the TA usually hadn't even read the chapter yet. Going to the professor's office hours instead didn't help, since this semester she assigned the homework the day of and sometimes even AFTER her office hours had taken place. My biggest problem with this class was THE TEXTBOOK. Homa and some of the other intro to Econ professors started using the CORE this semester as some alternative way to teach Econ. While, in theory, I really do like the idea of learning Econ in a non-traditional way, this textbook does nothing but confuse you and set you up for failure. The textbook explains everything in a very round about way, so that by the end of each chapter, you have no idea what the key terms even mean. Most importantly, the exercises in the CORE were not applications of anything we were tested on for the midterm or final. I might have less complaints if the material we were tested on was as theoretical as the textbook, but the midterm and final were math heavy. The class did not end on a good note. The final exam was atrocious. We were given hardly any materials to prepare (only a short practice test that was unlike the final in every way,) and since this textbook is so alternative, you can't easily find practice problems online. So I went back through the entire textbook and re-did every exercise, studying for over a week straight. All of this was in vain, because only one question on the final exam was reasonable based on the material we had practiced in class. I don't even care if there is a curve, (I don't know yet whether there will be,) it is just insulting that I spent so long learning things that I would not be tested on. I am writing this review before I have received my final grade, so I'm not even here to complain about my grade. I simply feel that the way the material was presented and the unfairness of how we were assessed in this class was so egregious and caused me so much stress that it doesn't matter what my grade is, I just deeply regret taking this class.

Apr 2017

I loved Prof. Zarghamee! She is very good at answering any questions, no matter how dumb they might seem. She explains topics clearly and makes sure everyone gets it before she moves on. Would highly recommend!

Apr 2017

Professor Zarghamee is the best professor I have ever had at Barnard/Columbia. Econometrics can be an extremely dry and challenging subject yet Prof. Zarghamee makes it so interesting, engaging and understandable. I had learned similar concepts before and never fully understood them but after taking this class, I feel like I have a really great understanding of Econometrics. She is really helpful during office hours and tends to go over problems in depth in class if people are confused. Overall the best class & teacher I've ever taken in college!

Dec 2016

Homa is extremely good at expressing content clearly and concisely. She states the important points in a few different ways such that the material becomes ingrained. She is also just very agreeable, funny, and down to Earth. The course was structured such that the important information was streamlined and the less relevant/more convoluted material was left for a later course. Someone who already has some background in econometrics therefore might find it pretty easy, while anyone who is trying the subject for the first time ends up with a very firm understanding of the most important concepts/methods. If you are especially looking to learn R, this course won't provide you with any incentive structure but might present an opportunity for you to do so according to your own motivation. The replication of an actual study that utilized econometrics was pretty tricky for most people (our data set was partially in Dutch, for example) but Prof. Zarghamee was very understanding if a team had put in a significant amount of effort but ran into trouble. She is generally extremely helpful. It is important to note that this is the first time that the class was taught with R instead of Stata, which would inevitably have an impact on the difficulty/plausibility of the assignment. All in all, she made it was far more interesting than I expected it to be. It obviously dug into some more technical aspects of the major. I only wish I had tried econometrics sooner.

May 2015

In spite of the sterling reviews this professor has received I venture to guess it has more to do with the fact that you can get an Econ credit by reading a measly few NYTimes articles per week. This teacher is unresponsive, apathetic, and, frankly in my opinion, just really, really lazy. She never responds to emails even when she has not sent out the time and location of the exam the day before the exam--leaving her students wondering where in the heck they're gonna take their final! Most classes during the week (at least one lecture per week) consists of literally going through the homework problems one at a time (hint: these are not the sorts of questions that require this level of review). Fairly easy grade by Econ standards...but really this is only an indication of how little this professor cares.

Apr 2015

Awesome Class!!! If she teaches it again TAKE IT!!! She is an amazing teacher and is really engaged in the material. She definitely knows her stuff. This is a great econ elective to take. The work material is the lightest of all econ classes. Homework is graded on a check/no check basis so if you do it, you get full credit. The Midterm was literally straight out of the book. If you come to class and follow in the book, there is no reason you shouldn't get an A. This class could be difficult for those without a background in econ but don't let that intimidate you from taking it, it's totally manageable! Awesome class and awesome professor. Take it! You won't regret it!

Apr 2014

AMAZING CLASS, AMAZING PROFESSOR. Her first semester teaching at Barnard her class had 30 people in it, two semesters later and it had to be capped at 100. She is the best thing to happen to the Barnard Economics Department. She is exceedingly clear, brings the material to life, ingrains the concepts so deeply that you begin applying them to everything. Not only is she incredibly approachable and really wants to see her students succeed, but she is also just a cool person at large - she has been recognized for some remarkable research she has done and continues to do a lot of additional work each semester. TAKE HER CLASS, it is the best thing I have done in my time here.

Dec 2013

Professor Zarghamee is a gem! Grant this women tenure immediately, Barnard/Columbia!! She is a great addition to the Economics department. Not only is she a highly intelligent and wonderful professor, but she is also warm, funny, kind and approachable--like someone you'd want to grab a beer with after class. She conveys all the concepts of Econometrics in a very crystal clear and concise manner--and she even provides class notes that highlight the main points of the lecture. If you are confused about ANYTHING, she will do her absolute best to answer your question and address your confusion--not matter how minor the question may seem. I also liked that the class was small (only about 20 students) so it didn't feel like a lecture at all and that I could get personal attention. I looked forward to going to class because she teaches it so well and the subject is inherently super interesting. She also makes herself very available during her office hours and after class. The problem sets are manageable and include STATA exercises (that the TA goes over during recitation). The midterm was somewhat difficult because the first half of the course covers the foundation and basic of regression analysis and hypothesis testing. However, the final was easier so it all evened out. Personally, I really enjoyed working with my group to do the regression replication because it forced us to truly delve into STATA and data analysis while apply everything that we'd learn throughout the semester as well as learn more complex econometric techniques. You will do well in this class as long as you put in effort and do all your work. It also doesn't hurt to have a genuine interest in the subject and its real world applications.

Dec 2013

Professor Zarghamee is excel at economics and is able to teach everything clearly and effectively to students. Her humorous personalities make this class more enjoyable! She enchanted me and made me can't stopping thinking about econ and her great lecture after class. It is she who made me want to major in economics even though I did not like economics that much before. I avoid going to bathroom during class time because I don't want to miss anything in great lecture. This is an intense course: learning micro and macro in one semester. But as long as you dont miss any class, you will be a master of econ (even if you never read the book)!! Her lecture is so effective and enjoyable! I didnt learn anything on micro before, but I earned a decent grade at the midterm simply because I did not miss any her lecture (PS: I never open the textbook unless I had to find hwk questions). DONT WAIT AND TAKE HER CLASS! YOU WILL BE THANKFUL TO THIS DECISION!

Nov 2013

I have thoroughly enjoyed Professor Zarghamee's class. She literally goes through the reading concept by concept with a powerpoint during class so there is no need to read unless you don't understand something. She is very open to questions and have a very laid back and effective teaching style. I highly recommend any class by her. She not only knows what she's talking about, she knows how to teach it and explain it in a way that you will understand.