professor
Patrick Joseph Quinlivan

Dec 2017

Patrick is the best TA I have ever had. He conveys the material in a concise and clear way and is the best General Chemistry TA.

Dec 2016

It is hard to explain how amazing a TA Patrick Quinlivan is. If he was was teaching a higher level chemistry course I would seriously consider taking it even though it would be unrelated to my major, simply because he would make it super interesting, fun, and understandable. I typically don't pay attention in Parkin's lectures and just read his lecture slides at a later date. Most of what I have learned in this class though is simply from attending Patrick's recitation sections. You would have to be crazy to skip one. He goes over the hardest parts of the lecture and makes them crystal clear and easy to understand. He does a good job of writing his thought process on the board in great detail for the first one, then slowly cutting back as he does more examples. He does a good balance of teaching the material, and doing example questions. He clearly has worked with Parkin for a while now as Patrick seems to know where Parkin falls short in teaching and fills in well during recitation. One week Patrick went out of order relative to Parkin's lecture so he could explain the next weeks material that was complicated so the next lecture (a more complex one) would make more sense. He does a good job of answering questions, and from what I know of my friends who have asked him for help in office hours he is as fantastic then too. I have talked to him after recitation on multiple equations asking about chemistry stuff semi-unrelated to the material simply out of curiosity and he has always taken the time to answer my questions thoughtfully. Lastly, he always has either an Irish football (soccer) shirt or sweatshirt on. Can't say enough great things about Patrick. He is the only Teacher/TA that I will miss from this semester. If you are in Parkin's class, sending you luck in getting Patrick as your TA

Dec 2013

Professor Parkin is pretty much universally agreed upon as being the best General Chemistry teacher. He is also pretty much universally agreed upon as being a bad teacher. The order in which material is presented makes little sense. For example, Lewis dot structures and Periodic Trends are discussed without mentioning the word “orbital”, though knowledge of orbital structure is necessary to understand the topics. Parkin frequently uses vocabulary that he doesn’t explain. In addition, he wants everyone to have a very deep understanding of chemistry. As a result he moves quite quickly (especially after midterm 3) and instead of having a deep understanding, most students just memorize a bunch of facts. He is not very good at understanding student questions. If you have a question go to your TA. The OWL homework is ridiculously tedious and rarely reflects what you actually need to know for the class. His Practice Exams are very good predictions of how you will do on the actual exams, and his exams are fair. He likes to test random exceptions to rules on his tests so make sure to study exceptions on his slides carefully. I would suggest studying well and performing well on the first 3 midterms so that your final counts for less, since Parkin rushes through the last 2 chapters in the last 2 classes. If you spend some time during your Thanksgiving travel to read the textbook chapter on transition metals, you will be much less stressed when the final comes around. The clicker questions are a very good gauge of how you are doing in the class. If you get one wrong, make sure you understand why. I would like to note that my unfavorable review for Parkin is not a result of my grade. I got an A+, but I attribute that mostly to my high school chemistry preparation. This class covers plenty of material not covered on AP Chemistry so don’t get cocky. Parkin is the best choice for chemistry but still a bad one. DO YOUR BEST TO GET PATRICK AS A TA. He is amazing, and will hopefully continue to teach after his PhD. Patrick attended every lecture and thus knew what Parkin didn’t explain properly and knew how to teach those concepts in a straight forward manner to us. He also created extra practice problem packets for us which were helpful if you needed the practice.