Miriam Chusid

Nov 2016

Since she is teaching this same course next semester and there is a choice between taking it with her and with another professor and also since we have just gotten back our mid-terms and first papers I will comment on what the experience of taking this course has been like up to now. She is a pretty good teacher. I would say she isn't particularly good or bad....she gets the job done, nothing special. This class is supposed to be a sort of East Asian version of Art Hum and she even said at the beginning that participation would be important but it seems like the same handful of regulars do 90% of the commenting. The first half of the course deals with Buddhist art in all three countries which unite the region and then goes into what makes the three countries distinct in the second half. She went off syllabus in the first half and so didn't get to everything. Personally I was left feeling like I didn't get so much from the first half, maybe this had to do with her choices of objects to analyze. For some reason at Columbia T.A.'s are brought into a class basically to just lighten the load for the teacher as far as grading goes so in a class of 19 people we had a T.A. grade the paper and Professor Chusid grade the mid-terms. This makes it difficult to predict what will be looked for in the final paper and final exam if they swap, which is frustrating. The paper was graded fairly lightly by the T.A. Just make sure you have an actual thesis statement in your introductory paragraph even for a short 3 page formal analysis. I thought Professor Chusid graded the mid-term a bit severely, so def. prepare a lot for that and hit all the points she mentions in class when discussing a piece, even then you probably won't be able to get a perfect score because she looks for very specific things about each piece, some of which may not seem very important. I was hoping this class would be a really engaging experience because it was so small but I'm not sure it is that much better than the 70 person session which is held by other professors who teach this same course.

Oct 2016

So, I took this class to fulfill the Core Curriculum Art Humanities requirement. I'm Chinese, so I thought it would be cool to learn more about my culture, rather than something focused on Western Art. DO NOT BE LIKE ME. Look, this class actually has a really interesting subject matter. But the professor is so awful that it totally ruins it. Chusid is just NOT a good teacher. She treats everyone like they're still in high school. Everything consists of memorizing dates, dynasties, etc. and random facts she tells you about pieces - there is no synthesis as to what larger scope any piece has as it relates to the culture. I honestly could better teach myself from the assigned readings. Everything is just short-term memorization; I know for a fact that I will not remember anything I learned in this class by midterms next semester. The other thing I really have a problem with is that I feel that Miriam has no respect for her students. We are a week past midterms now, and there are 3-4 students that she still cannot call on by name. She has asked them each repeatedly what their names are, we have turned in assignments, there is just no excuse. I really don't know how she is employed by Columbia. She is truly the worst teacher I've ever had, and I've had a lot of bad teachers. Bottom line: DO. NOT. TAKE. HER. CLASS.