Andrew Sage

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

May 2006

Okay, so I love-love-love-loved this man. Not only is he young and (yes, I am going to say it) hip, but he is so smart and really taught me how to write. Yes, he has a very specific way that he wants his students to structure their papers-but that was one of the things I loved about him! Unlike most english professors, he was NOT AT ALL vague about his expectations of your writing. Not only was he always availible (and wanted to) meet with and help students after class but he was such an interesting person to talk to. Granted, I should note that many people in my class did not feel this way. In fact, they thought he was annoying and it bothered them that he randomly called on people (who might not have done the reading). My answer: do the hecking reading, assholes. Seriously though, this man is a gem. if you love english and are willing to put in the effort and work hard, you'll be rewarded greatly!

Dec 2005

Sage is an intelligent person; I'd certainly recommend his class. All of the classes are entirely discussion based, which, if you're a talkative and outspoken person, is excellent. But for those who prefer to listen to what others have to say, this'll be a frustrating class. Sage insists on getting every student to talk, and will press further even if the student is visibly uncomfortable with being put on the spot. We had many very engaging (and some controversial) discussions; although it isn't absolutely vital to take notes, you may find yourself doing so just because some of the ideas that are brought up are so interesting. Remember to speak up (but compose what you have to say first, because you're likely to get grilled - which is sometimes fun, but can also be a bit nerve-wracking). Keep note of the things he says will be important on the exams, because these are generally ideas that gel with his take on the texts, and it can be hard to survive in the class if you consistently argue something directly contradictory to what he believes. He'll listen to what you have to say, but he also seems very firm in what he believes about the texts, and isn't as open to other interpretations as he could be. The grade is broken down just as others have indicated - participation is critical, essays are vital, and the two exams aren't. He makes all of these things quite clear. Sage's class is definitely more difficult than other Lit Hum classes; the biggest difference between his class and other instructors' classes, besides the intense discussion-based approach, is the type of writing he has his students do. If you have an ornate, developed writing style, be prepared for a shock. The essays we wrote for this class were expected to be simultaneously extremely thorough and annoyingly short, which is much harder to do than writing a lengthy paper. He wants only impactful, brief (but fluid), detailed, and well-defined ideas, with lots and lots of textual support, as well as acknowledgement of every point of view on the issue that the paper is about. If your prose is sophisticated and uses developed language, he'll shoot it down because he thinks it sounds like jargon. In the long run, this style of writing is certainly beneficial, because it forces you to learn how to make direct arguments, instead of rambling and meandering.

Oct 2005

Mr. Sage is an amazing teacher. I learned a lot in his class. Others have been complaining about how he calls on people, but he's really just trying to get people involved and he's not trying to embarrass anyone. The great thing about Mr. Sage is that you leave his class with a truly deep understanding of the texts. He raises really fascinating issues that are connected through many of the texts. Also, Mr. Sage is always willing to help and makes himself available at office hours for literally every written assignment you do. Overall, I would strongly recommend him for Lit Hum if you are truly interested in learning about these texts.

Aug 2005

Mr. Sage was one of the best professors I had in my first year at Barnard. At first, however, I did not feel this way. I can understand some of the negative reviews of his discussion-leading skills. He does call on people (usually those who do not talk much) and puts them on the spot, but I do not agree that he ignores those who raise their hands. He doesn't "ignore" them, the oppionated people in my class certainly got to express their views, and it IS his job as the discussion leader to try to encourage everyone to participate. Furthermore, I believe this method really forces students to stay on top of the reading b/c you never know when you could be called upon. I do agree that he seems to sort of brush your opinion aside if he doesn't agree or he just doesn't get it (the other reviewers' descriptions of the ways in which he does this are accruate), but, he more than makes up for this in his genuine interest in helping his students to become better writers. I found the way in which he wanted to see my papers written to be rather annoying at first "but what is your claim?" he'd always ask. And he always wanted students to consider the opposing arguments in their papers. It is true that he didn't follow the standard 5-paragraph format (intro, body, conclusion) that you learned in middle-school, but you're not in middle-school anymore, you're in college. Although it was difficult to discard that safety-blanket, I came to realize that Sage's method is an excellent way of writing a strong paper. Sage teaches you have to make an actual argument, rather than simply using big words and poetic, sophisticated sentences to describe the obvious. The other great thing about Sage is that he makes himself available and is more than willing to work with you on your papers. He will read your final drafts on the day they are due and give you feedback so that you can make them better. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS. Sage really wants to help you write the best paper you can.

Jul 2005

Probably the worst instructor I've had at this school. Obviously, University Writing is a bad experience for a lot of people, but this man really can't teach. His class makes you feel like you're in high school again, as he calls on students who never talk and embarrassingly puts them on the spot, while ignoring those with their hand up in an implicit punishment of their actually being involved in the coursework. As one of the three students who regularly participated, he would express his frustration with us for consistently having something to contribute as if we were overpowering the voices of those who had absolutely nothing to say. I understand that he would want a balanced classroom environment but demanding that bored students slowly sputter their thoughts, or lack there of, on Baldwin just seemed cruel. Thus, all possible discussions were slowed down to death by his calling on a student with their head on the desk. As far as what he wants out of your writing, I seriously doubt that he even knows. It seems slightly unfair that someone so bad at expressing himself in a paragraph of commentary would expect a student of his to do so in an essay. Even after repeated meanings he cannot explain what your paper lacks, where it needs to go, how you can make it better. Class meetings were viewed by most students as an extremely uncomfortable experience. While he attempts to be familiar and friendly, he comes across as alternately patronizing, crass, or just extremely awkward. Particularly when he'd talk to us about how "down" he was with hip-hop music.

Jun 2005

The negative things written about Mr. Sage are simply untrue. I have never had a more open-minded, intelligent, involved teacher, and his grad-student status just makes his ability to guide and nurture a class discussion that much more extraordinary. Please don't let yourself be swayed by the bitter reviews of him. He is an excellent person and professor, you would be lucky to take a class with him.

Jun 2005

I had Mr. Sage for both semesters of LitHum, and overall I would say that the time I spent with him was very rewarding. He was a little disappointing during the second semester, as he taught two other classes and therefore had less time to devote to us. He also seemed less interested in the material. Nonetheless, I still learned a lot. There are a few important things to keep in mind for this class. First, always show up. Participation was worth 35% of the grade. Even if you don't talk that much, it is important just to be there. Second, write essays that are firmly grounded in a specific aspect of the text. Oftentimes, he likes you to write essays on a specific line in the book (he doesn't give you essay topics). Also, make sure to give heavy consideration to opposing points of view in your essays. Finally, make an effort to get help from him outside of class, whether it be through email or office hours. A side note: the essays can be really frustrating because he forces you to think so closely about what you're trying to say. At times I hated the class because of this. I think that this approach is beneficial in the long run, as it teaches you to construct your arguments carefully. However, we're not literary critics. We're just freshmen in I think a certain amount of it is just a tedious, bs exercise. Just keep this in mind, and try not to be too deterred by it. Show him that you're working hard, and that should be enough. Also, one last negative thing is that you can immediately tell whether he's interested in what you have to say in class. Usually, he's He'll say something like, "OK, fine," or he'll look around at the other people who have their hands raised while you're talking. I found this to be annoying, but again, don't be deterred. Stick with it. You may make some "uninteresting" comments, but eventually you'll say something that he loves. If you can write well, simply make a solid effort, and you should be able to get an A.

May 2005

Andrew Sage is an excellent professor and a kind and generous person who genuinely cares about advancing the written and oral skills of his students. The reason he is so good at teaching is that he DOES demand a lot and DOES ask you to change your writing style. That way you really pay attention to what you are writing, how you are thinking about a problem, and what you actually mean to say. He is more than willing to consult with you about your papers, will say hello to you on campus, and is in general a caring and kind person. This does NOT mean that he is going to praise you and your writing to the gods. His aim is to improve your writing, and since no one is perfect and everyone can use some writing help (especially first-years) don't expect him to call you a genius. Put aside your ego and LEARN for once - Sage can help you do that. Like any class, if you take it seriously and at least try to be interested in improving yourself, you'll get a lot out of it.

May 2005

Mr. Sage is a really amazing teacher. He's brilliant, and since he's had a lot of /teaching/ experience, he really knows how to lead discussions. In fact, the discussions were incredibly interesting. As with any class, there were a couple of people that just didn't really have anything to say, and he would call on them to try to get them to participate. It's not that he wants to put you on the spot, but rather he really wants you to participate. (Of course, those people who didn't have interesting to contribute would villify him afterwards, perhaps unfairly) What made this class especially rewarding was the fact that his views weren't traditional. He offered us really interesting, unique views on the texts and managed to link all the texts together so that each text builds on the next, and you slowly have an easier and easier time understanding the material. Of course, he's not perfect. Sometimes, we'd get sidetracked and he'd raise questions that we didn't actually answer. He is also very in love with his opinions and may not be open to other interpretations of the text. Still, he makes up for it by being incredibly helpful. He will ALWAYS make himself available to you, and will often read your drafts if you finish them early. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS.

Apr 2005

This man came very close to ruining my semester. Still a grad student, he handles himself extremely unprofessionally in the classroom, thinking he has to swear and/or talk about sex to get our attention. He is antagonistic and condescending and calls on people who are not raising their hands, forcing them to BS while blatantly ignoring the people who actually have things to say. He doesn't seem to know exactly what he wants out of our papers, but he is perfectly able to tell us when he thinks they suck. He's amazingly available to meet with you as much as you need, but these meetings will be short and only confuse you more. He answers email promptly, but beware: he may insult your dignity by telling you how to use CLIO when you've already written a draft of your research paper using books that you clearly got from the library. Also: he responds to anyone who doesn't support his opinions in discussion with "Fine." or "Okay. In the interest of moving us forward..." (as he glances at his watch and drums his fingers or pen on the table) Overall, this class was the worst one I have taken here so far. He is utterly the most frustrating, condescending and unprofessional teacher I have ever had.

Apr 2005

This proffessor (who is actually still a graduate student) has put me off english. The type of paper he wants you to write does not include intros, making strong points, or using words too big for him to understand. He never gives back an essay before the next one is due; it is impossible to figure out what he wants. And even if you do, you feel like you are sacrificing your writing style for a good grade.

Feb 2005

It is no coincidence that this man's last name is "Sage." I had the extreme luck of being placed in Mr. Sage's L&R class my freshman year--which is two years ago now. Take any class in which he is involved, you will become a better writer, thinker and scholar. He has the ability to challenge everyone through truly inspiring discussions. He encourages one-on-one meetings outside of class and genuinely cares about all of his students. Meet with him and give enough time for all of your assignments. Work hard, and this class will be one of your most rewarding at Columbia.

Dec 2004

Mr. Sage is a wonderful teacher. He can be pretty tough, though. The class discussions are great, he is a really nice guy, and truly interested in the student's development. But because he cares so much, he expects a lot. There are a bunch of essays to write, and he grades them toughly. But if you put in some effort, and work with him to try and improve your skills, you will learn a lot. Read the books carefully and thoughtfully and participate in class.