Paul Creamer

Jun 2006

the problem is not that creamer gives everyone an a. the problem is not that he makes lame jokes and is generally just a cheesy guy with a (questionably fake?) smile, which is especially hard to take on a bad day. the problem is that creamer doesn't TEACH enough for a required first-year-english class, where most students don't know the difference between postmodernism and romanticism (or that flaubert wrote madame bovery, for that matter). therefore, he lets students spout off whatever bullshit they want to, sometimes for ten minutes, when most of what they're saying doesn't make sense and COMPLETELY ruins great literature (not so bad when it's homer--AWFUL when they butcher virginia woolf). he responds to all comments in the same way--with a (once again, fake?) smile and a nod and a "thank you." so one wonders why, if you even have an intelligent comment to make, that you should bother speaking when he's probably not even digesting what you're saying or even really commenting on it. if you're an english major, please, RUN to some other professor who can tell you something you don't know. otherwise, you'll probably want to kill yourself ten million times over (and this is not even the professor's fault...some of the things that these people say!)...unless you happen to have some especially brilliant people in your class. in which case, they probably can teach you more than creamer can, and the A at the end is nice.

May 2006

Disgustingly sterile discussions, abhorrently sardonic "group work" assignments and anything somewhat poignant is basically just 'fluff,' Creamer's class can best be likened to a bloodbath of classical Western literature. Nothing is taught in this course that the "American Heritage Dictionary" could not offer to students. Basically guys Creamer reads off these retarded ency But as my friend says to me "If you just get a good grade, who cares?" its true he gives EVERYONE either an A or an A minus. So rest assured you little grade mongers that as long as you read the book or even read the spark notes or EVEN just BS the class you WILL get an A. The papers themselves are easy to bullshit. You can literally make not one interesting point and copy and paste spark notes for anything and still manage to ace it. The midterm is much of the same, he grades it with much reservation. I feel as if he's afraid to 'hurt' our feelings by not giving us good grades. Oh well, at least my GPA will be happy. But don't get me wrong if you're hoping to get anything out of the books, or anything out of your two hours and 46,000 tuition then get OUT of this class and go into another section, any other one, seriously. A baboon could make more sense than Creamer about literature. Oh and about the final, you know the coursewide final that is NOT written by Creamer. Well hey don't worry AT ALL because guess what? He GRADES our finals, so it's ok you'll ace it as well. So let's recap, a free A but you'll be bored to death. Hmm sounds like a deal to me. (you won't know how many classes you actually have to work for to get an A, you might as well take the free one he just pleads for you to take)

Apr 2006

I pretty much agree with the previous reviewer; Creamer focuses on very inconsequential points during class, and his group work questions (expect those pretty much every other class, if not more often) are things like, "explain the role of humor in Crime and Punishment" or "what is the role of women in Don Quixote?" i.e., questions that maybe, if really deeply examined, could come up with some interesting results, but not in the 10 minutes he gives us to work on them. time is better spent running downstairs to get something from the snack machine, because you can talk for 2 minutes and come up with "there is dark humor in crime and punishment," and that's about all that's necessary. easy grading too, though only if you stick EXACTLY to the asinine format he wants in papers. For example, all intros must a) bring the reader in with a "catchy sentece," b) state the problem (his paper prompts are more like series of short answer questions than actual prompts, and its basically impossible to form a coherent thesis), and c) state how you're going to solve the problem (for b and c, just restate his "prompt," pretty much). I once took the oh-so-risque liberty of "stating the problem" in question form, and he completely missed it, saying that I deviated from the format. Creativity strongly discouraged. As for his personality, it is true that he is not a horrible mean person. Some may even call him nice. I see him more as pretentious. Every few classes he'll throw in, "you'd never learn this at a state school," or "here's a big ivy-league word that i want you all to use once a day." I think he's way too in awe of himself and his position as a columbia professor. Also, lame jokes are fine in moderation, but if he makes a joke and no one laughs, he'll say "seeeeerious group today." And he will often do this 3 or 4 times per class. If people do laugh to appease him, he will say "thanks, I'll be here all week," again, sometimes several times per class. It really gets the the point where you'd rather be absolutely anywhere than sitting in that room.

Sep 2005

Creamer (pronounced Kramer) was a disaster of a Lit Hum professor. Class discussions were shallow, superficial, repetitive, and overflowing with BS. Creamer takes it upon himself to involve everyone in discussion, which is an admirable goal, but his method is to call on everyone in the class in whatever order pops into his mind, whether or not a given person has anything to say at the moment. In addition, Creamer almost never challenges anyone to support their points with evidence, so everyone gets by with a minimum of effort and substance (myself included). On the occasions when someone actually has a point to make, Creamer quickly moves the discussion on to other topics, because, hey, he has to keep calling on people. His own contributions to the discussions aren't much better; he seems to have a gift for focusing on the least important aspects of a text to the exclusion of everything else. But classes are most agonizing when Creamer assigns group work: he puts 7 or 8 questions on the board, divides the class into as many groups, and gives the class ten or twenty minutes to discuss their question before they "report back" to the class. For these exercises, you can space out even more than usual (you only need to pay attention while your group is up), but Creamer's questions are generally vague, inconsequential, or both (even when a worthwhile topic comes up, you're not likely to get much out of it in the short time allotted each group). Creamer, at least, is a nice enough guy. At first, you may even find his terrible jokes and unrelenting gosh-wow enthusiasm endearing. Eventually, I expect, you will grow to hate them. All that said, Creamer's class is absurdly easy. You can fake your way through discussions without doing the reading (read the sparknotes and you'll be a class star) and Creamer is a comically easy grader. The exams might make you sweat because you've done so little in class (especially the final, which Creamer doesn't write), but I was continually surprised by how low the expectations were. If you see Lit Hum as a chore you'd like to get through with a minimum of effort, you're in the right place. If you would like to get something out of the class, though, I advise you to make up whatever excuse you can to convince the Core office to let you switch your section.

May 2005

Alright I believe the last review is just horrible. Professor Creamer has flaws, especially his jokes, but in general he is a nice guy that seems to enjoy teaching the class. Although unfortunately class discussions tend to be kind of repetitive because he likes to send students up to the board all the time you do get a decent grip of the material and he brings up some interesting issues. He is a nice grader and he really wants to be liked by his students, unfortunately teaching teenagers isnt very easy and often people think the point of going to class is just proving youre smarter than the professor. That will probably happen in any lit hum class, but professor creamer is so nice he often lets them step over the line.

Apr 2005

Listen carefully. This guy is the angel of death for literature courses. One can be easily fooled into thinking that he's a good professor because of his kid-in-a- candy-store (and completely affected) enthusiasm about french literature of the middle ages. But don't fall into the trap. He's horrible, just horrible. Not only does he explicitly discourage students from visiting him in office hours (you know, on the off-chance that we might actually learn something) but he also actively discourages meaningful contributions to the "discussions". If you don't give him the response he's looking for, he couldn't care less what you have to say and if you deign to disagree with one of his extremely simplistic literary interpretations, he just shuts you down point-blank and changes the subject (it's almost funny actually...almost). He talks to his students as though they were all eleven-year-olds in a special day program. And he's probably the lamest person on the planet.

Aug 2004

Professor Creamer provided a fantastic introduction to the Core. He is eccentric, and this becomes more and more endearing as the year goes by. He randomly calls on people in class, but he makes it very clear that you never have to answer a question, so you may simply "pass" without consequence or condemnation. This provides a great, low pressure way of "spreading the wealth," discussion-wise. His questions are usually very insightful, the kind of questions that you think about after class. Additionally, a good grade is not too difficult to come by. The story he tells on the last day of class is incredible. You could not ask for a better Lit Hum teacher.

Jan 2004

Please, please don't believe the positive reviews. I did and made a big mistake by taking this class. Creamer is really outgoing and seems nice at the beginning, but he is condescending and arrogant. But the worst thing about this class is that WE NEVER TALK ABOUT THE BOOKS. And it's French Lit!! Instead you do oral reports about whatever you want and talk about books that you never read. Even better, he'll call on you with questions about random things, like what is the Latin word for head. Also, he will never learn your name despite the fact that there are 10 people in the class. So learn to love your name tag. Creamer always breaks the class up into awful discussion groups and instead of asking about anything important, makes you discuss things like the syntax. As you sit in your 10th discussion group and the awkward silence grows, use this time to bond with other students about how much this class sucks. Or why it is he erases the board every 5 seconds.

Dec 2003

Professor Creamer is definately one of the best French professors - he makes the literature interesting with his knowledge and unstoppable enthusiasm, and he's extremely friendly and open. I definately got a lot out of the class - however, it's a bit more lecture based even though it's a small class - not as much discussion among students - though he still expects lots of class participation. Make sure to not doze off, 'cause he has a tendancy to call on people at whim, whether you're paying attention or not. He also really loves group work, which got kind of annoying as the semester went on when you just didn't feel like working w/ other people anymore. Overall a good class - be prepared for a lot of reading though, about a book a week - and he was pretty fair w/ grading.

Aug 2003

Professor Creamer definitely made my freshmen year amazing. He's such a funny guy and really cares about all of his students, even those that never seem to be in class. Any freshmen lucky enough to have Professor Creamer will really start the CORE with an excellant experience. We spent a lot of time talking about different things that had nothing to do with the readings but all had to do with life- we learned so much from each other because Professor Creamer really encouraged everyone to participate and to get to know everyone by name. My class really came together by the end of the year. The idiots who criticize the class should have dropped it so someone else who'd appreciated it could take their place.

May 2003

Whoever wrote that Professor Creamer has "aggrevating idiosyncrasies" (and I have good reasons to believe I know this guy) apparently can never really appreciate how great Creamer was! Yes, he is kind of nerdy, and yes, his jokes are lame, but I never felt uncomfortable in class, or writing a paper, whatever. If you actually care enough to go at least once to Prof Creamer's office hours, you'll find out that he is a very knowledgeable guy, and that he cares about you a lot more than any other professor I have had in this school. And come on, we all got A's on papers and exams without really -- face it -- writing anything at least relevant to the topic. I think Prof Creamer is a great guy, made the class a lot of fun, and if you are not among the few lucky freshmen who get assigned to his section, then try to make your way to his class during the second semester!

Mar 2003

Professor Creamer's class was fun. He's a really nice guy, and he cares about his students. Although we did waste some time discussing irrelevant topics, he made learning fun. It was much more interesting than hearing a lecture, and when we got into discussion it certainly proved interesting.

Jul 2002

Prof. Creamer is one of the reasons why I have chosen to be a French major. He is truly dedicated to his students and has a true love of the french language and the literature stemming from it. His readings cover the "hit parade" of french novels, plays, and poems, but also include some very modern, very quirky works. He does call on people at random, but it is simply to get everyone involved. I found him to be generally very excited about what we had to say, even if it wasn't always the answer he was looking for. Prof. Creamer knows and loves his french, especially Proust and Baudelaire, and he wants his students to feel the same way. I can honestly say that, after a semester with him, I do have a greater appreciation for and increased knowledge of french lit. He's probably one of the best teachers, in the real sense of the word, that I've had.

Jul 2002

If you have any faith in your own opinions concerning literature, don't take this class. Prof. Creamer has little interest in knowing how you interpret literature, and will go around the entire class asking one question, only waiting for the so-called "right" answer- his. He's fairly entertaining and tries different activities, but not an extremely motivating class.

Dec 2001

Professor Creamer is a teacher with more aggrevating idiosyncrasies than I can mention (see below). However, in some ways, he is a good and exciting teacher. However, we also often waste immense amounts of time talking about asinine, rediculous subjects (like his experiences getting a perscription at Rite Aid). As a result, there is little time left for discussion, so he will ask an interesting question, and then there will only be enough time for one comment and we will have to move on. Additionally, Prof. Creamer has a number of complexes: (1) The Ivy-League Complex--that is, he will often ask "Ivy League" or "Lit Hum-my" questions, that "someone at a State school wouldn't be asked." (2) The I-Work-My-Ass-Off Complex--I take 5, yes FIVE weeks to get papers back because "I teach two classes." Also, "please spell out 'professor' because I worked 9 years for it." (3) The Law-School Complex--See, Prof. Creamer thinks he went to law school, but he actually didn't (he got his Ph.D. from Wisconsin), so he will pretend that he did, and will talk like he did, and it will be aggrevating. In essence, we don't really do anything in class, although when we DO do something, it's very interesting, and he's an easy grader, so if that's all you care about, go for it. Just be prepared to be frustrated.

Oct 2001

Creamer's course was by far the best I've taken at Columbia. Although his teaching style may sometimes remind you of first or second grade, he will impart a great deal of knowledge and you'll have fun. Kinda nerdy sense of humor (you'll laugh because he's so ridiculous at times), but endearing and keeps you awake and interested during class. Cares a lot about his students - truly wants you to learn, be interested, and succeed in his class. Extremely lenient about paper deadlines (but he says that's different in undergrad courses). Class included a trip to the Cloisters - a wonderful opportunity to follow him around as he spoke at great length about the art - he has lots of interesting info to share.

Apr 2001

This man is the Lit Hum god. You may go weeks without ever picking up a book to discuss it in class and if you like to discuss every detail of a work this is not your section. If you want to have fun and learn Creamer is your man. He comes across more like a high school teacher than a PHD. He genuinely cares about his students and it shows. He is both generous and strict. I do not know anyone who got below an A- in his class but he has the most anal retentaive way he wants you to format papers. But even that will come in handy later, at least that is what he says. You will never be bored with excercises like "Be Herodotus," "Write your own Greek Tradgedy and Act it Out", and "countless other discussions that will provoke laughs. His sense of humour boarders on nerdy but it just makes him that much more fun. A most enjoyable class.

Jan 2000

Creamer is a bit of an oddball from Wisconsin who likes to tell stories about his grandfather and his tender adolesence. Be prepared for incredibly lame jokes followed by "Vous etes bien serieux, hein?" His background knowledge on authors is encyclopedic in nature--as in the reference book you were told to abandon in sixth grade. Nonetheless, as the majority of French scholars, he loves French literature and takes pleasure in getting his students to love it, too. These two courses are not structured for profound literary analysis; they are more like conversation and composition classes that use books as a springboard. Prof Creamer is cheery and approachable, but an untimely grader. To his credit, when papers are finally returned, he has clearly taken the time to comb through both the French and the argument. He's better for pre-1800 than post.

Jan 2000

If you want to get an A on all your papers be sure to sign up for this section. Professor Creamer will claim you're a 'super star' and blow sunshine you know where even when you know you're paper was a complete pile of you know what. Class time is spent doing pointless activities such as create your own play about the Iliad and discuss why Homer was 'such a great guy'. This sounds great...but be aware you will be caught completely off guard on the final because you will have wasted time that should have been somewhat focused on the texts.

Jan 2000

Hilarious. Cares a hell of a lot more about his students than his own research (which I think he saves for summers in France and Germany). Calls on students even if their hands aren't raised, but it's never to embarrass you or catch you off guard; he honestly wants to try to bring everybody into the discussion and have fun talking. He is not an intellectual authority on any of the books of the Lit Hum syllabus, except maybe Montaigne (whom he despises), but he has an uncanny ability for asking the right kinds of questions to lead you to learn about the books yourself, and I believe that is how Lit Hum should be taught.