I disagree completely with the previous review dated 5/30/06. As I have said before my problem with her was not that she didnt teach grammer or basic sentence construction, but that her own language and writing failed to impress and was often awkward and inadequate. Her comments and the corrections she cited were difficult to understand because they were grammatically jarbled. Out of frustration I have taken her corrected papers to other professors and they have expressed dismay over Columbia's improper screening and lowering of standards for writing instructors. How does a student hone his writing skills when those of their proffessor suck? She has no business teaching writing. I will not comment on her abilities as an Anthropology teacher. It is no secret that Columbia students especially those who are considering to major in the humanities must not only be able to write cogent, strong papers but also maintain certain standards of grammar and punctuation. Ruchi fails completely in the second category. One cannot write a strong paper no matter how good his or her argument is if the grammer and punctualtion are sloppy and imprecise. This inadequate teaching is not what each of us are paying for at Columbia. Please stay away from her. I have a strong hunch that she wrote the last review herself, which shows her inability to accept criticism.
I feel compelled to leave a review as my experience with Ruchi could not have been more different than that of the 3/27/06 reviewer (who likely was in my class). Ruchi's strengths lie in her ability to help one hone one's analytical writing skills. She does not have the time to teach grammar or basic sentence structure nor should she have to at this level! Her comments on papers address issues that are problematic with your argument. This is where her background in writing for the social sciences is particularly helpful. If this class is designed to give one a foundation in writing academic papers, it's more benefical to have an anthroplogist as a teacher than a creative writing MFA candidate. The readings were slightly different than what some of the other classes read. They were perhaps challenging but by no means inaccessible. I experienced frustration (as I am sure Ruchi did) that several of the students in the class were either incapable of understanding the readings or just didn't care. Ruchi is a great instructor for students who have solid basic writing skills and are willing to care at least a little about the class. She exhibits a great deal of patience (perhaps more than is deserved). I recieved terrific feedback about where to add things to papers, how to write more streamlined, things to think about to make the claims stronger- stuff I would never have come up with by simply re-reading my own work.
This teacher has absolutely no expertise on writing. My grammer and spelling are not foolproof, but even I needless to say could pinpoint errors in her essay corrections. My assumptions were proven correct by other professors and TA's who have taught university writing. What is even worse is that she will penalise you for grammatical and spelling mistakes that are sometimes are non existent. She is an Anthropology Phd candidate. People stay away from Ruchi if you have any inclination on learning the basics of writing. She makes us read tough essays which is good, but cannot help in any manner to sharpen your writing skills. She will be your worst nightmare on campus, not because of being an evil or wicked person, but because of her passive incompetedeness.
Ruchi improved a great deal during her first semester teaching UW. At first, I was skeptical about her ability to teach the class, but, in the end, I'm really glad she was my professor. She pretty much sacked the lame perscribed University Writing syllabus, and used the readings to her own end. She is extremely knowlegeable about writing and a bunch of other really interesting topics, and is always willing to share her own stories and experiences with the class. Her candid attitude, and dedication to her class and her work makes her wonderful to be around. Feel lucky if you end up in her class.
Ruchi is amazing!!! By far the coolest teacher around. She is really understanding if you get sick or have a lot of stuff to do as long as you are not obnoxious about it and make up stupid excuses all the time. Her comments on papers were amazing and i went from random babble to being able to write a coherent paper with a focus. She was always available to meet with students and would rearrange her scedule to fit yours. During meetings, she tought me an amazing ammount and our class could tell how smart she was. The end of the year party was a great time. If you have the opportunity, take writing with her. She turns a pretty boring core class into an interesting, really fun class where you learn a lot. Awesome teacher.