Reid Sharpless

Jan 2021

If you want to become a better writer, Reid Sharpless is a great mentor and taking his class will definitely teach you how to thoroughly plan - or as he calls it "reverse engineer" - your essays rather than writing them in the usual caffeine-induced scribbling the night before the deadline. He is always willing to set up a call to discuss your essay in detail or give you other advice to help you in your writing. That said, his official feedback on your papers will be very vague and rarely contain any criticism, so I encourage you to set up a call with him because that's where he'll give the constructive feedback. Now to what you're here for: Reid is a harsh grader. Getting an A is something you really have to work very hard for. This is not an easy class by any means. Still, it is a class to take for those who really want to become better writers.

Dec 2020

I had a horrible time in his UW: Data and Society section. In the class, Sharpless was capable of leading a discussion and facilitating conversations around the text we had to read, but when it came to the actual writing portion of the course he failed in more ways than one. Obviously, UW uses obscure language in the detailing of the project assignments, and when I would ask questions to get a better understanding of the goals of each paper, Sharpless would answer the questions as if he wasn't too sure of his answer himself, which if you don't understand the goals of the paper, or ironically can't even convey them in a 'reader friendly' way, why would you believe that you're fit to grade those said papers. And so because it appeared that he was unable to define the goals of each paper in a 'coherent' and confident manner, I would go to office hours and have him read of over my drafts to see if I was hitting the marks of the projects, that did not help me reach the goals of the paper either. After reading over my drafts he would say things like "you're in a good place for now" but then never truly elaborate on the aspects of the paper that were lacking(in class he said something along the lines of not believing in criticism). But when it was time to give me a final grade, where I could no longer revise my paper for a grade, he was more than vocal about the shortcomings of my paper, which makes no sense as a professor who says they would like to improve their students as writers not addressing the students shortcomings as writers when they are presented. All in all, I think UW has a terrible curriculum, but more importantly, I think that Sharpless is a coward for not being a constructive critic of my writing in the ways and areas it counted.

Nov 2020

I loved UW with Reid! As a SEAS major, his Data and Society section did a great job of bridging together the stem and humanities worlds. He's also just incredibly friendly and went out of his way to make the class interesting and manageable for his students. We had pretty interesting readings, and he seemed to understand that not every student had time to do every single reading, which was definitely appreciated. He also handled the transition from in-person to online very well, he genuinely cared that everyone in our class was doing well, etc. Really recommend him!

May 2020

Great instructor and human being! People kept on complaining about UW for the entirety of the previous semester, but when it was my turn to take it I couldn't see what the fuss was about, because Reid just made it a painless core class. He taught the data and society section and it was really fun and covered interesting and relevant topics. He gives good and valuable feedback on your work and actually gives useful suggestions, and does his best to understand your work from your perspective and help you achieve what YOU want. Class was always pretty chill and low stress, and his soothing voice is a plus. He's very organized and understanding and you will not fell pressured in his class whatsoever. Can't say much about his grading because of the pandemic situation but I believe everyone did pretty well on their P1 essay. All in all really great experience and would definitely recommend him.