Andrew McLaren

Dec 2020

I thought I'd be the one to introduce Andrew to Culpa, so here it goes. Andrew is a young Ph.D. Candidate specializing in Islamic Manuscripts and Historiography. He is such a kind person who is passionate about his research. However, there were a few times that I wanted to switch out of his section. I should preface that this is COVID times, so some of this isn't his fault necessarily, but IDK, I've seen professors successfully ignite some parcel of passion in their students even over Zoom. He separates his class into two parts: hardcore lecture and discussion. Instead of kinda combining the two (which is how all my other humanities classes are organized), he would abruptly end the lecture and then go, "OK, now I won't talk for the rest of class, and you guys have to talk." It's a good intention but poor execution. The space for discussion is so artificial and awkward, and so the class lead discussions don't go anywhere beyond the surface level analysis. He has quizzes every week. Before you get scared, they are only out of 5 points, and as long as you submit something, you get a 4. Assignments are not challenging, and he's a fair grader who gives feedback (and more detailed feedback if you ask him specifically). The dynamic is not really professor v. student but more so a mature student guiding us. I enjoyed this; it made the work--to me-- less intimidating and more approachable. It also in that regard was more intimate, I found. Some people don't like this. Keep that into consideration. Overall, I liked him and will be staying in his section. But I know that many people dropped, so again, take with that what you will.