Some of the reviews here are really quite unfair. Yes, the workload of Intensive Elementary Ancient Greek is insane--that is why it is called "Intensive". It should be expected. You should only take this class if you have some reason to need to learn Ancient Greek in one semester (starting classics late, double major, or premed perhaps) and if you have the time to commit to learning the material. The class covers two semesters of Greek in one semester, without any more class time than the regular elementary class, so you really need to commit the outside time to studying for the material. You cannot slack off because everything is cummulative and the material only gets harder as the course progresses. It does feel masochistic at times, but if you really love Greek it will pay off. Quite simply, if you devote the time to study you will do well and if you don't, you won't. Professor Dickey presents the material very clearly and her expectations/course workload are very straightforward. She is very approachable if you ever need help and even gives you her weekend number if you need help in this course. Furthermore, she always accepts extra homework sentences for extra credit. This class is insane, but if you must take it, I entirely recommend Professor Dickey.
Professor Dickey could not have done better with her section of CC. She was exceptionally well prepared and knowledgeable about the texts. Best of all, she is excellent at leading a complex discussion. Not only did she keep it focused on the readings but she also made sure that all of the major points were covered. Even if I did not understand the reading the first time around, I always left class with a good understanding of the work. For this reason, this section is particularly good for anyone who cares about CC. In addition to excellent discussion she is prepared to lecture if nobody has anything constructive to say (like around midterm season when few have the reading done). She also knows how to use the blackboard-a rare and undervalued skill among college professors. She related all of the readings beck to current events which not only facilitates an understanding of the works but also makes them relevant. In my opinion, CC cannot possibly make one an expert on western philosophy but can give one tools for thinking about other issues--Dickey certainly understands this approach to the class. In short, I have never learned so much in a single semester; I highly recommend this class.
In my opinion, the other reviews couldn't be more off. Yes, she does require a lot of work and she is definately tough--but what you get in return more than makes up for it. I switched into this section from my old one, where very little work was required, and the grading was lenient (ish), but no one was EVER allowed to talk. In this class, participation was required and the class really benefitted. Prof. Dickey really made me understand CC on a much higher level. Seriously, even if you don't think its possible to like CC, but you do like classes where you are forced to think and speak, then take this class. She really makes it worth your while.
While it is true that Prof. Dickey lacks compassion and personability, she is not an entirely humorless person, and her grading is actually quite lenient, provided that you play by her rules. In fact, she is sort of endearing, in a weird, New England kind of way. The willingness and courage to speak once per class, punctuality in assignments, proper proofreading, and a knowledge of the basic concepts of the texts are all that is needed to qualify for an "A".
Dickey's real problem is that she does not communicate well with students. She often seems cold and distant, and like she's from another planet. While that's not necessarily her intention, that's how she is perceived. I didn't believe the charges of favoritism at first, but it was clear by the end of the semester that certain people were in fact favored. She is also a terrible grader. She assigns tedious weekly response papers that are seemingly designed to keep students' grades out of the A-range. Several students also felt that her favoritism affected their grades on larger essays. She often marks down on papers without commenting why. When it comes to ancient languages, there is no question that Dickey is brilliant. She took us to the rare books section of Butler and could read ancient scrolls in several different languages with ease. But after readings on the Greeks and Romans are complete, she loses her affection for the material and the classes become more boring and monotonous. Dickey is not the worst core professor one could have. She is barely tolerable. But at this University, one deserves better.
She is probably the worst teacher I've had at Columbia. If you somehow are unlucky enough to have her teaching your CC section, drop out as soon as possible. She tends to favor certain students which is typical, but allows them to go a little too far, even allowing racist comments and personal attacks on other students. She gives twice as much reading as anyone else and seems more inclined to give bad grades than good ones to look "good" to the department.
Okay, the person who said she smells and is covered in cat hair is wrong. But, uh, it is true that she's not the easiest person to like. In all fairness to her, she actually does know a huge amount about the texts; she's a comparative linguist and has read everyone in their original languages, especially the ancient Greeks. She's not particularly nurturing (she challenges you to say something useful, and if you don't, she moves on) but in a way that's what CC is supposed to be all about anyway; after a few months you figure out how to form better arguments, which is the whole point, isn't it? She's also really entertaining in a drily ironic sort of way, if you like that sort of humor.
Do not take this class! I repeat: Do not take this class. You will regret it. The fact that the class is only for masochists is not entirely Prof. Dickey's fault. Greek is not a language that can be learned in three months. That said, she has no conception of the fact that Ancient Greek is a difficult language. Just because she is a world renowned scholar doesnt mean that she can teach. If, after reading this, you still want to take the class, be prepared to devote your semester to Greek. I mean waking up at 8am on a Sunday and spending the next 16 hours studying ONE CHAPTER only to fail the quiz the next day.
Awful. She has no understanding of the works. She even reported this to the class at the beginning of the semester. She seems to pick a couple of students as her pets and never deviates from their views. Her grading is a little harsh and you can expect lower grades than usual.
This is possibly the most gruelling course offered at Columbia. Avoid unless you're planning on a Classics major and really need to get Greek done fast. If you happen to find yourself in that unfortunate situation, however, Dickey's probably the best (i.e. most effective) professor you can get. She somehow managed to drill a functional amount of Greek into our skulls within an unreasonably short span of time. Be warned: over a third of the students in the class dropped out after each midterm.
Dickey is the worst professor I have ever had. While it is true that she drills all that Greek in one semester, she does it at a pace that is neither educational nor enjoyable. Intimidating through bad grades and constant assignments does nothing to engender interest in the language, and it is far mor elikely that those who drop out won't bother trying again. Never have I seen a professor with less understanding of the level of the students she is teaching.