Mark Colby

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Nov 2007

Honestly guys, this class is not worth it. Take CC instead - you'll learn more, and you'll get a professor who lectures, instead of just reading out of books and droning on. In my opinion, Colby didn't bring anything to the texts, and didn't encourage thinking, encouraging students to spit back his opinions (one of the questions on the final was what he had thought about someone) on the poorly formatted texts.

Dec 2006

Professor Colby was an extreme letdown and one of the greatest examples of CULPA not being a completely accurate gauge of teaching ability. That said, you may not have the same experience I did, but I feel the need to refute some of these gushing reviews. In Intro to Political Thought, you are assigned some of the best, most revolutionary texts ever created. The Communist Manifesto? On Liberty? It's amazing stuff, yet Colby managed to bring nothing special to it. He reads nearly verbatim from his lecture notes; his delivery is uninspired, and he puts those same notes online anyway. It would be great to have a 9AM class that gives you notes on Courseworks, save for the fact that he decided to take attendance at random points. The entirety of the first semester consists of classic texts. You will be able to read these on SparkNotes and get the same information out of them as you would from Colby. While many would say that, if one does SparkNotes beforehand, it's his/her fault that the lectures seem old hat, I would ask: Shouldn't a professor at one of the best schools in the country bring something passionate and inspiring to what he is teaching? It all comes down to specifically that: passion. Colby arrived at class' start and bolted at the end. He's based in Jersey and teaches at Princeton. This, his sole class at Columbia, always seemed like something he didn't want to do. It may not be true, but the fact that a huge number of the classes were at less than half capacity seems to show that I am not the only one who didn't agree with all of those glowing reviews about Colby. Point is, he is competent, he knows what he's talking about, but he doesn't particularly care about you as a student. The mid-term has you write everything you learned about the first three philosophers, which is an AWFUL format and guarantees you won't have the same view of importances as the TAs. The final is created by the TAs, on whom the real grading of the class (45% mid-term, 45% final, 10% discussion) will be dependent. He will be at neither testing day. It says a lot.

Dec 2006

All these good reviews are such a laugh!! Colby is the most lethargic professor I've ever had -- lectures are boring, the TA's clearly feel tortured, tests are poorly constructed, discussion group was no help at al, then he tried to force the class into better attendance in exchange for lecture notesl...Save your three thousand dollars!!!

Feb 2006

Hands down, the sole reason I became a Political Science major, and the best professor I've had at Columbia in three years. Take anything he offers; you won't regret it!

Jan 2006

This is a great class to take if you are filling a social science requirement! His lectures are organized and interesting. The books read are poltical classics everyone should at least have a basic knowledge of. you do not even need to read the books. if the class agrees to continue showing up, he posts all his lecture notes online, which are very comprehesive. there is an in class midterm and final. the question is "write everything you know about two (or three) of the authors" I didn't keep up with the reading and missed several classes, but I took his notes, wrote an essay out of them for each author, memorized the essay and copied it into the blue books. thats enough to get you a full A. take this class!

Jan 2006

Everyone else seems to think so highly of Colby, I just didn't see it. The class itself was a type of circus, and the timing of it extremely bad. Althought it was from 5:40-6:55 PM, Colby couldn't come earlier than 5:45 due to the train and usually came closer to 6:00. His lecture was pretty boring and incoherent, I usually didn't pay attention. He does post his notes, which is good because if you actully tried to do the readings you would find yourself drowning in a massive amount of incredibly confusing material. Somewhere around 80-100 pages were actually assigned, but noone really read them. You are supposed to sign up for discussion section, but most people did not. I didn't really get anything out of this class except an easy grade, but can't help but look at other reviews and wonder if I just got unlucky.

Jun 2005

This is by far the best class I've ever taken. I would sometimes leave the class in absolute awe saying "wow!" Colby is an extremely interesting and organized lecturer, and he explains difficult concepts very well. I had never studied philosophy before this class, and I found it understandable with Colby's lectures. I agree with the other reviewers in that Colby has a great sense of humor, and he manages to share his own political views without going off on tangents. It can be very entertaining. I did however take this class thinking that it would give me an idea about Political Science as an area of study, but it didn't really do that. It's basically a philosophy class with an emphasis on political philosophy.

May 2005

I agree fully with the last review. This professor should be hired full-time, and should be given classes above the Intro level in Political Thought (and Philosophy). HeÂ’s a wonderful lecturer and an extremely fair grader, and has a vested interest in his students understanding relatively dense material. He promises that his students will have a strong appreciation of political theory, and by the end of the course, and heÂ’s proven to be correct. He requires attendance, but doesnÂ’t circulate a sheet. However, Colby strongly appreciates those students who consistently show up for class and participate in classroom discussion. My only gripe with the course is the mandatory discussion section (not listed in the bulletin) that tended to add nothing to ColbyÂ’s very complete lectures and in-class discussion.

May 2005

Hire the guy full time. He delivers on his promises and CARES, yes can you believe it CARES about his students and what they are learning. I took his class first semester and he changes the lecture style in the middle to make the class more engaging and to respond to the students that were in the class. You dont find that. And you wont find another more with more knowledge of the material. He is articulate, quirky, responsive and WILL ALWAYS LISTEN. i cant say enough about him other thanhe shoudl be teaching more classes here on campus.

Jan 2005

I found Prof. Colby to be a very intelligent and articulate lecturer. The class reading is pretty standard for an intro to poltics class and the reading is difficult but never exceptionally long. His lectures are very interesting and he always welcomes questions. In person a bit awkward, but an engaging teacher nonetheless.

Dec 2004

Excellent Class. Highly Recommended. Lectures are clear, organized, engaging and enjoyable. Exams are reasonable. The professor is witty and has a great sense of humor... you'll find yourself laughing out loud.. and looking forward to political thought! Colby promises at the beginning of the semester that you'll love political science.. He puts his heart and soul into the class and his lectures show for it.. by the end of the semester, believe it or not, you just can't help but love the class. It's that good-- so take it!!