professor
Shawn-Marie Garrett

Apr 2006

I was really excited to take theatre history, and I had heard good things about Shawn, but despite my constant efforts to remain optimistic and to try and learn from Shawn the class was a huge dissappointment. The syllabus is decent, but Shawn is so intellectually sloppy that there is little chance of learning anything. I think her lectures are based off of checking wikipedia before she comes to class (late). Much of the information she gives does not bear up under the most basic fact checking, and she's supposed to be a dramaturge! The assignments are banal, she seems to have a really clear idea of what she wants on papers, but does not communicate what that may be until you get your paper back. She can be lax about due dates, and allow re-writes if you ask for them and hence a decent grade is entirely possible, even if gleaning useful knowledge from your time in her class is not.

Feb 2006

If you were put off by the previous, extremely negative review of Professor Garrett, please read this. She is not my favorite professor, and she does have her faults, but I am positive that the previous review is the exception, not the rule, when it comes to students' opinions of her. Shawn often has trouble staying on track during her lectures, and she does try too hard to crack jokes when she really should just focus on the information. Her comments on papers are hit-or-miss, sometimes very helpful and sometimes not. But if you do the reading, pay attention, and concentrate on learning the material, you will get quite a lot out of Shawn's classes. They can be frustrating at times, but when she really gets going about topics she is passionate about, it will be worth it, trust me. I think it's pretty clear that the previous reviewer has a severe chip on his or her shoulder. S/he had a bad experience in Shawn's class, and that sucks, but I feel very strongly that that review was much more about the reviewer than the reviewee. Give Shawn a chance. And previous reviewer, you need to just chill.

Jul 2003

Shawn is by far the best professor I've had in the theater department, and, frankly, at the University in general. She is a superb editor; I found her comments on my essays more helpful than anything I’d received from an English professor. I would agree with another of Shawn’s reviewers who commented that Shawn is not the most “professional” of professors, but I think that that, if anything, that only adds to her charm and teaching. The class moved rather quickly (and, at times, a bit chaotically) which often left me wanting to talk more about a particular play. Opportunity for further discussion arises, naturally, in the inescapable papers. Shawn has a tendency to forget that she is the only one in the room with a degree in Dramaturgy when describing paper topics, but don’t be intimidated. She will happily explain what she meant in plain English if you meet with her during her office hours. Though I certainly felt (and feel) intimidated by her, there really is no need. She genuinely wants you to succeed. On that note, she encourages you to submit drafts and re-write papers (re-writes are due before the end of the semester). As I said before, setting aside however much you will learn about theater, your writing skills will dramatically (no pun intended) improve. Bottom line: I genuinely look forward to taking another class with Shawn. If you are interested in theater, are a hard worker, and enjoy participating in class discussions, then definitely take a class with Shawn.

Jun 2003

Shawn is more than a brilliant professor; she is an incredible role model and source of information. She knows an incredible amount of not just theater history, but theory, practice, and critic as well. She is, perhaps, not as professional as many other cu profs during her lectures, but this only adds to her particular style. She is, however, very professional when it comes to any written work. She is serious about theatrical writing and a hard grader as a result, but my writing improved amazingly under her criticism. If you are not serious about the subject matter, however, theater history with Shawn is not for you... it is a theater-major oriented class. If you are interested in this subject, though, Shawn is always ready to go out of her way to help you and become your friend. She is my favorite professor out of any that I have had at cu.

May 2003

WORST CLASS EVER...in my opinion, she has a chip on her shoulder as a yale graduate, and thinks she is a god. major bias towards her theater "buddies" (those who take part in the barnard productions). subjects are sporadic and unorganized. hard grader and rips your papers apart grammatically (after all, she has a masters in Engish). be prepared to sit through all lectures since attendance is mandatory. beware...she notices when you're not interested and uses it against you in her grading.

May 2001

Shawn, as she says to call her, is a new professor. She has good intentions, she wants to teach really challenging things like Brecht, while simultaneously cracking jokes all throughout lecture so that you can never pay attention. She and the other professor Katherine Profeta, no doubt in my mind, are both very intelligent people who thought that they could teach undergraduates, in one semester, everything that they had learned at a prestigious drama school which they attended together. Unfortunately, it doesn't and didn't happen. First all of the class has crazy time commitments associated with it that you cannot miss, unless you want your grade to suffer. Secondly, because the topic being studied, New York theater, is so diverse the course has no fluidity or continuity and the professors don't even attempt to fill in the gaps. While Shawn is all about incorportating large themes and quoting influential authors, Katherine sticks to details and is straightforward, though she always seems nervous when she is lecturing and likes chronological dates a lot. It's not that this class is really bad, it's just hard to get through a lot of the performances and the lectures, and get yelled at for being 3 minutes late when the professors sometimes show up ten minutes late, and take exams that cover next to nothing and be expected to create masterpiece essays with no background information. The packets they get made for you are relatively pointless-- you don't need to read them.