professor
Andrew Homan

Nov 2006

I too was in his CC class for the 02-03 school year, and I really enjoyed the course. Very nice guy who really seems to care about his students and encourages visits to office hours. Good insights were offered up in pretty much every class with a healthy balance between lecture and class discussion, and I feel that taking this course greatly contributed to my appreciation of philosophy today (this in stark contrast to the experiences of some other Columbia students I've known who absolutely hated CC - having a good instructor probably does make a difference). Admittedly, I was interested in philosophy to begin with, but Andrew definitely helped me appreciate it even more, especially once we got up to the German texts. His ability came across a lot more when we were reading those texts than when we were reading Plato and Aristotle. To summarize: I don't know if he's the BEST Contemporary Civilization instructor, but he's definitely one of the better ones, and I would recommend taking his class if you can get it.

Sep 2003

I had Andrew for CC in the 2002-2003 school year (both semesters), and I think he's definitely a very underrated teacher. Yes, there were a couple of awkward silences per class, but following each silence was usually a pretty astute and engaging question or comment from Andrew. Certain points in the syllabus were also awkward; he plainly admitted not to be an expert on a couple of the texts (not surprising, since core professors are from such varying fields), but he handled class discussions pretty well even then and he never lectured unless absolutely necessary. Participation, needless to say, is important in order to get a good grade from him, but more significantly, in order to come out of CC feeling as though you've learned something. His class definitely made me appreciate the CC texts, and he picks pretty amazing optional texts for the class to read, too. He's also into innovative paper topics and approaches to writing papers; the first paper of the semester he usually provides more guidelines (though the topics are still pretty broad), but for the second paper he gives more room to design your own topic, pick which texts you want to use, and write dialogues instead of formal papers. Second semester, he even gave us the option of co-writing a paper with another classmate. He's not a hard grader, either, though he gives lots of useful feedback.

May 2003

Andrew is no CULPA "Gold Nugget," but he's not too bad either. He's a nice guy who liked to talk to us and get to know us as we really are, not just as students. However, class discussions oftern lacked direction. Students led the conversations mostly, which was good I guess, but we sometimes went off on tangents, and then there'd be some awkward silences from Andrew until he came up with the next topic. We often didn't have time to really explore a lot of the texts, but that may just be the nature of CC/Lit Hum type classes with so many books to cover in such a short time. He also took us on a field trip to a cool documentary movie downtown and had a picnic for us in Riverside Park in the spring. Yay for free movies and free food!

Apr 2003

Andrew is a very nice guy. He's PhD Student from the German Department, so a lot of the texts are outside his field, but that sort of thing is almost inevitable in these core classes. He's very friendly and laid back, and practically lets you do whatever you want with the class. He leads discussions skilfully, covering everything without being overbearing and controlling, and doesn't mind if the topic wanders a bit. He doesn't have very high expectations of students, so it kind of encourages people to slack, but if you want CC to be an easy class that can be a good thing.

Dec 2001

Andrew (Andy) is not fit to be teaching in a classroom. His mood swings affect his teaching style and he'll blow up at students for no good reason. He hates it when people don't show up. He favors students openly. He slacks off on doing his work (grading etc) and then gets pissed when and if you do the same. He takes himself and this course way too seriously. I wanted to learn a lot in this course, but he rushed though the parts that no one understood and dwelled forever on the subjects that no one wanted to talk about. He was however accomodating with the syllabus (which is terrible) by adding in some topics. The syllabus consists of this yellow book which is put together by some Columbia and Barnard Profs and is the worst book I have ever used. It's pure busy work and isnt well written.

Sep 2001

Really nice guy. He has a hard time sticking to his own syllabus and would much rather discuss current events or German/Austrian politics. Very laid back. Although he might seem tough in the beginning he is lax and quite an easy grader. However, don't take his class too lightly, or he'll lay on the work.