Ernesto is everything you could possibly wnat in a CC teacher. Intellegent, kind, aprochable and extremely helpful. Although he will never say it, and probably shy away when mentioned, he is highly regarded within the Philosophy department, despite being a grad student. He can have trouble leading discussion at times, but when you look at all you get out of the class, it's a very minor problem. Between his detailed comments on assignments, lecture and multiple handouts, you will take a lot from this class. He takes teaching seriously and really wants to help you. If you cant make office hours, he'll make time to see you, if you have any problems, he is more than willing to help. A previous reviewer wrote about the "groupie" that joined the class, what I think demonstrates how much respect Ernesto earned from the class even better was the last day of class. We all paid the most attention of the whole year when he finally gave us his own philosophy, after which we cheered him out the room and out of Hamilton.
Ernesto was the best thing that happened to my Core Curriculum experience. After two semesters of crappy Lit Hum profs I was not looking forward to CC, but both semesters this class was one of my favorites. He expects a lot from you on papers, but he also takes the time to thoroughly respond to everything you write, including weekly comments. He was incredibly knowledgeable, and, more rare for Columbia, completely down to earth and un-pretentious. I loved his class and learned a ton, just make sure you do the reading, because it's hard to get away without it and still live up to his participation expectations.
what can i say? Ernesto made my CC class bearable. Say what you want about his style, the dude knows his stuff. he's not an expert on every thinker, but he's probably the closest thing you'll be able to get in CC. This semester, in fact, he had a groupie show up -- a senior philosophy major attended classes just to participate in our discussions. That should really indicate something about how well-respected this guy is, and what a resource his students consider him to be. He doesn't lead discussion so much as facilitate it --he expects constructive participation from his students, which sort of sucks if you dont do the reading, but is great if you actually find yourself interested in the material. Ernesto is the only instructor i've felt the need to review on CULPA. get into his section by any means necessary.
Ernesto was recommended to me when my first CC teacher left, and rarely have I received better advice. He is the perfect CC teacher - extremely knowledgeable, dedicated to helping his students understand the material, and an excellent facilitator of discussion. He is obviously well prepared for each class and gives back half a page of typed comments even for the short assignments. Instead of the lecture-style course many CC professors conduct, Ernesto understood that students gain most from the material when they are able to engage in debate. If you're lucky enough to get Ernesto, you're in for an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience.
So I know this is a bit unusual, but I reviewed Ernesto at the end of the fall semester, and having remained in his class for the spring semester I want to revise my review. I originally said that while he was knowledgeable and intelligent he was not good at running class discussion or at managing his time. However, Ernesto's teaching progressively improved as the year went on. He stopped wasting twenty minutes at the start of every class on a review of the last class, and more importantly he became much more aggressive in running class discussion. He is now much more likely to stop people from interrupting and dominating the conversation. He still does now and again allow one person to talk to excess, but its much less of a problem then it was before. Overall, his confidence has grown enormously, he seems much more comfortable teaching now then he did first semester. He has also adjusted his method of grading (weekly assignments no longer significantly factor into your grade unless you don't do them) so as to make it more reasonable. I am not a huge fan of philosophy, but I found class to be sometimes enjoyable and almost always educational. I really did learn quite a lot. While I still certainly would not say Ernesto is the best teacher I've had at Columbia, I would recommend his CC section without reservation.
In judging the quality of a professor, it's also important to factor in the quality of the students in the class. Especially in a CORE class, an intelligent and passionate group of students can make a class experience much more enjoyable. Conversely, there are some classes where students may never do the readings or simply refuse to participate no matter how great the instructor is. Ernesto could not have been blessed with a better class. He never had to pull teeth. He never had to beg for commentary. The vast majority of the class was very interested in the material and was always engaged in active debate. Regardless of the instructor, this was a relatively easy group to teach. That said, Ernesto was the straw that stirred the drink. He is extremely intelligent and insightful, yet lacks any sort of pretention. He did a remarkable job faciliating class debate, only chiming in when we were slightly off the mark. It was in many ways like having the smartest student in your class act as teacher. At the beginning and ends of classes he'd summarize the main points and made a concerted effort to ensure that we all learned and gained fulfillment from the material. Ernesto also writes very detailed comments on our work, and one really gets to appreciate the time he apparently puts into the class. That, in turn makes the class go even better. Additionally, he is always wanting to look at topics from more viewpoints, and has such a great respect for his students that he even named various philosophical theroms after some of us. Ernesto may be very young, and somewhat impressionable with his students regarding workload and class regulations, but he also made a concerted and successful effort to improve as a teacher during the course. After three semesters of disappointing professors in LitHum and CC, it took a grad student named Ernesto to serve as a refreshing reminder that CORE classes can provide a valuable learning experience. This guy is a rising star.
Having a class with Ernesto is quite a thing. He knows quite a bit about philosophy in general (he's a grad student in the philosophy department) but is not afraid to admit when he is unsure about certain material. Unfortunately he had some difficulty imparting that knowledge because he often lost control of class discussion. The grading was reminiscent of L&R... a bit arbitrary while not containing the world's most constructive criticism. You could certainly do worse than Ernesto's section... but then again, after sitting through class discussion, you might be humming Ben Folds Five's "Song for the Dumped" all the way to Rupp's office.
Ernesto was certainly not the best teacher I've ever had, but he definitely does know what he is talking about. He has each thinker's ideas in mind and so is able to teach them and respond to students' questions and thoughts well. But what ruined the class is his utter lack of confidence and inexperience in teaching. As far as I could tell he has never taught a small class before and was a bit afraid of his students. He has trouble controlling the discussion which allowed some of the more vocal members of the class to dominate and lead the debate in annoying and absurd directions, frequently telling inane and at best tangentially related stories. Despite my dislike of the actual class period, however, I did come out of the class with a basic understanding of most of the philosophers due to Ernesto's neverending reviews of the main points of each reading. If you have a problem with chalk dust, perhaps you should avoid his section, because he writes a lot (I think it gives him something to do with his hands when he's nervous). Ernesto assigned relatively light readings, sometimes as little as 15 pages and at most (and rarely) 70. He's pretty easygoing about work (the class managed to talk him out of assigning a third paper), but his grading can feel arbitrary. The midterm was a snap, but reply papers and essays were much harder to do well on. Overall, Ernesto's class is not necessarily one to avoid since you probably will learn the material having done a minimal amount of work, but I would not seek it out due to the frustrating nature of the class itself.
I'm a bit surprised to see aprevious reviewer claim Ernesto was the best teacher he/she had had at Columbia. They must have picked classes poorly. While you could probably do a lot worse for CC than Ernesto, you could also probably do a lot better. On the one hand, he is knowledgeable and intelligent about the subject matter. His style of lecture (despite some annoying tics) is fairly clear and not terribly boring. On the other hand, he has real trouble controling class discussion, and the result is that certain rude and ill-informed members of the class tend to dominate. Ernesto is not an assertive personality type and he seems to have trouble reacting to those who are. Also, his grading is a bit inconsistent. Furthermore, he does not make the best use of time, in that he spends about twenty minutes every day reviewing the last class. Maybe this is why a large part of the class shows up half an hour late. I would not avoid this section, but I wouldn't make any great effort to be in it.
Ernesto is only a graduate student, but dont be fooled - he is the best teacher I have had at Columbia. A mousey little guy, class has its share of awkard pauses while he collects his thoughts, yet when he does, they are succinct and intelligent. He does not dominate discussion, but he also keeps it focused towards his intended goal.