After reading all the reviews about M. Neil at the beginning of the semester I tried to change classes but I couldnÂ’t. I decided to bite the bullet and go through it, only to discover that the class itself and M. Neil werenÂ’t bad at all!! M. Neil is fair, professional and respectful. He can definitely spot your writing problems and help you deal with them. He is very approachable and pleasant during office hours and is eager to help for as long as it takes. For me, the hardest part was the writing of the essays and M. Neil helped a lot with very thorough feedback and tons of suggestions on each of the drafts. He encourages you to be adventuresome and creative with your writing and respects your opinions/claims a long as you present the right arguments to support them. He is very flexible with deadlines and never ridiculed anybody for turning in a paper late. OhÂ… yes he is handsome but he will dazzle you more by his knowledge and his thesis-generating skills. I enjoyed his class and I give him two thumbs up.
In my opinion Mr Neil was incredible in grading essays where he would catch and hang onto every word used. Athough he gave too much work load, in the end this wasto the students benefit. Class discussion was short on his end whereas students were to do most of the discussing.I must admit he was lenniant on handing in lte work, although grade suffers the consequence in the end
I'm inclined to agree with the harsh review that called Neil's class a waste of time. He comes across in the beginning like he is going to be a cool teacher, but definitely is not. I was encouraged by the review that said you could work to get feed-back out of him, but it is not worth the work to make sense of all the superficial crap he spews on about. Notice that most professors who have been at Columbia for years don't have as many negative reviews as this guy, and do what you can to avoid the mind numbing tedium of spending an entire semester (not to mention the waste of money) listening to this arrogant example of what the bitterness and self delusion caused by too many years of academia can do to someone who still hasn't written their own discertation!
Mr. Neil, although very difficult, seems fair and consistent. He may be arrogant, but I believe that is because he is teaching a crap course. I am hating the class, but I think he does a fine job.
Wow, that previous post was really harsh. While a lot of it rings true, there are at least some points I don't agree with. I don't think I've ever worked so hard to get feedback out of a professor before. It should not be as difficult as it was, but the result, at least for me, was worth it. For the most part, he knows what he's talking about and can see the problems in your writing or understanding of the text. The hard part is in getting him to communicate that knowledge to you in a way that is helpful. Though I enjoyed his class, I can understand how others did not. I would suggest others take his class only if they are up for a challenge. On a brighter note, he is very easy going with deadlines. By the end of the semester most people were turning in assignments late. Not that late assignments are a good thing, but the flexibility can be helpful. He was not particularly hard at grading, but he will make you work for an A. When you include the fact that feedback was sometimes cryptic, then you can understand why the last poster was so frustrated.
This was definitely the most boring, useless class I have ever endured. Mr. Neil is arrogant, and his lectures and feedback are completely superficial. As if sitting through his pompous tangents wasn't agonizing enough, I felt like I should apologize for being there. He discouraged almost everyone in the class, and laughed at us when we didn't understand the reading. For women: if you think you might be distracted because Mr. Neil is handsome, don't worry, as soon as he opens his mouth you'll forget you ever thought it. Do what you can to avoid his class, it is a waste of time and money, not to mention a disappointment that Columbia would employ such a terrible teacher.
Repugnantly arrogant. Not enough space in the classroom for both his students and his ego. He seems laid back, however, his attitude is deceptive. Even relatively high paper grades result in low semester marks.
Booooo. Most people have assignments like "describe a visit to a musuem. " Neil's assignments: "analyze the reasons that inform the causality of the generalizations in the underlying rationale of..." Not very inspiring for a class that's suppose to teach how to write clearly. Discussions are brutally boring and trivial. Best of all, Neil just sporadically breaks out into this pompous, condescending laugh- A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !! I wonder if he was laughing like that when he slapped us all with bogus final grades? OK, I maybe I'm being too harsh...the whole thing was just pretty pathetic, and he's even got some good points. He'll see you outside of class and he'll make it a little more clear what he wants. He's not grammar obsessed, which is definitely a plus- just one pop grammar quiz that didn't really count. He'll even cancel class once in a while, which is always nice. Still, I give him a easy thumbs down.
The person who wrote the preceding review was the only student in the entire class able to keep her eyes open for more than five minutes at a time. For a very simple reason: In her words, "I think Mr. Neil is hot!" For the rest of us who didn't find Mr. Neil visually appealing, Mr. Neil's soporific lectures served as a perfect aphrodisiac for our top eyelids to fall madly in love with our bottom eyelids.
I disagree with the person who said his class is really boring. L&R is inherently a boring class. He, at least, tries to make it more interesting by focusing on topics that would possible interest us. He gave us tons of room to be creative. I put crazy shit in my essays and managed to get a couple A's on some them. And he's awesome about helping you out if you go in and talk to him. He's awesome. And he might teach Art Hum next semester and I bet that's more his speed b/c he even admitted to thinking L&R was ridiculous.
His class is really boring. no joke. You sit there and discuss the dumbest stuff in the world. You won't learn a bit of grammar. The only reason your writing will improve is because you're writing so much in the class. His lectures won't be much help for your writing. Just do what he wants on the essays, and you should be ok. Don't try to be artsy-he doesn't like that. Get to the point. Oh yea, don't write a 5 paragraph essay, and make sure you focus on the essay topic. You'll get a terrible grade if you digress. Don't come to class too late or he'll get pissed off.