professor
Erik Gartzke

Apr 2006

Best to avoid his class. He seems nice enough, but his lectures are superficial summations of points out of the textbook (which is not that great to begin with) and the treatment of international political economy is really abbreviated. Of course, these shortcomings could be overlooked were it not for his aggravating speaking style (he uses way too much inflection and makes simple analogies, often involving stories about his kids... he basically treated us like kindergartners). I, and a lot of people I know, simply stopped going to lecture because I couldn't take it anymore. That didn't really affect my grade, though. It's pretty easy to get an A- if you have a brain and do enough of the readings aside from the textbook (most of which are pretty interesting and bring up issues never addressed in lecture). Still, a terrible experience overall. Do yourself a favor and try to get another professor if you truly want to take this class. I didn't heed these reviews, and I definitely paid the price. There are too many good classes at Columbia to justify taking anything taught by Gartzke.

Jan 2006

Someone needs to slip a copy of Public Speaking for Dummies under Professor Gartzke's door. Maybe it will be me. He is a relatively young professor and seems well intentioned, but his lecture style is a disaster. His lectures are packed with personal anecdotes, mostly referring to his 4 year old daughter's perspective on international affairs. I don't mean to be a heartless grinch, but he could go a long way in the direction of staying on track and teaching instead of reciting lecture slides. Besides administrative announcements, which often pertain to changed lengths of papers or due dates (usually shorter and later in your favor, he's easy going), lecture is not really worth attending and definitely not worth taking notes in. Section was worthwhile, and the TAs from fall 05 were all more on the ball than Gartzke (a fact they seemed aware of).

Jan 2006

a very interesting course, made me want to major in it. Loads of reading can be tedious but some of it was very interesting and engaging. The lectures can get boring, but discussion groups generally very engaging. The questions for midterm and final are given beforehand- making work easier. Lectures mostly all available online. Overall a good class, although lectures arent always helpful. TA's- a big help in the class.

Jan 2006

Gartzke's lectures are designed for 10 year olds, not college students. However, he is a very nice man with lots of anecdotes about his family. Lectures are completely optional. He posts lecture slides and the midterm and final questions are handed out in advance. There is really no point in going to lecture!!

Jan 2006

Lecture was painful, but the Powerpoint outlines were helpful to print out. Textbook was pretty poor, so I used the first edition to avoid buying the new one and did just fine. Supplemental readings are good, the basics of IR theory. Your TA makes this class - I really only learned in section. Overall, the class is boring, but tolerable. Try to take the course with a different (ie better) professor, but if you can't, you'll survive. I actually learned a lot, considering how bored I was during every single lecture. Use class time to do the reading and make sure you don't miss his numerous administrative announcements.

Jan 2006

Professor Gartzke is very nice, but he is not such a swell teacher. His lectures were painfully boring, and they were based on a set of slides available on courseworks and formed entirely on the content of the book. This made the idea of actually attending the lectures incredibly unappealing. Yet, despite his shortcomings as a teacher, his class is one of the easier ones I have had. For both the midterm and the final, he gave a short list of possible essay questions. On the days of the tests, he randomly selected two of them, and we wrote about the one we prefered. Participation in discussion sections (which was easy to do) was also worth a big chunck of the final grade. Take his class if you want an easy A, but don't expect to enjoy it much.

Dec 2005

I would disagree with most of the reviews. Many kids don't show up after the first lecture to class, so they don't really know what they are talking about. It's true that he is a little boring in the first couple lectures... maybe realism isn't his specialty. But he is funny in a poli sci way, and he gets really interesting in the coming chapters. His specialty is Democratic Peace and International Political Economy, so if you are perhaps thinking of these 2, definitely take the class. The class itself needs reform though. All readings are from American/European authors, even on subjects like India/Pakistan. The class could be more international by encompassing opinions of non-American authors. Also, we spent more than 2/3 of the time on the Cold War, only to realize half-way through the course that the present world is a polar opposite to the Cold-War world... then why should we be spending SO MUCH time on the Cold War?? Also, the class is taught mostly from the perspective of essential or powerful nations, so it makes you biased against small countries from the beginning. I wouldn't take the class itself again if it weren't for the interesting theories taught and Professor Gartzke. The theories are awesome! Discussion sections are boring! TA's are awesome, but there's so much to cover that there is no discussion. I've heard LitHum has more discussion than our class...

Nov 2005

Professor Gartzke is obviously a very nice person, but not an outstanding lecturer. He starts out every class talking about the news, and manages to tie it in to the curriculum with some rambling broad generality, which actually characterizes much of the course. HIs specialty is game theory, so he talks about diplomacy in the abstract a little too much for my taste. I don't really feel like it was a rigorous introduction to international politics, or that I think much differently from when I started out. My TA, and interest in the topic, and good readings, pretty much have made the class worthwhile.

Jan 2003

Highly exciting subject matter, but Gartzke kills it with his powerpoints (1-to-1copies from the textbook, only he had managed to make mistakes in copying them). His clear dislike of students and preference for his own post-doc work doesn't help either.

Jan 2003

One of the reviewers who practically wrote an essay was absolutely correct in his/her analysis of the class. It pained me to go to class only to sleep during lectures. Gartzke is incredibly boring and has this lulling voice that would put me to sleep right away. The only reason i attended most lectures was the thought of the tuition i was paying to get an ivy education. Despite these factors, my TA was pretty decent, was interested in the material, and genuinely seemed to enjoy IR. Again though, i was LUCKY.

Dec 2002

Professor Gartzke really does know his international politics. When I stopped by his office, there were stacks of books on international relations and such. However, like many Columbia professors, he can't teach. During the course of the semester, I only went to five classes. It was a wonder why I even went those five times since I slept like a baby when there. This is a ridiculous easy class but make sure you use all your resources. Just talk to your TA before every paper you write, and they basically outline an A paper for you. The theory was interesting but an all-around worthless class.

Dec 2002

This is the most boring class. Gartzke is a nice guy, but really, the power points have got to go. Further, he didnt even create the slides himself, they are just copied off the textbook's webpage. You never have to go to class, in fact not a lot of people do, and you can still get a good grade. make sure you have a good TA cause that will be your saving grace.

Dec 2002

This is an amazingly difficult class to review. It was the best class I took all semester, but it was also boring as hell. The theory and such is fascinating, and the reading list is great. If you are taking it just to get an easy A, you will be bored out of your mind. However, I don't think the problem is Prof Gartzke. The class is in 417 IAB, and it's done from Power points. I think that's the problem really. I will say that Gartzke doesn't give a shit about the students, and the TAs do everything. I loved mine, but I know some people who didn't (for example, he was willing one day to stay after section for about an hour talking about my paper). So, the class periods are boring, but the theory and the book, and the other reading is really cool.

Dec 2002

I hate to give this guys a bad review because he seems like a really nice guy. I e-mailed him once with a question and he replied quickly with a detailed response. However, he seems to make an effort to keep people away from class. He teaches directly, I mean DIRECTLY, from the text book. His "outlines" consist of cutting a few "the" and "a" 's from the text. He posts the outlines online so you have three options, go to class, read the outlines, or read the book. Do not do more than one because it is redundant. I strongly recommend that you do not take this class. Its a waste of time. If you are interested in the material just buy the readings and do them on your own.

Nov 2002

For those of you who consider yourselves to be socially conscious and are desperately searching for a course that focuses on the international sector and what's going on in it both politically and socially - back off! this is not the course for you. Initially, the course seems promising - Gartzke provides you with a nice little selection of required texts and passes out a discount form for delivery of the NY Times, which you're told is strongly suggested complementary reading....alas, not even halfway, but 2-3 weeks into the class, one finds oneself asking "why?" At no point in time are current events pertinent. the basis of the class is ONE textbook that maps out, rather nicely i have to admit, the concepts helpful in analyzing various political events, such as alliances, war, etc....and spending the entire semester learning just these principles would be fine, IF it was a two-semester course, which it is not - there is no follow up class which leaves you wondering what in the hell you're supposed to do with the information you've acquired - damned if i knew....Although Gartzke provides slide shows that display the crux of the reading (which makes weekly reading a waste of time - so don't do it, unless of course you enjoy wasting your time) - it's what he does, or perhaps doesn't do, with them that poses a problem; you see, after creating these slide shows which are conveniently placed online, Gartzke proceeds to read them in lecture - i swear, if not invigorating, this class did bring me back to kindergarten and reading time - because that's basically what it is - which again leaves the question of "why?" to be answered? this time, it's in the context of "why am i here?" - he's made a few comments throughout the semester (not many at all) about attendance and i can't understand how the lack of attendance surprises him - well professor, most of us, at this stage, have already passed through the stage of being read a bed time story before we go to sleep, which kinda renders your class - um, futile shall we say? and the final addition i'd like to make to this tirade - a professor should choose his TAs wisely - as in, his TAs should be, i think, more informed than the students - they also should be able to communicate clearly and , this may be pushing it, but they should also be able to explain things without getting confused - as a bonus, they should also be equipped with the not-so-revolutionary skill of knowing how to use e-mails as a system of communication - i don't know about other sections, but my TA lacked ALL of these capabilities which definitely made the class a hell of a lot more stressful than it should've been, because this is NOT a class that should be stressing you out - this being said by a neurotic......all in all, if you want to take it easy and learn a few basic principles proceed to take this class, but if you're looking for an indepth study of current affairs and why they're happening, quit while your'e ahead - but just remember that if you do decide to take it, don't expect anything remotely spectacular from either Gartzke or his class

Oct 2002

Gartzke was boring and somewhat self-important. The class objectives were ambiguous (which made it hard to properly prepare for exams). The grading was haphazard and impossible to gauge. It's not necessary to go to class because he puts all his notes on-line. In fact, I recommend not going to class. All in all, not very stimulating.

Jan 2002

Erik Gartzke is well meaning and very informed. I agree that the lectures can be boring, but if you are interested in the subject matter (which to me was absolutely facinating), you will enjoy the course nonetheless. Powerpoint notes make review very easy. He has an excellent team of T.A.'s which made recitation classes very stimulating and an excellent supplement to the lectures.

Jan 2002

If you don't like to go to class, and just show up to the final with questions already in hand, then this class is for you. He's a cool guy, but the lectures were boring, sometimes even painful. He basically reads from the book the whole time, with all the notes posted on the net. Just make sure you undestand the theories and you'll be alright for the exams. Discussions sections were even more useless. Easy B, if you bother to prepare decent answers for the questions. Once again, do not go to class.

Jan 2002

I walked into this class wanting to be a poli. sci major, now I am seriously having doubts. Believe me when I say Erik Gartzke is a nice man and occasionally even displays a quirky sense of humor. But by god, are his lectures BORING! Everything is presented via powerpoint presentations. You don't even have to take notes as they are posted on his website. For that matter you don't even have to go to class because he says exactly what the book does. People just brought the text to class and read. I would battle falling asleep or daydreaming every single class. And it was only the first class of the day. He gives you the midterm and finals questions in advance so you can prepare them, but you have no idea what it is he's looking for. It seems like most people in the class get a blanket B no matter what you do.