professor
Charles Cameron

Jan 2003

Let me first say that I found the content of this course engaging and sometimes fascinating and the professor to be a good lecturer and a nice man. However, I have two serious complaints. First, the pace of the course was incredibly slow. He was always willing to answer students' questions in detail, which was fine. but it did slow things down. Plus he belabored the most obvious of his points, explaining them much more thoroughly than was necessary and waiting for someone to provide an answer to every question he asked, especially the easiest ones that no one felt it was necessary to answer. We also lost time to the fact that he was always 10 minutes late, believed class ended at 10:20 instead of 10:25, and constantly has technical trouble. My second complaint is that the man is lazier than any professor I have even met. He claimed he would write the textbook for the course as he taught it and post it to the class website. He wrote one chapter. He was often unprepared for class, having not bothered to make up the Power Point lectures he used. He returned the midterms on the last day of class. He made the final optional, in my opinion simply so that he would not have to grade so many. It is really a shame. He knows what he is talking about and is interesting to listen to, but I feel like I could have gotten so much more out of this course. I wouldn't recommend you never take this course. It seems possible to me that now that he does have his set of lectures prepared he will be more on the ball, but don't expect too much. The lectures and readings were interesting and I did learn about judicial politics, but not as much as I might have. Sometimes I was frustrated going to class because of the slow pace and the idiots who were attracted to the course, according to the porfessor, due to its new lower course number, but I did enjoy the material. You can learn from Cameron, just don't expect a fully satisfying experience.

Jan 2003

Professor Cameron was a really interesting lecturer when he came prepared, which did not occur all that often. When he did come prepared, he spoke about very interesting material that was cutting edge judicial theory. Also, he did a nice job of trying to engage the class, always asking questions, playing games-such as shoot the definant justice-and joking around.With all that said, the class was extremely disorganized and thus my learning experience was severely hampered. The TA's were poorly choosen to the class as one of the graduate students did not even know what judicial politics was! Maybe by next year the class will be more organized; if Professor Cameron can get his act together the class would be really interesting and worthwhile

Dec 2002

Since every other poli. sci. major at Columbia seems to want to go to law school I thought this course would garner more interest than it did. Sure 100 kids signed up but on average only half that actually showed up to the lectures. They missed out on Cameron who really knows his stuff. True he is lazy (not nearly as lazy as the TAs though) but if youre at all interested in the subject and you could stay awake (9 am class) you learned alot. That being said the midterm was a disaster. Of the 100 students who took it, 90 of them must have walked out thinking they got an A. It was the easiest test I've ever taken at Columbia... or so I thought. The grading was extremely harsh (the mean grade was an 83) considering how everyone thought they Aced it. It was given back on the last day of class with no comments, and no explanations. Some of my essays had one grade written next to them and then that grade was crossed out until it was illegible, and a new grade was written next to it!? I think he made the midterm too easy, and realzed it midway through grading. I dunno some did get their A's but be warned and know what he wants on the tests before you take it.

Dec 2002

The class is REALLY interesting, the readings are really interesting, and the professor is really knowledgable. Even though it's a lecture class (about 90 people in my class), he tries to encourage class participation and is willing to take questions and challenges to his positions. He has a little bit of an "I'm too good for you" attitude, though, and that comes through mostly in the lack of attention he gives to the work his students do. He gave the midterm back five weeks late (he hadn't even written it until the day before the date of the test), and he didn't show up to listen to our half-hour project presentations (unenthusiastic TA's were the only ones who showed up to hear a month's worth of work and then immediately left without comments). Sometimes he doesn't expect us to understand what he's saying in class, even though it's not too hard to grasp (like I said, a little pretentious). Also, he didn't bother to update the syllabus after the midterm. You had to figure out what to read on your own. And, he said at the beginning of the term that this book he was in the middle of writing would be the "primary text" for the class. Yeah, he didn't write more than a chapter. I'd say if you're not REALLY interested in judicial politics, it's not worth taking this class with this professor. On the other hand, if you're fascinated by the material, like I was, then it's worth it to sit in lectures and do the readings and the case study.

Dec 2002

Professor Cameron is a good lecturer, and as posted, obviously knows how to use PowerPoint well. This class, however, was the most disorganized class I have ever taken at this university. The midterm exam was given back the very last day of class, the project had almost no specifications, and certain lectures were completely irrelevant to the course literature. The material was interesting, but it would have been better had it been addressed at some point during lecture.

Dec 2002

Cameron is a good lecturer and uses powerpoint well. He also posts his lectures online which makes notes almost irrelevant which is easy. He is also extrememly lazy; he only handed back the midterms on the last day of class. He also made the final optional.