professor
Daniel Cordes

Aug 2005

Some of the vile comments below are misleading; Daniel Cordes is an outstanding professor! He had remarked that he utilizes student feedback to make adjustments to his teaching style, so maybe he altered some of his previous methods to placate student grumbles. I was expecting this class to be a big yawn, but Prof. Cordes made it fun w/ his witty humor & thought provoking questions that gauged student’s understanding of the readings. He tries hard to generate meaningful conversations in the classroom, connecting the texts to contemporary issues such as indigenous ppl’s rights, abortion, campaign finance, & gay marriage. His emphasis on the “Socratic method” & “Platonic dialogues,” to give rise to debate/discussion, is reminiscent of the teaching methods employed by Mill’s father. Mill states in his biography that his father nurtured his development as a critical thinker: “ He…call(ed) for the activity of my faculties, by making me find everything for myself; he gave his explanations not before, but after…” Prof. Cordes will, however, respond to even the most basic questions during office hours. Also, he provides interesting background info for the readings, & he plans fun games & other activities to convey his point during lectures. The reading assignments are reasonable. Some of the more demanding texts require more time & focus, but don’t agonize over every point because, for such texts, he reviews/explains all the terms prior to the discussion. Grading is fair, but participation is weighed a bit too heavily (25% uggh). Prof. Cordes clearly cares about his students. Correcting a student on a concept, he remarked, “I’ll be very sad & depressed if you put that in your paper.” He promptly replies to e-mails/questions, & on the last day of class, he brought fancy cookies for us. Consider yourself lucky if you get Prof. Cordes. He should definitely be a CULPA golden nugget.

Jan 2004

OMG this man is insane. I checked the directory of classes and only 12 people are left. That means 10 people dropped out. Beware.

Jan 2004

On the plus side, if you ask him for help and/or impress him somehow, then he might actually grow to like you. Also, at the end of the semester he took us out for a great Greek dinner (yes, there was wine). So I guess that's one thing to look forward to if you end up taking him.

Dec 2003

Well, I really have nothing more to add to the previous reviews, but since I have nothing better to do, I'll repeat what was already said about him. He is very knowledgeable about the material, and gives historical background information for every philosopher, which is a plus. He has this witty type of humor that takes some time to get used to and becomes very amusing in some rare instances. He also assigns a LOT of reading, often adding to the general syllabus. This sometimes helps provide transitions and support to the other works, but of course is often unbearable and difficult to actually finish. Also, he often ignores student questions in an attempt to get to everything on his little planner. Oh, and one more thing, if you're looking for an easy A, you'll be very disappointed. I did very well in the class, but only after putting in a superhuman amount of time and work , so much so that my performance in other classes often suffered (if that is any indication of the rigor of this class). Overall though, he's a good discussion leader and manages to cover the main points of the works. If you're the type of person who doesn't care about grades, want to learn a great deal and need to be pushed to work hard, Daniel is for you. Otherwise, your CC experience will be nothing short of root canal-type pain. (And the stuff about having only hypothetical questions on papers, midterm and final are completely true.)

Dec 2003

I hate this man more than life itself. He never responds to e-mails, he doesn't care about his students, he gives f***ed up essay topics, and he's a horrible grader. Oh, and participation's 18% of your grade, and if you don't say anything, he WILL call on you. BEWARE.

Aug 2003

I know this might sound strange, but both the good and the bad reviews about Prof. Cordes are right. My first impression of the man was very positive - he's amazingly intelligent, and yes, he does read these books for fun, and has definite passion for some of the subjects they present. As the weeks wore on, I started to hate him. He seemed arrogant and pompous, was a demanding grader, and gave the most bizarre essays topics imaginable. It took me more than half the term to finally come up with a balanced opinion. He might come off as arrogant, but he's a nice guy. He really thinks people care about what we learn in CC, too, and he really does want to know what we think (and to challenge us about it). If you're a slacker, or apathetic, try to stay away from Cordes. If you're into discussions, or want to come away from the class with some kind of understanding and opinion, then stick it out with him and you too might come to like him in the end.

Jun 2003

All in all, he's a good teacher. He's a polysci grad student, but he knows his stuff really well (as in, he reads these books for fun). I like how he leads and facilitates discussion, as he's somewhat flexible to which direction the class wants to go, but firm in the focus of the topic of the day. He may seem to be kind of stand-offish and a very disinterested and sour person at first, but when you get to know him, you get used to his dry humor. The only thing that detracts from all of this is the fact that he's a hard grader. My own writing style tends to be succinct, but he appears to like essays extremely detailed and comprehensive, as well as cited to the "t". I received 2 C's, and 2 B's on my essays and midterm, and I got a B- for the course. He's definitely not an easy A, and he expects everyone to have read the material (sometimes he calls on people at random in class, but only if nobody's talking).

May 2003

If you see this man's name next to any course listing, run in the other direction as fast as you can. He is arrogant, obnoxious, condescending, and extremely unflexible. Granted, I will admit that he is very knowledgeable and well-read, but these characteristics are superceded by his insufferable personality. Several of the texts in the spring semester of CC are pretty dense, but rather than taking the time to elucidate them during the class discussions, he prefers to let the class be run by the students, whether or not their comments are relevant. Because of this, class discussions are usually lively, but you'll get no pertinent information until the last 2 minutes of class when Cordes finally deigns to illuminate his students' lives with his half-assed summary of the day's work. Perhaps the worst aspect of this class was the papers. For many, a CC paper is hard enough to write on its own, but this is made at least ten times worse because each paper topic is based on an utterly ridiculous and extremely complex hypothetical situation. This complicates things immeasurably, because it is difficult to answer all the questions associated with the topic while adhering to some stupid construct. Unfortunately, the midterm and final exams follow this format as well. As if all this weren't bad enough, Cordes is a difficult grader. If he doesn't like how you write (and expect to figure this out once you get the first paper back), expect not to do very well for the rest of the semester. For him, class participation is important -- 20% of the final grade. And don't think speaking twice every class will suffice; he's prone to call on people at random from time to time.

Apr 2003

Cordes's strength is his discussions during which he pushes the students to answer their own questions. He definitely has an idea of where he wants the discussion to go, but he often stops short of completely giving students 'the answer.' This might be out of a desire not to be one of those boring, lecture-only professors. By the same token, he is not the most inviting young professor. Almost everyone I have talked to complains about their grades from him. He is not an incredibly harsh grader, in that he will not give very low grades. But the higher grades are equally rare. I never really had a full idea of what he wanted from us, and the office hours didn't help me too much. Ultimately, the class is very similar to a 'teach yourself the texts' style with lots of in class supplementary discussion with a bunch of equally bright students who are given the opportunity to lead the discussion however they want. He himself is reticent in pointing out a lot of the 'key ideas' you need until maybe after we finished our discussion. By that point, most of us are spent and awaiting the next class, so we scribble down his arguments quickly before being dismissed. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with teaching yourself the texts within this format. At least you get to learn the text together w/ the rest of the class, and Cordes's imposing presence was a kind of whip that kept us all in pace with the texts throughout the year. If you want tons of direction with the text, you should reach out to a few classmates. I didn't use office hours extensively, however, and he may become an easier guide once you visit him more often.

Mar 2002

Unquestionably the worst class I have taken in three years here. Cordes is boring, arrogant, and extremely picky in his grading. You have to do the reading (no, sparknotes is not enough) because he asks specific questions and calls on random people. I would never reccomend this class to anyone. It certainly does not come close to Dalton's Poltical Theory class. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!

Jan 2002

I enjoyed his lectures and readings. He's a knowledgable professor that handles discussions and questions well. Good selection of readings. Excellent perk: he'll let you hand in papers early, grade them and return them to you before it's due without recording a grade. You can then revise your paper accordingly and almost always get a fantastic grade. I'd rate him as a very good professor