This coll. is often overlooked (my class had 7 people), but it is worthwhile. It was kind of awkward because Professor Minnite often lectures rather than encouraging discussion. However, when we had discussions, they were usually very good and often only vaguely related (if at all) to the reading. The reading can be a little annoying, but Minnite likes to divide up so not everybody has to read all of it. You do have to write a 2 page response on each week's reading, which is not graded. I tried to do most of the reading for each week but usually did not, either because of time constraints or problems with getting the one copy of the book on reserve. However, this did not seem to impact my responses. The paper is 25-30 pages, but I found it to be very doable. Minnite is always there for you in office hours to talk to you about your research.
I've had Prof Minnite twice, once for an intro and the second time for a coll. she is great. for the intro, ok, a little boring, the material is bland and basic and she is not the most dynamic person in front of a crowd, but she's fair and easy-going. for the coll, she was absolutely amazing. there was a huge load of reading every week for which we were required to write up a 2-3 page comment on, but it was interesting and she encouraged discussion and questions. i can honestly say that of my four years at college, i learned the most from this course and enjoyed every single class.
I thought she was a great introductory professor. She is always willing to meet outside of class. Fair grader. The reading became crammed at the end because we were so behind, probably my top critique. She tried to incorporate class dicussion and bring in relevant current topics but we had so much to cover that it was difficult to stay on task, too. I would take another class with her.
I can't imagine a better senior seminar. There were only four people in the section, and we worked incredibly well together. We met every week despite not having to, and Minnite was more than willing to take the time to work with all of us at all times, even while she is technically on sabbatical. She was incredibly supportive and gave wonderful feedback. Writing a thesis can be daunting but with Minnite it's still a process, but one that you feel more comfortable in. She breaks the process down into managable pieces. And her incredible accessibility and honest interest in your topic cannot be matched. She is simply the best when it comes to this, and I cannot recommend her enough. Get into her seminar if you possibly can. I guarantee you'll have a great thesis experience.
Professor Minnite is a very sweet person, and is always willing to help out if you need to clarify any issues or ask questions. While her lectures can be boring (and you will likely see the attendance drop exponentially over time), she is extremely smart and knowledgeable. I learned a great deal, but the readings were lengthy and it was hard to keep up (but not always necessary :-D). In general, if you are looking for a way to fulfill a requirement, I recommend the class.
If you're interested in urban affairs, this is a solid course. If you're not into it, you'll have difficulty staying awake. No matter; Professor Minnite has a great deal of expertise in the subject area, and brings in plenty of engaging guest speakers, particularly for a 9 am class. Her lectures vary from interesting to less so, but the guests make up for it, and she is singlehandedly the most approachable person on the entire campus.
I took this class at 9am and never fell asleep, andeven often took notes. So that should say enough about that class. If you have this class as a requirement, take it with Minitte, it's certainly bearable and even enjoyable at times. She's very nice and available to her students.
Minnite brought in great, fun, challenging guest speakers who are the experts and practitioners in their fields. Her lectures, while dull at times, were clear and well organized. Yes, she assigns tons of reading, but it's not all necessary. Learn the game and you won't be reading more than an article a week. She's brilliant.
Professor Minnite can be extremely dry, and sometimes you wonder if you are learning anything at all. But she will bend over backward if you ask for any help and she knows her stuff. Really, she's just a bit socially awkward (okay, really awkward) and, it seems, has a slight confidence problem when she lectures, which means she reverts to a boring monotone that you just want to tune out when she doesn't feel like the class is responding. I didn't think the reading was impossible compared to some of the other poli sci professors at this school, but she definitely believes in packing it in. You have to work but like another reviewer said, there's something to be said for skimming. And I don't think she can be completely blamed for the way the discussions went - certain students were intent on getting their points across, and I think she was quite aware of this, but didn't want to interfere too much. She cares a lot, and is incredibly nice, (one of my favorite professors at this school in terms of personal qualities) but almost doesn't seem to have grown into her teaching skin. I definitely think the class will improve with time, this was her first time teaching a colloquia and again, just seemed really awkward and almost uncomfortable. But make no mistake, the class was often boring as hell.
READ THIS FIRST!! I can see where the other reviewers are coming from. Upon initial inspection, she has a very dry, sometimes boring personality. Minnite is often way too serious for her own good, but if you give her a chance you'll see that it's just her defense mechanism to avoid her OUT-OF-CLASSROOM LONLINESS! We asked her why there were no field trips, she said it was because last year nobody showed up for her. (tear!) This year people showed up and she seemed to genuinely be happy and her heart softened. (tear!) If Minnite is making breakthroughs in her social health, so can you by giving her a chance. She knows her stuff.
I was disheartened to read the previous reviews, since I didn't find it to be such a bad class! It's a lot different from your typical meat-and-potato lectures, though. Sure, the reading was VERY unneccessarily long, and sometimes too case-specific, but the syllabus is structured so that each week concentrates on a certain topic like civil rights, voting, or women's issues. If you skim the books (and I mean quickly skim), you will be able to throw your two cents to the CUBboard and in class. And while there were certainly people who liked to promote their own platforms, it's kinda inevitable at Columbia, and makes it more like "celebrity death match" with the sparring sides. Discussion is lively at least. A definite perk is that Minnite is very nice, approachable, and helpful. If you do the reading, keep up with your research, and make an effort, you will be nicely compensated. Only problem is that you have absolutely no idea of your grade until, well, you see it in December. The course grade is basically your paper and the class presentation of it.
What a bad seminar. Ridiculous number of pages assigned per week (try around 400+), which are then basically useless in class discussion. Class discussions usually touch upon the basic theme of the book (or books for that matter). Worse yet, there is sometimes no class discussion, as the Prof can spend a full hour lecturing about something perhaps somehow related. Discussions often would be launching pad for promoting personal agendas. The organization and grading of this class could also be far better. There are many parts to be handed in when writing the big paper and none were individually graded. This means that you have no f^&*ing idea what your grade is or where you stand in the class until you see your transcript. However, the teacher is nice as a person.
I have only one thing to comment on this course. On the first day when she handed out the syllabus with a book or two assigned for each week, I asked her what pages she wanted us to read and if she would tell us the week before since she hadnt put in on the actual sheet of paper. She replied in all sincerity, all of the book!