Karin Beck

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Dec 2008

Karin is an amazing professor. We had Lit-Hum at 9.00 am, and although half the class was asleep, she was upbeat and excited the whole time. If you were late you had to bring cookies next class, so we got to have a long break with cookies each class. She would also bring in food randomly as well. When we read the Homeric Hymns she brought in pomegranate, and when we did review sessions for midterms/finals she brought full breakfasts. Karin is just so much fun and so smart. One poster below mentioned that it was frustrating that the class tended to mention other authors or works (Nabokov and Nietzsche being the two main authors, I think, but also Kant, Hobbes, a variety of others). Although at times I had not read the specific work at hand, it was refreshing to have a teacher who did not let herself or the discussion be limited by the artificiality of the Lit-Hum reading list and to bring relevance to each member of the class. Although the class did not always participate in full, Karin never lost momentum and kept the members of the class who were participating engaged in full. She is not a difficult grader, and she does give higher and higher grades as the year progresses. She is always accessible in her office hours, is really eager to help with essays, and during the finals she passed out cookies to all of us. She still checks up on our Lit-Hum class via email a year later, and she is always willing to advocate for a student if they ask. I think that she was a great Professor to introduce us to the Core and if you get a chance to take her class, do!

Jul 2008

Karin is amazing! She made a very challenging course enjoyable and fun. Keeping up with the workload was quite challenging, but she was sympathetic and and very understanding. She is funny, extremely entertaining and wildly knowledgeable about languages and literature. Karin really went above and beyond for the class, if you get to take a class with her consider yourself lucky!

Jun 2008

After a year of LitHum with Prof. Beck I still feel unprepared to write her review. My hesitation is due to my frustration with LitHum as a class, in large part not attributable to Professor Beck. Prof. Beck makes clear efforts to engage the class, is incredibly enthusiastic about the material, and digs deep into each text to find what might interest the students most. However, it’s a freshman class, it was early in the morning, and the reading load—especially during the second semester—was absolutely unreasonable (500 pages of Don Quixote in a week?! Not one person read it). All factors combined, participation was rarely more than 50%. Prof. Beck did attempt to remedy this by increasing the percentage of the grade constituted by speaking in class, but I would have preferred she call on students rather than relying solely on voluntary contributions. I also would have liked the students to have more responsibility for directing discussion. It’s easy to fall back on the professor to lecture when no one is held accountable. At times discussion meandered to tangential issues; philosophers, philosophies, other texts and authors whose work I haven’t read (Nietzsche, Nabokov), which was somewhat frustrating even if relevant. Discussion frustrations aside, Professor Beck is incredibly nice, accommodating, and helpful. I didn’t always agree with her judgments on my papers but found her guidance useful and grading very fair. She arranged lovely activities outside of class (museum trips, movie showings, plays, etc.), but unfortunately the LitHum reading load was so heavy I rarely had time to devote more to the class. Overall I enjoyed Prof. Beck’s company but not the frantic rush through numerous texts with reticent classmates.

Apr 2008

Oh, Karin. What to say about her? She is so enthusiastic about what she teaches, and tries so hard to motivate the class through the (ridiculously heavy) lit-hum readings. She's really understanding about late papers and absences, and she is really fun to just talk to about the class. She is a fair to easy grader -- she doesn't give high grades first semester, but as the year progresses she goes higher and higher. Towards the second semester she's also a lot more lenient with the readings, understanding that a lot of the students haven't actually been able to get through most of it.

Oct 2005

Karin is amazing! She is the best teacher I have had at Columbia. If you get her for lit hum then you are really really lucky! So she is incredibly understanding and interested in getting to know the students. She wants to know you so that she can bring out your background and how it effects the readings. She tries not to get involved int he classes so the students pretty much dictate how the class is run. She is also a very VERY easy grader and very understanding, like being tired counts as a reason to get an extension. You wont realize that this is a class, you will learn a lot, and you will do well!

May 2005

The second semester of lit hum was more of the same. Karin is a very dedicated teacher who cares about her students and is a genuinely nice person. She is more than willing to help and meet outside of class. Discussion in class was sometimes slow but at least she always had stuff to say/teach rather than having awkward silences when no one else had anything to say. What I liked most about Karin was that she was always willing to hear and consider new views on things and came to class with an open mind. She is quite lenient when it comes to due dates and is willing to change around readings if it is needed. She also invited the class to her home at the end of the year, which was a very nice gesture and ended up being a very quaint gathering. Overall, Karin is one of the best lit hum teachers you can hope for; getting her is like hitting the lit hum jackpot.

Apr 2005

If you lucked out and got Karin as your teacher, rejoice. She is awesome. She's well informed and really enjoys teaching the class. She is most of the time great at leading discussions, and is very understanding about the amount of work we are doing. (She tries to ease up the reading load when she can, and will move due-dates around if most of the class says they want it later.) She really cares about the class and the students. Get ready for one of the best classes of your life.

Dec 2004

Karin is a very good, well informed lit hum teacher and a very nice person on top of that.. Class is rarely boring and she always comes very prepared to talk if people are being especially quiet. She cares a lot about how students think the class is going and is constantly asking for input and suggestions. In class she is open to any comment and loves participation and will let a discussion flow uninterupted. She is also able to relate to students and their concerns, giving everyone one optional extension and giving the class extensions if there is a concensus. She also realizes that some of the books might not be the most exciting to read but tries to make them as interresting as possible. Outisde of class Karin is a pleasure to talk to and I would highly suggest going to talk to her about graded papers or any other concern. In general Karin tries hard to make Lit Hum as painless as possible and doesnt overasign reading or papers and she genuinely cares about the students in her class. She's also a pretty generous grader. Certanily one of the BEST Lit Hum teachers you can have at columbia.

Nov 2004

Prof. Beck is great teacher. she's enthusiastic and she's really nice. She's understanding about needing extentsions if you talk to her about it in advance. If the whole class really doesnt want a paper due on someday, she'll give the entire class a extension. She's determined that everyone participates though and she has you post online comments every night before the class. She's pretty strict about the paper assignments in that she gives 4 or 5, which is a little more than other sections. But she generally is a great teacher. she make a little getting used to, but her classes are interesting and fun. She lets the students run it and she really likes kids who contribute to discussions in class. She's lively and animated and after a month or two in her class, you'll really like her.