Thomas Festa

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Dec 2006

Decent professor, Milton is his specialty so he actually knows what he's talking about. Very smart, approachable, whether you do or do not do the readings is up to you, the final can be a killer either way. The class is not really a Milton class, but a Milton and His World class, which can be good or bad depending on how much history of the English civil wars you can stomach (and remember for the final). Ie: Cromwell, Charles II, Rump Parliament. Overall, an interesting and erudite lecturer, he's always available to talk and he's very good about giving constructive criticism on papers. He's not a spitter or the please-kill-me-now type, though Milton might be. With that said, material is rather dry at times and the final won't let you get away with not knowing every single thing about the works and the circumstances in which they were written.

May 2003

Not a bad guy at all. I wouldn't say "brilliant" but not bad at all. Getting to know this professor on a personal level won't hurt. He's actually a normal guy who enjoys a lot movies and wouldn't mind talking about other things besides Lit Hum. When writing his papers make sure you include something he mentions in his lecture, will definitely boost your grade. Definitely a relaxed atmosphere, but oh that awful midterm. Be prepared for that midterm, forget the final (that's gonna be cake after the midterm). If you don't take good notes, get them from somebody who does before that midterm. And if there's the book that no one read, be prepared to see that book as part of the mandatory essay on the midterm. Then there are those little quizes. You'll never know when he'll strike, but if you at least read the sparknotes you won't be in the deep end. Definitely some I would recommend, and if you read a bit you'll enjoy the lectures even more, which is why it's worth reading. It may seem like a lot work, but it's not that bad, just dread the midterm. Other than that you're gonna like this guy.

May 2003

If you get Mr. Festa for Lit hum, stay with him! He's really smart, and really knows how to work a classroom. No one is pressured to participate, and he guides the class discussion really well, allowing kids to interrupt whenever they want and he will agree with or argue against your points. He let us out early almost every class, and usually about a half hour first semester! He's reasonable and sweet, a good grader and a good class to be in.

Apr 2003

What a BRILLIANT man. I absolutely loved this class, even though I didn't especially enjoy most of the books we read. I remember reading some of these books (Augustine, for example) and wondering how I'd ever live through two hours of discussion, but Festa always managed to make the time pass quickly. He had a great feel for which topics interested us and which topic didn't, and always steered the discussion in a productive and interesting manner. The classroom atmosphere was always laidback: Festa has a great sense of humor and keeps the conversation open and relaxed, and people participated because they wanted to, not because they felt obligated to speak. He knows a ton of outside info, too, and came up with some interesting handouts--my favorites had quotes pertaining to each book. He's also wonderful to talk to outside of class, accessible, and he knows a ton about a wide range of subjects. And, in what may be his greatest accomplishment of all, he manages to be brilliant without being an asshole. Be delighted if his name pops up on your schedule.

Jan 2003

Mr. Festa is a great teacher. Most of the class is lectures punctuated by insights from people who actually read the book. One thing I liked about him is he never forces anyone to speak in class; he's just as happy lecturing as we are not talking. What he says is always really interesting, and he is a warm, charismatic guy. He is also an extremely fair grader; if you put in effort, he's going to reward you for that. He loves it when students stop by for office hours-- so do it!! I definitely recommend his class to anyone-- I absolutely loved having him as a teacher.

Aug 2002

From what I hear about some anal LitHum professors, Festa is a pretty good grab. The guy more or less knows his stuff, and more importantly knows his audience. When he sensed we were bored and disinterested, he sped things up, and when he sensed we were interested, he delved in the topic/book more deeply. [For example, instead of dragging through Thucydides, we learned about the art of ancient Greek rhetoric] He always allows the students to lead the flow of the class (which occasionally becomes annoying when someone takes the class in a direction nobody would care to go). Fortunately or unfortunately, Festa is not interested in anything but the book and its interpretation and its diction -- so you wont get into irrelevant stuff that many other LitHum teachers, taken from the Philosophy or History departments, get into. He's also a very fair grader and his essay topics are not as far-fetched as Ive seen some other LitHum classes have. Also, he's not afraid to give out A's, and repeatedly. And his comments on papers and office hours are helpful. Basically, with Festa, you'll learn as much LitHum as you can possbile learn without detesting the subject or the teacher.