professor
Joanna Stalnaker

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

May 2018

Professor Stalnaker is the BEST Lit Hum Professor anyone could ever ask for. In the beginning, it was challenging to say the very least as I wasn't really sure what she wanted/ expected from our papers and assignments. However, going to her office hours was the best decision as she breaks down everything. She writes intensive notes on your essays, make sure to review them with her. She takes your complaints, and concerns into consideration and often times during the semester pushed back assignments, as she noticed that we were stressed, giving you ample time to turn in the assignment on time. She is such a sweetheart, and extremely caring. Our class discussions were amazing, Professor Stalnaker brought forth many interesting insights, and was patient and interested in what each and every student said. She really values class participation, so please participate, and say something. She really wants to hear everyone and makes sure that everyone is heard. Please take this class with her, you will not regret it !!!!!!!!

Apr 2018

Great lady- superb teaching and incredibly sweet. She always accommodates her students and is very clear and available about office hours. She doesn't allow phones in class, and will tell you in the beginning she doesn't allow food- but she gets it if you need food in class (like I did). Amazing discussion, and the class bonded really well.

May 2014

This class was great. I'm a French major, and I put it off until my very last semester because the subject was of not particular interest to me, but I enjoyed it a lot. First things first: Prof. Stalnaker is great. I cannot stress this enough. She clarified the objectives and the themes of the class, as well as her expectations, since the first day of class. I thought that she was very helpful. I was one of the few students whose field of interest was not related to the subject matter (and an undergrad no less) yet I never felt isolated or lost. I think that was because Prof. Stalnaker always addressed our questions and comments, and because she did not limit our analysis by imposing only one angle of study. Quite the contrary, she was open to all our opinions and let us take the class to whatever direction we thought important. I think that made us take an active role in the process. I also appreciated how she stimulated our curiosity in very subtle manners - unlike most professors, she never flat out pointed to a student and ordered them to answer a question. She always had the right phrasing that provoked us into discussions. I think it's also worth mentioning that most of us read some of these texts before (in CC) but I didn't feel that the class was redundant. In my opinion, this class not only makes up for the many flaws CC unfortunately has, but it goes beyond CC because of the level of analysis (of the texts). On another note, Prof. Stalnaker always had a positive attitude in class. She would walk into class smiling and she didn't shy away from interacting with her students. She clearly cared about her students and about teaching the class. And her enthusiasm was contagious. As I said, we were told everything there was to know about the assignments and readings on the first day of class. Prof. Stalnaker grades fairly and, more importantly, she provides each of us with long and detailed feedback. I think this is helpful because, it's not very helpful to get an A- and be told that it was fine and you can do better. It's much more beneficial, to be told HOW you can do better. And Prof. Stalnaker definitely did that well for the papers as well as for the midterm. I didn't know much about les Lumières before this class - only what I came across in CC and in Major French texts after 1800s. So I learned a lot here. I'm not going to switch specialties or anything, but it was an interesting ride. Other than Prof. Stalnaker's excellent teaching method, I think that having a class with undergrads and grad students is great. I benefited a lot from the grad students, and they were very open and sharing.

Dec 2012

She is such a great professor. She is completely fair and understanding; she often would change the reading assignments or due dates of papers based on the workload of students in the class. She is super nice and had interesting things to say about the readings. The class was discussion based with very minimal lecturing to give us background information. There were no reading quizzes, but she really values class participation. She is a pretty fair grader - not easy but it is possible to do well. I really enjoyed her class.

Aug 2012

Review: Professor Stalnaker is one of the quirkiest and learned professors you'll probably get in Lit Hum. First off, she's extremely considerate of the work from other classes her students gets and often moves her paper deadlines in response (in fact, I don't think that we ever ended up handing in a paper on its original due date). Also, she always asks where the class is in the reading and tailors the class on the spot accordingly, which is nice. She really makes the class discussion-based, and only lectures only to provide background or a more scholarly aspect of the text (one you can't just get from classroom analysis). She's really open to student input and participation, but be forewarned, she does not take BS. Not that you'll ever see that side of her. She has a somewhat annoying habit of not calling people out on their BS, and when she doesn't really give much direction for how much she expects in papers, not knowing how good your BS is can be a problem. Or you just not BS, I guess.

Apr 2006

She's a very sweet professor...kind, gentle, and endearing. You'll get a nice background on the texts, and she does give in depth notes on papers. It's just not the most engaging class I've taken...once I switched Lit Hum sections I realized how amazing the course could be. But she is a lovely person and if you don't mind thinking 'within the box' then this is for you.

Jan 2006

Professor Stalnaker was a pleasure. She is primarily interested that students understand the material and I found her grading fair. She encourages class discussion and input. It's bad enough having LitHum at 9 AM, but Prof Stanlanker eases the waking up transition.

Dec 2005

Professor Stalnaker does, indeed, have the patience of a kindergarten teacher. She meticulously explains anything you ask, because, alas!, she actually cares whether you fully understand the plot and litarary nuances of the texts. She makes sure you understand the plot, but she is especially good at teaching you how to do close litarary analysis. Don't throw away the Explication de Texte handout she'll give you; I had her two years ago and I still refer back to it sometimes. When you write papers, she really takes the time to pore over what you write and she writes out meticulous suggestions on how to improve your work. The grading is tough, but she lets you rewrite and improve on your first version for a half grade higher (B+ becomes A-, etc.), which is easy 'cause she tells you exactly what and how you need to fix it. She is one of the cutest French teachers I've ever had; SO sweet and kind! Best is that she has a chic style that totally adds to the ambiance of a French class (think a la 40's flapper with below-the-knee tweed skirts, an adorable bowl cut, and I swear, she wore a cloche hat when I had her). Two thumbs up! Definitely take her.

Aug 2005

I would say that Prof. Stalnaker overall is a good professor. I'll say up front that my only complaint with her is that she is too loose as to some of the interpretations received by students, and she doesn't bring out/guide a discussion all that well. Aside from that she does a great job discussing the texts involved. Also, she is a truly understanding professor who doles out grades on the basis of performance and not for the sake of being harsh. If you're serious about writing a thesis-based argumentative paper, then you'll get an A/A- with no problem... If you think you can use word-magic and eloquent styles to cover your major BS, then fully expect a C+. She won't judge you on her whether you conform with her, whether she "likes you" or not, or any of the other things that characterize unfair grading. I recommend her.

Aug 2004

Professor Stalknaker made this class as interesting as anyone could I'm sure. She's very sweet and understanding and its pretty easy to get through class without reading too much even though there really isn't that much to read. She only assigned sections of the longer novels we read and we did a lot of peotry and plays. I would definitly recommend her and would love to take a class with her again when she gets back.

May 2004

Professor Stalnaker is absolutely amazing. Her class is such a pleasure to sit through and a breath of fresh air from all of my other classes to look forward to. I feel that the quality of a class relies only so much on its content and that having been said, I must say that Professor Stalnaker makes Lit Hum such a joy to take. She is a sweet, friendly, approachable teacher who does not talk down to her students and encourages interaction. Also, she always informed us of any outside activities pertaining to the subject matter and accompanied us as well, all with a smile.

Nov 2003

I had Joanna Stalnaker my freshman year, first thing Monday morning. She was a sweet and wonderful teacher every Monday and Wednesday for the rest of the year. Joanna comes prepared to class with questions, structures her lectures accordingly, writes excellent notes on the board, and is simply downright sweet. She wants her students to understand the material, so if you go to her office hours, she will meticulously sit down and explain things.

Jun 2003

I was kinda nervous about having a French professor for Lit Hum, but Prof. Stalnaker is great. For one thing, she's brilliant, and always had interesting things to say about the books. Also, she's a really nice person. You never feel stupid asking a dumb question in her class, and she tries really hard to involve everyone. As an added bonus, she's very chill about the readings: if you're having a hellish week and can't get them done, no problem. If you get Professor Stalnaker for Lit Hum, consider yourself lucky!

Dec 2002

Prof Stalnaker is really awesome, but you know she is really really really tough in terms of grading. And quite inflexible when it comes to writing what she wants. But then again, here comes the same old problem with a class like hers: cramming two books within one week. arghs!

Dec 2002

Prof. Stalnaker made a valiant effort trying to cram over six centuries of french literature into one semester; I, for one, applaud her. The fault here lies within the structure of the Intro Lit Courses, which most definitely should be three semesters and not two. Honestly, Prof. Stalnaker made what could have been an excruciatingly painful semester into a generally interesting in-depth analysis of the pre-1800 hit parade of lit. She's obviously incredibly intelligent and very enthusiastic, which ought to carry over into her students' attitude, unless you're stuck in the class I had, where only half the people knew what was going on...(but that's another story!) All that being said, she's a very tough grader and the paper topics are challenging! I found it difficult to narrow down my discussions and often struggled to get a B+. I think this has more to do with this really being one of her first classes...I'm sure she'll mellow out next semester. If you're willing to put in the work, she's a great teacher who goes above and beyond in making time for her students and does a great job with the hand Columbia has dealt her: hundreds of years of literature in roughly three months....

Dec 2002

Prof Stalnaker is really really nice. But her teaching is over-rated. Personality and teaching is two different things here, in the sense that she is quite vague in teaching. though organised, u cannot blame her---she is covering 8 centuries of literature within 1 sem you see. Marking can be harsh, not necessarily lenient as you think.

Nov 2002

I dont think i made it clear enough in my last review, but Prof. Stalnaker is GREAT, FABULOUS, an all around WONDERFUL teacher. I have never heard a bad complaint about her, and my roomate has her for lit hum. She helps you every step of the way, has the patience of a kindergarden teacher or some other amazingly tolerant profession, and she subtley challenges you throughout the course. If you can get her, dont let her go!

Nov 2002

I took Major Literary Works in Fall 2002 and was at first dissapointed at the general nature of the course, as the seminar format doesnt work well with 20 people at varying levels of french speaking ability, some of whom ABSOLUTELY do not know what they are talking about. If you took a pretty good amount of French in high school and are at the higher levels, the reading (except Montaigne) won't be TOO hard, but a little time consuming. It's a necessary start for any other french classes, tho. As far as Prof. Stalnaker goes, the lack of depth is not her fault, its the curriculum. I constantly felt that I would get more out of it if she would just lecture. The woman is very understanding, compassionate, but dont assume that because she gives you extensions on reading (which she does sometimes) that she is not brilliant. She really loves digging into literature and getting the most obscure but wonderful meanings out of it, and once we moved away from the crappy medeival literature, i really enjoyed all the ideas she brought forth in class. She is always available in her office and very willing to give you all the help you need-- as i felt not so strong in my writing and speaking than my reading, she definitely has the perfect combination of care, encouragement, and help to push you along. ANyone who wants to start the french lit track but is afraid of being behind, she will help immensely. She personally took great interest in my studies at columbia, giving me professors to speak to about studying abroad and doing a french concentration. Besides being adorable and sweet, she really does care about her students doing well. And maybe at first that makes her seem like a high school teacher, but there's nothing more i could have wanted when approaching french in my first year of college.