Karen Van Dyck

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Apr 2021

Karen is a fantastic LitHum teacher. Having her during the pandemic was actually one of the highlights of my freshman year. She made an effort to help us get to know each other during class by splitting the class in half and letting two groups work on their own in breakout rooms. She's also super sweet, always very passionate about the things we're reading, and is generally quite helpful in showing you how to improve throughout the year. The class also really loved the TA for the class, Isabella, who went above and beyond to help us out! While we put more emphasis on some texts than others, and focused on very specific themes in pretty much every book we read, we still managed to cover a lot of ground throughout the semester. One thing everyone noticed is the importance of participation. You need to make at least a few comments per week to be engaged and show what you're thinking - but if you can do that, you're golden. Overall, a super fun core class, and she grades you well if you put in some level of effort.

Jan 2019

First, she is a very nice lady and a very good teacher with an impressive background. She is very knowledgeable of the information needed for each text. However, her grading is COMPLETELY, I mean, 100 PERCENT biased. For every assignment (Midterm, papers, final) I felt like my grade was already determined no matter how hard I worked on it. Being a humanities course, I understood that there was going to be some subjectivity. But with her, the grade for each assignment was a direct reflection of the quality of participation you brought to each class. My advice to those who are assigned to her section, participate as much as you can because that will then directly reflect your grade. I had a difficult time participating, but even though my paper's were reviewed by multiple different professionals and I studied with very intelligent people, the grades she gave me showed that she almost didn't care about what I put on paper. For example, for the first writing assignment (that was reviewed by multiple people), she gave me absolutely no feedback and all she put at the end of the paper was my awful grade and "Rewrite this" What was I honestly supposed to do with that? If you're not a big talker, I'd try to get out before you can. It will bring down your GPA. If you love talking and you can bring some relatively good content and THEN can can turn around and write it down for your assignments, let it rain pal, A+.

Nov 2016

Probably the easiest LitHum section in the world. Karen is a good teacher, and loves Greek literature, so she's is constantly teaching us about the Greek translation etc. Gave us some sweet hook-ups to Greek events across the city. We rarely had quizzes (and often we could do them together). Our midterm was easy. We only had 2 papers for the semester and that's it in terms of grading. She didn't prepare us that well for the final (bc you didn't have to read the books to get an A in the class) but a little studying helped me through.

Jan 2007

Great professor, always approachable and definitely available outsde of class. The reading list was bearable, but having been in a class with a total of 4 students, I HAD to do read everything in order to participate. Since the class is small, all students got a chance to talk, and Karen encouraged us to give any and all input, even if she did/didn't agree. All in all, I learned about Greek American lit and would reccommend the class to anyone who is interested in the subject.

Dec 2006

Great professor. There is a weekly response due at each class, and it's pretty laid back. You MUST do the reading, especailly if the class is small, because Karen will randomly call on you to ask what you thought of the book/paper, whatever. Overall, good course.

Jan 2003

Mostly good stuff. Karen encouraged/required our attendance at Greek events inside and outside of Columbia that always proved interesting. The atmosphere inside class was warm and friendly. Skits and conversation drills were pretty common and painless. The culture discussions were usually interesting, as they were based on a book that Karen herself co-authored. My only gripe is that some grammar rules were a little shaky, and vocabulary was not at all stressed. Overall, a lot of fun.