Sharon Harrison

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Jan 2021

The previous 2 reviews are nonsense...this class does not require an exceptional understanding of mathematics. I am not a stem kid by any means and I had a strong A all semester. Anyone who took up to Calc 1 in high school will find this class to be an easy A. Up till the last ~month of the course, the most complex topic was Chain Rule derivatives. We all did that in high school. The grading is SUPER lax. The short weekly quizzes are all easy, and she drops your lowest 2 scores. They are open note and open textbook (at least over Zoom). Harrison is super helpful and provides optional weekly problem sets along with answer keys. I suspect those who found this class to be excruciatingly difficult did not complete the optional problem sets. I STRONGLY recommend you complete them; they are nearly identical to what you will find on the weekly quizzes, Midterm, and Final. Professor Harrison is not particularly charismatic, but she's kind and very straightforward. She's organized. If you get the chance to have John as your TA, TAKE IT!!!! He's amazing. The other TA was way harsh and not very helpful. This class was super easy. If you have a basic understanding of Calc and keep up with the lectures, you'll get an A. Period.

Jan 2021

Do Not Take This Class Unless You Are Already Exceptional in Mathematics! Please follow the above - Not because the course is demanding, but simply because this is the worst taught course probably in any college. Prof. Harrison covers the most basic concepts such as how to find derivative of (5X^2 + 6X +9) and then will bombard you with extremely advanced concepts of calculus and econ in quizzes, take homes and Final Exam. The gap between the level of the material taught in the class and that of questions asked in the exams is simply mind-boggling. On top of that, she and her TAs (John, the TA is exceptionally good, though) are totally immune to your efforts to seek any clarifications. In the final exam, she asked questions, which I am sure would not even be tackled in an advanced economics course.

Jan 2021

I went into this course with low expectations, as math was never my strong point. But if you are wary of the level of difficulty for the math of this course, I would still recommend that you give this course a chance. Professor Harrison is very thorough in her explanations and will take her time to ensure all of her students understand the material. I also thought that the application of math to relatively real-life examples of economics makes this course (and math in general) more interesting and comprehensible. There are also many opportunities and resources if you are struggling. Both TAs are probably some of the best you'll have throughout college and the work assigned is never busy work. The course starts out slow with the basic application of algebra to economics but by the second half of the quarter, the math becomes quite advanced. I do recommend that you have some knowledge of calculus before taking this course, as much of the economic applications build upon calculus concepts by the end of the quarter.

Dec 2020

This class, at least over zoom, has been the easiest math class I have ever taken. It is PERFECT for someone who is terrible at math. If you have taken any sort of calc in high school you will be fine, and it is okay to take this class before principles. In order to succeed you need to have JOHN as your TA. He literally helps explain every single concept. Professor Harrison was not very personable over zoom, but if you participate she will end up learning your name which was kind since it is a pretty large lecture. Even if you are unsure about doing econ, this is a perfect class to take to fulfill the math requirement. The grading is lax. She drops two weekly quizzes and one take-home which is EXTREMELY generous. I can't speak for how this class will be in person, but if you passed algebra, did some basic calc, and go to John's office hours, you will do great in this class.

May 2020

Professor Harrison is hands down one of the best economics professors and best math teachers I have ever had. I have always struggled with math and was extremely nervous going into this class. I have dealt with math anxiety my whole life, but I feel so much more confident with math after this class. I am taking this for the Economics minor, but it is also a great class to take to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. However, this class is not an easy A -- it requires a decent amount of effort. But it is certainly not as difficult as some people on here make it out to be -- a lot these other reviewers seem to be melodramatic and histrionic. The class does not presuppose any past experience with calculus, but the experience certainly helps a lot. I took AP Calculus AB in high school which helped as far as understanding the concepts, but I struggled in that class and made a 2 on the AP exam. So even though I did go in with experience, it was pretty limited and still made As. The calculus used in the class is also not that much. This first half of the class is all algebra. The second half starts with simple derivatives and goes as far as partial derivatives. The class doesn't even go into integrals. The work outside of the class is also very chill. The problem sets are optional, but I highly recommend doing them because they are short and definitely help to perfect the concepts learned in class. There are 4 quizzes, 2 are take-home, and the lowest grade is dropped. There are recitation sections but they are also optional. They are good to go to if you are struggling to understand a concept, but I found them mostly redundant. All in all, if you go to class, take good notes, and do the problem sets you will do well in the class. Even if you struggle, the TAs and professor Harrison are super supportive and truly want to help you succeed. I HIGHLY recommend this class.

Jan 2020

Let me begin by saying I found this class to be very manageable and useful. It is an engaging class as you need to be taking notes and paying attention, but it is VERY fair and the assessments definitely reflect the material taught in lecture. Sharon Harrison is clearly experienced in Econ and offers practical examples. John the TA is honestly the best and will EXPERTLY explain anything. He's fantastic. However, I recognize that if I had not had a background in calculus and at least minimal Econ knowledge (I took AP in high school) I would have been lost. The calculus component is most important...after the midterm the course speeds up and all of a sudden you are doing multivariable calc, etc. If you are paying attention, doing the optional problem sets, and attending John's weekly recitation (he honestly will do examples that you will see on quizzes/tests) you will be perfectly fine. This class isn't particularly rigorous, but you need to be self-driven to teach yourself a bit. Thought this was the scariest course I was taking this semester but I ended with an A (and I'm not a STEM gal).

May 2019

I took this course because I am an intended economics major. However, prior to taking this course I was unsure about whether I would follow through with the standard economics track. I was worried that the math would be too challenging and was considering doing the social and economic history major instead, which would be less math heavy. However, in this class I ended up becoming passionate about economic applications of mathematics, which has been really great!I find the learning about mathematics and its applications to economics to be really interesting. I think that the concepts are taught clearly and I enjoy doing the problems. Professor Harrison has a very traditional and clear lecturing style which has worked well for me. Usually she teaches a mathematical concept, does a few example problems, then has the students try a few problems independently. After this she will explain the economic application through a few more problems and interpretations of the problems, as well as having us try problems independently again. John the TA is also great!!

Jan 2019

For an intro course, this class is challenging. You definitely would have to attend class if you don't want to miss anything. This was Professor Harrison's first time teaching this course so she was a bit disorganized and was not able to answer questions from the students which was frustrating. She was also not good at explaining complex concepts which essentially leaves you to teach yourself from the textbook. The textbook is easy to follow and light, and free online! Her office hours were not in any way helpful, so there is no point going there when you need help, rather go to Monday night econ help.

Dec 2018

Prof. Harrison is a super nice person but just isn't great at teaching this particular class. This was the first time she was ever teaching the class so we had no idea what to expect- there weren't enough problems so that we could understand what exactly she wants of us and there were no previous tests. She was very confusing while teaching most of the material and we had to learn it on our own because of that. She was super nice and tried to be as helpful as she could be tho. I have taken her math methods class and she is a MUCH better teacher in that class.

Jan 2018

If you struggled with math in high school, don't bother with this course. I failed the course and I know others who failed, too. And I have never worked so hard in a class in my life. There are no pity grades in this course. Additionally, taking calculus in high school will give you a huge advantage over students who haven't. If I could do it over again, I would have taken Physics for Poets. And now I will, because I failed this course, and I still need to fulfill my math requirement. Bottom line: If you're a Barnard econ major and need this course to graduate, take this course. If you're Political Economy or Social History track, or any other type of major - stay clear of this course. It's not worth the suffering. Bottom line 2: If you are like me circa a few months ago, you might be thinking, "But I am a bold beautiful brilliant Barnard woman, and I can handle anything if i just put my mind to it!" yeah lol no. If you do not need to take this class, think long and hard about why are you taking it.

Dec 2017

I really enjoyed math methods with prof Harrison. She moves pretty slowly so that everyone has a firm grasp of the Material. Two quizzes in class two take home and a non cumulative final. Very fair. I recommend.

Apr 2012

I would agree with the most recent review and say that without recent experience with Calculus and Pre Calc this class is hard, but I haven't encountered a more dedicated pair of Professor and TA in my time at Barnard. I took this course to fulfill my Quantitative Reasoning requirement, and, though I can't say my grade will be at par with my GPA, I'm so glad I did--this class is a great class to take for that purpose, because it instills you with the real-life knowledge that is the bedrock of the requirement, and with enough work and the guaranteed support of both Prof. Harrison and her TA, Mariann, you'll certainly get through it. There will be a number of students in the class that are Econ majors, or have experience with Econ, but as an English major that had neither, I'm still glad that I took it.

Oct 2011

I'm so glad the other reviewer found this class so easy but for me, an older student who hadn't seen this kind of math in 7 years, it was the hardest class I've ever taken. I couldn't keep up and I worked really hard. If you are just coming out of high school and have this background this is the ideal time to take the class, but you won't be given a break. She herself is a nice person and most of your interactions will be with TA. I ended up passing thanks to a lot of extra time spent but this is difficult.

May 2011

Chaos was AMAZING. Prof. Harrison is brilliant. She explains the material well and covers a wide variety of topics. I didn't really know what to expect from this class; I thought it would be interesting but I had no idea what we were going to talk about. We ended up talking about pretty much everything; we'd learn about math one day and have deep, philosophical discussions the next. We did have to read Paradise Lost, which was a pain, but we also got to read Jurassic Park, which was totally kickass. The workload sounds bad but it really wasn't.

May 2009

I loved this class! It was unlike any other class I took this year. Before I took Chaos, I had no idea what chaos theory was, but Professor Harrison explains it well. It is really interesting theory and I really loved how it was applied to many different disciplines, not just math. We discussed how chaos arises in religion, literature, science, and art. Also, at the end of the course, we made a presentation about chaos in fields we were interested in. Professor Harrison does an excellent job of keeping students engaged in the material. Everyday I felt we had really stimulating, thought-provoking discussions. Sometimes it was also a little difficult to see the relevance of some of the articles we read to chaos theory, but most of the time you could. We had a number of guest lectures which were fantastic. I also really liked the literature we read. We began with Paradise Lost, which was a little tricky, but so interesting to read from the perspective of chaos. Later, we read Jurassic Park, which is awesome because it really shows the application of chaos theory in a modern world. Our last piece was Arcadia which is an AMAZING play (if you havent read it)! Professor Harrison is also very organized, accommodating, and has a real passion for teaching this class. Plus, this is a seminar so you really get to know your professor and classmates well. All in all, this is a great class. You should definitely take it!

Dec 2008

This class was great! Its a new class and I took it the first time it became available. This class is meant to prepare economics majors for the more complicated math in the intermediate courses. Personally, I am not a math person and was a bit nervous to start learning calculus, but prof. Harrison makes the process painless. The material can sometimes be tricky but if you do the homework and meet with the TA its totally manageable. And her exams are straight-forward with only one or two difficult questions. But be careful because the pace is fast and missing a few days of class means catching up on a LOT of material. Prof. Harrison seems intimidating at first because she focuses very much on the work and is very no-nonsense, but she is friendly, approachable and very helpful at office hours. I recommend this class to any possible Econ majors who do not want to take Calc I or Calc III (seeing as this class counts for both).

Dec 2008

If you take extremely good notes in this class, it will be a breeze. I mean go to every lecture, on time and write until your hand hurts. Write what she says, write what you think she's trying to get the point. The problem sets are fair, if you take good notes- but keep your answers brief and to the point (one TA grades like all of them). Also, if you don't know what the question is asking just make a good guess and go with it. Hand them in on time, she drops the lowest grade. She's not available outside of class too much, only during her OH. There is the option of a paper or debate, either one will be exponentially easier if you take good notes. She really gives you everything in class, you don't need to sweat anything, doesn't matter if you miss a reading (or 2) or spend less than 30 hours (duh) on your final assigment, because that's not what she's looking for.

Feb 2007

This is by far the WORST class I have ever taken. Chaos theory is introduced, which is only interesting if you have some interest in math- and discussed the first couple of classes. After that, there is nothing new, ever. Harrison NEVER lectures and RARELY has anything insightful to say. She sits back and lets the class discuss instead- which usually leads to trite, dull, forced discussion leading to nowhere. Don't bother buying or reading "Does God Play Dice"- it is unnecessary. Paradise Lost is the next book read, and little literary discussion value will come out of it, the main focus is chaos. The seminar is so driven by chaos that no other points are made whatsoever. Please, please, do NOT take this class. It will bore you.

Jan 2007

So, I didn't do well in her class, but I have to hand it to her...she is a REALLY good prof. Her TA is very annoying and a stickler. But, Prof. Harrison gives AMAZING notes and unlike many columbia/barnard profs...the woman can TEACH.

Oct 2006

Whoever wrote that awful review went way out of line; totally inappropiate. I think you're taking your personal issues out on the class and on the professor. This is by far, the best class I've taken in college thus far. The class discussion were very insightful. Her strong background in math truly made a difference in the class. It made me realize that chaos was everywhere! This class was a great conversational topic on interviews. Many people were truly impressed by the concepts and topics covered in this class. I learned to look at literature, art, and the financial markets in a very different way after taking this class. Professor Harrison is one of the best professors in the university. Not only that, but she is very approachable and helpful. She truly cares about her students. I highly recommend this class.

May 2006

She basically goes along with the book. You can either go to class or read the book; you really don't need to do both. The weekly problem sets are very easy and pretty short. The test questions are taken directly from the homework. This class is incredibly easy, and she's a generous grader. The class is more of a basic, introductory class for students to "understand the world better" and "understand the news" (she starts each class with asking students what they've read in the Times recently and relating the events to Macroeconomics...which, don't get me wrong, is pretty cool). All-in-all Professor Harrison is a pretty nice, cool, easy professor to have for a required theory class. But the class doesn't cover a fraction of what the Macro class equivalent across the street does, and it shies away from any difficult math. All you need to know is how to move the lines around in a graph, which is pretty intuitive (Mankiw-like) stuff anyway.

Apr 2006

This class was awful. I expected chaos to be an interesting topic to discuss in the various texts that we would be reading, and it was somewhat stimulating, but only for the first three classes. There was no depth beyond "does God control the world, or is it chaos theory?" I did not expect it to turn into a repetitive discussion on different religious beliefs. Harrison hardly ever lectured, just threw in random stories about her daughter, despite the fact that she has a heavy background in mathematics. She didn't offer any new insight on chaos theory after those initial three classes. There were a few breaks in the boring discussion: one time she had a rabbi, priest, and expert on buddhism present to the class, another time we watched Pi (the most obnoxious movie ever made) with the producer come and speak to us, and one friday we took a trip to the NYSE. Despite these extra activities, I still didn't stop hating the class. BARNARD STUDENTS, DO NOT TAKE THIS SEMINAR.

Feb 2006

This woman is amazing. She is clear and concise and makes economics interesting. She gives good, clear examples and makes confusing concepts seem easy and straightforward. Also very willing to help students. This is defintely the best econ class I have taken so far.

Jan 2006

I thought she was a good professor. very thorough and clear. she follows the book exactly which was helpful for me. She is also very prompt with emails and always willing to meet with students. Overall good but perhaps lacking a bit more challenge.

Jan 2006

I have to disagree with most of the views. Harrison is concise with the information, but she completely spoon feeds every single word of her lecture, which makes the class completely boring. Her class is not at all a challenge or mentally stimulating in any way and is only great if you like memorizing information rather than thoroughly learning it. Although she is a very nice person, her nasally monotone voice successfully lulled me to sleep almost everyday. I would NEVER take another class with Harrison unless she was my only option. By the end of the class, though, you'll find that you have only learned half as much as Columbia students, but who cares about actual knowledge, right? If you don't care how much you learn, I did get a great grade in her class, so maybe this is the class for you.

Dec 2005

I have to disagree with the previous reviews. Prof. Harrison's Business Cycles class is not worth while taking. All it is is a review of Macroeconomics -- and quite honestly a pretty bad one. She does not engage any kind of class discussion and her problem sets are only "busy work." Her style of teaching is like in high-school. "First we will do this .... then we will do this...". I would not recommend taking this class.

Dec 2005

A good professor; genuinely cares about economics. She sometimes has pretty funny jokes. This Barnard macro is much easier than the Columbia macroecnomics class and in a smaller, friendlier setting. The course starts on a very basic level, stays there for a little bit, and then jumps into some new material, before ending with some weird stuff that isn't really tested on. I'd say this is more like a high school class, with a lovable teacher and the material pored through slowly. She's happy to answer any questions, even if they're pretty dumb. There's also plenty of articles Prof. Harrison brings in for students to read to mix it up when lectures get boring.

Nov 2005

Well, I guess this review is sort of redundant, but I like her so much I am going to write it anyway and echo everyone else. Prof. Harrison is one of the best professor's I've had. Her lectures are thourough and systematic and she makes rather complex concepts suprisingly easy to understand. What I think is especially exceptional is that she constantly puts actual data from the real world into lectures and problem sets so that students see why economics is important and how it is applied. Harrison is wonderful, TAKE HER CLASS!!

May 2005

Her lectures are, like everybody said, extremely concise and easy to comprehend. I'd never even taken a macro course before, and I found this class to be rather easy. If you do the readings (a very fair amount) and put some effort into the weekly problem sets, you should have no problem in this course. She's extremely helpful outside of class as well. I definitely recommend this course.

Feb 2005

Excellent professor--funny, engaging, writes everything on the board clearly and concisely. Midterms were straightforward, as were problem sets. Good mix of problems from the book and from outside, and good use of interactive websites, wide range of articles, etc, to come up with the problems.

Dec 2004

Professor Harrison's lectures are quite interesting, the only detractor being that they are in the morning and not in the afternoon. Her class notes are thorough and she provides comic relief during her class lectures and is in general a very understanding professor, although she is strict about absences and late work unless you have some form of authority helping to excuse you (i.e., your dean)

Dec 2004

Professor Harrison is awesome! She really cares about her students and wants them to do well. She teaches at a steady pace and tries not to speed right through the material. She patiently answers questions and never makes a student feel stupid for asking. Everything is very clear because it is written on the blackboard. If a concept is confusing, she rewords it in different ways so that it is more clear. She is definitely passionate about the subject and makes Economics less intimidating.

Dec 2004

Great teacher. She is very practical and common sense. She's not the kind of teacher that will use big words to explain something just because they sound good. She cuts to the chase about Econ and just pays attention to explaining something clearly so that you understand. She's very helpful in her office hours too. She's a fair grader and a just a cool professor. Do not feel worried if you didn't take intro macro or do not have a firm grasp of macro coming into the class. Harrison always reviews material.

Dec 2004

The first day of Harrison's class, the minute she opened her mouth, I knew that I'd found my major advisor. SH is the kindest, funniest, most down-to-earth professor I've ever had. And I wasn't alone in falling for her -- the entire class enjoyed our time with her, and at the end of the last lecture of the semester, we spontaneously applauded. Harrison made economics fun, and she really wanted us to enjoy the subject as much as she does.

Jul 2003

All in all, I was a little disappointed with the class. Yes, it's easy enough, and yes, she makes it very clear what you need to known to do well. However, it seemed a little too easy. We didn't touch on a lot of the more difficult (i.e. important) aspects of econometrics that a friend of mine in the Columbia course covered. If you just want to take the class and get on with your life, that's fine. If you want to really learn about econometric analysis for the real and academic worlds, take the Columbia lecture. Nothing against Prof. Harrison; she's a great, clear, and concise lecturer and extremely available and helpful outside of class.

Apr 2003

Professor Harrison is very fair. She reviews all the material that she wants you to know in class thoroughly. Her lectures are extremely organized and her notes are extremely helpful. Moreover, she is an extremely nice and helpful person. The tests are very fair and there are no real surprises. I would recommend her classes to anyone. She makes relatively difficult material a bit easier and more clear than it would be otherwise. There are weekly recitation sections with the TA, but they are not mandatory.

Jan 2003

Harrison is one of the best Econ professors that I have ever had. Her lectures are clear and concise (everything that you need to know is written on the blackboard). If you need to take econometrics i suggest that you take it with Harrison because you'll actually come out of the course having learned soo much. Plus, if you do all the work, there is no reason why you shouldn't get an A. Great Courses, great Prof!