Although it is true that Prof. Schmidt is disorganized (you may have to send her several emails and she does cancel some appts.), she also tries her best to be available and is very apologetic when her disorganization gets the best of her (she gave us her number and called me to apologize when she had to cancel a meeting). In the classroom, it is true that she sometimes "relies on her students" for discussion, but that's what small classes are supposed to be about! She achieves a great balance of allowing students to express their personal opinions while encouraging those opinions to be grounded in the texts, and her own contribution to discussion was wonderful as well. She is obviously intelligent, kind, and never pompous. I think that the class was worth her somewhat disorganized manner. All in all, I'd say take the class!
One word: frustration. If you can get survive Prof. Schmidt's unreliablility, sloppiness, and overall obliviousness, you can survive the class. While the readings are easy, Prof. Schmidt can't lead a discussion and relies on the class to research the background of the author in order to somehow stimulate discussion. From this discussion, or lack thereof, we are supposed to form paper topics. It is the end of the semester, and I still have only received one paper back. The second she was supposed to hand back today, but as usual, says it will be in her "cubby" at the end of the day, which it isn't. When she schedules a meeting, she always cancels and she hardly ever responds to e-mails. Arg!
I really enjoyed her class; I found the discussions to be thought provoking and I liked how much she seemed to also enjoy the class. The material was a lot simpler than what I am used to from high school, but she made it interesting and allowed us to critique as well as add to the material. I found Prof. Schmidt to be an inspiring and intelligent teacher.
If you genuinely want to learn something and engage your mind, do yourself a favor and stay as far away from this class as humanly possible. Schmidt is pandering and unimpressive, to say the least. She will instruct you exactly how to lay out each essay and give you no creative freedom because she feels as though no one is apt to handle it. She merely nods at every student's remarks, no matter how contradictory or blatantly incorrect they may be.
Let's see. She seems very interested in the readings we do for class. However, that's about it. She seems to be busy more with other work than work for our class. For our class, she postponed meetings with us and cut them short so they were not a great help. She does seem enthusiastic about her work but it seems like she has too much other work to do.
I'm going to take the opposite extreme on this one. Prof. Schimdt is uninspired and uninspiring in trying to teach students. She struggles to lead a discussion, resorting to "What did other people think?" instead of giving a discussion prompt more often than not. She had a deer-in-the-headlights look about her all semester, showing us every day that she would rather be siiting alone with a book (she's an NYU doctoral student) than in a classroom. Her background knowledge of any of the material was extremely limited, so attempting to use her to further your understanding of the readings was futile.
Professor Schmidt is a WONDERFUL professor who is so passionate about everything she teaches. Her love and enthusiasm for the material we learn is downright inspiring. She keeps the class discussions interesting, guiding the discussions, while letting the students take over. She is very open to hearing students' ideas, and truly gets excited by them. Prof. Schmidt is a fair grader, and is incredibly open to help outside of class.