professor
Molly Martin

May 2009

Ugh...REALLY did not like martin. she can be a real psycho sometimes and completely explode if no one participates. she plays favorites too. and such a friggin harsh grader! my god...if you don't write down everything she said in class she takes off a bunch of points. did not enjoy it. and the way she talks is soo fake...like she makes it sound like she cares, but you know she doesn't...

Jan 2009

I had Molly Martin for a semester and realized what a complete mistake it was to have taken her class. Other kids got it right when they left after the first class. She was falsely enthusiastic and was more about passing on what her "colleagues" told her than about leading interesting discussions. As far as I am concerned, we never truly discussed anything. As far as I can tell, when you decide to take Molly Martin's class, you're signing up for lectures filled with insights that she did not even attain herself. This class was the worst way for me to start my college career and I all that I can do is hope that my ability to analyze texts has not fallen to the level of a dodo bird. Sadly, I think it has. A prime example of the Molly Martin experience: When she decided she wasn't getting enough participation in her class (were we supposed to participate during the pauses she took to take a breath?), she brought a bag of candy to class. For every right answer we gave, she threw a chocolate piece at us. Molly is a very harsh paper grader, so if you do end up taking her make sure to go to her office hours and ask her specifically what she doesn't like about your paper before you turn it in. I also suggest going to an office hour before the midterm to ask for help on how exactly she would like you to answer the passage identifications. Molly Martin has a clear idea of what she wants to see, so if you do not do it her way, she will take the opportunity to lower your grade on the assignment/test.

Jul 2008

Molly is very knowledgeable of the Literature Humanities which is saying a lot because she has only been teaching the course for a few years. She has a strong love for literature and Italian, which you really notice when you read The Divine Comedy. She really believes that the Core Curriculum makes the most vital part of the academic experience at Columbia. She is very understanding when you fall behind on readings. Although Molly may not say it, she knows when you do not read. Something that I found out as the course progressed is that she does not favour people to a high degree when they disagree with her. She will sometimes even ignore your comments if you are a repeat offender. You have a few close reading assignments which you write one or two paragraphs. When you are given a paper assignment, you get topics to choose from but you can always ask her if you want to do your own topic. She grades rather difficult on papers. Her mid-terms are very easy compared to other Literature Humanities sections because, instead of a writing section, she has a small group discussion section. All in all, I enjoyed her class because of her passion for the Core.

Sep 2006

Molly was a good teacher. She facilitated discussion well and made sure to keep the class on track. She did seem rather judgemental during private meetings and always seemed to be questioning whether I truly loved lithum or just wanted an A. But whether or not lithum is your fave, you want an A, so this was pretty annoying. She is easy to meet with outside of class, is knowledgeable about the books, comes up with pretty good paper topics, but is a tough grader. Participation seems to mean nothing in her class, and everything is based on the papers. Her tests were easy and she seemed to get less strict as the semester went on. You want to establish yourself as smart and dedicated early on. She played favorites a lot in our class, which was weird and grade-schoolish, but was a pretty interesting teacher and she valued discussion more than lecture. The group projects were AWFUL but she seemed to realize that and stopped giving them second semester.

Jan 2006

Molly's intellectual capabilities deserve a great deal of respect. From beginning to end, the class discussions follow a structure that is conducive to incisive and provocative thought, and this is surely a credit to Molly's ability to pinpoint important themes and devise questions that will elicit sound contributions from her students. Her papers, moreover, challenge students to examine the texts thoroughly and construct reasoned, measured arguments. Overall, it would be nearly impossible for one to emerge from Molly's class without having undergone significant intellectual growth. Unfortunately, however, I'm disinclined to offer a full- throated recommendation of Molly as a Lit Hum instructor. For one, her midterm was something short of fair, including passage IDs that seemed in some places to be designed to trick you. But there are more fundamental issues at stake. While Molly is a bright woman, she lacks certain qualities of character that are necessary for success in working with a group of students in an intimate environment like a seminar class. On a professional level, though it would be an overstatement to say that she flatly discourages students from offering opinions that conflict with her own, it's not in the least bit difficult to discern her disagreement when in the midst of uttering a thought that she doesn't share, and this has the undesireable effect of instilling in students a reluctance to air views that could potentially offer a good stimulus to class discussion. On a more personal level, moreover, Molly simply isn't very nice. To paraphrase a friend, Molly seems to have been the sort of girl who would've made fun of you in middle school, and there's perhaps an extent to which she hasn't entirely moved past that. Whether by pretending to appreciate comments for which her disapproval is thinly veiled or by trying to come off as being more youthful and hip than she truly is, Molly lends support to the idea that she's just an overgrown mean girl. It can get hard to deal with that. Overall, Molly is bearable, though certainly not recommended.

Jan 2005

Molly is an exceedingly sweet woman and a very easy grader. She doesn't have much more experience with the Lit Hum books than the rest of us, so the class was even more discussion based than I had expected. Her role was much more that of a member of the discussion than of an actual instructor. I was expecting someone with more experience in literature, but if anything, it makes the class a very easy A. Overall, Molly is not the best instructor you can get for Lit Hum, neither is she the worst. While I got absolutely nothing out of this class intellectually (which was a disappointment, considering my great fascination with literature, especially classical literature), I did get a nice instructor, an easy A, and biweekly cookies.

Jan 2005

I'd like to echo the previous reviews. Molly is a great lit hum professor. She balances very well her own input with class discussion, and is patient enough to let the class "come around" to the conclusions that she wants it to reach. I found this much more effective than just telling us the eventual conclusions from the beginning.-- that being said, no one can judge perfectly how a group discussion is going to turn out, and at time discussions really veered off course and she continued to wait, hoping we could work it out ourselves. This is not a negative aspect of her teaching style however, considering that a two hour discussion simply can't be breathtaking all the time. Molly is a very fair grader, in my experience. I did more work on some papers than others, and it roughly corresponded to my grades on those papers-- have no fear about agreeing/disagreeing with Molly's viewpoint, in other words. It was apparent from comments and the overall judgment of the paper that she had spent the time and energy to really give it a look. After getting the first paper back and seeing how closely she read it, I redoubled my efforts on subsequent papers and I learned more while writing those papers than any other time. While grading the essays, Molly would often leave me a short list of things I could have done differently that would have improved my grade, and these things were all accurate shortcomings in my work. She was very willing to meet outside of class and responds very positively to emailed questions.

Jan 2005

She is very nice and enthusastic about class. Class is always long, but so are all of the Lit Hum sections. She does not grade too hard, but is not easy also. She has a good understanding of the material and does a good job teaching it. She has study breaks in the middle of class with cookies. A good class, but don't take it at night because you find yourself daydreaming about what your friends are doing.

Apr 2003

Molly is a wonderful teacher, she makes everything very clear. Her teaching methods are extremely effective and her exams are more than fair. Every night there is a little homework, nothing to stress over.