professor
Joanna Augustyn

May 2006

At first I was skeptical of Prof Augustyn. However, as she became more comfortable with the class and vice versa, I enjoyed her more. Her teaching style is unusual, much of the plot for the texts was not covered in class, nor individual passages. She relies heavily on class discussion and participation. Sometimes I worried there would be a pop quiz on vocab, as there was an overdetermination of vocab words. She's a lenient grader, however, and very helpful in office hours. She's actually very willing to help and supportive, it just takes a while to figure that out.

May 2006

This professor ruined my lit hum experience. After having an amazing professor first semester and seeing all that lit hum could be, I was sadly disappointed with this class. We never used the texts in our discussions. Instead, we only discussed broad, overarching themes - everything was extremely superficial. We never had class discussions, she just lectured at us for 2 hours. She was disorganized. She had no plans for when our papers or midterm would be. In class, it seemed as though she had no idea what she would be discussing. I say, switch out if you can. The one saving grace for the class was that she is an extremely easy grader.

Jan 2006

If you are really good at French take this class for an easy A. If you are not so good at french but don't mind going to office hours, take this class. She is extremely helpful and nice outside of class. I thought the class was prretty challenging due to the overwhelming number of students who were VERY good at french already. She definitely caters to the smartest people in the class while the less advanced (me) hang on for dear life. However, when it came down to it- your grade was about the tests and papers which were very fairly graded. I recieved a grade higher than I probably deserved.

Mar 2005

I took this course as a prerequisite for another, but I was also looking forward to reading lit from medieval and renaissance periods, which I was very unfamiliar with. It turns out that the poetry and essays from these periods were way more subversive and sly than the boringness I expected, but somehow Prof. Augustyn managed to suck all the life out of the excrutiating two hours of every class. She's clearly knowledgeable about the works and the period in general, but while medieval literature especially is her research focus, she seems to lack even a spark of passion, much less charisma or charm. Just as some professors can inject life and fun into the dullest of subjects (c.f. Bruce Robbins' "Backgrounds to Contemporary Theory"), Prof. Augustyn made unusually provocative and challenging material dry and lifeless. If she were strict or seemed to dislike students, I could manage some ire for her. As it is, I can only manage a shrug. Whether it's a shot of espresso or a good argument she needs, I wish she'd have more feeling for her teaching, because she clearly has a lot of knowledge to offer.

Jan 2005

She's great and she gives you a grade higher than you deserve - A- = A etc. She doesn't pull any puerile antics in order to entertain students, and its so much better that way. No French lullabies - just straight up grammar.

Dec 2004

In terms of the Columbia French Department, Prof. Augustyn is probably one of the best professors available. She is obviously very interested in her subject, and she does a good job of incorporating some outside resources (mainly artwork). She is also very good at getting everyone to participate. My only complaint would be that it sometimes seemed that she would ask questions to which she had a very definate (but also random and obscure) answer in mind for, and then would act disappointed and frustrated when we didn't give it, which sometimes made speaking in class a little nerve-wracking. She also had slight trouble staying on schedule, meaning we spent weeks on shorter readings, and then crunched in longer ones. Still, on the whole she keeps the class interesting, and I learned a lot. If you are a French major / concentrator looking for courses or even just someone looking to take a course beyond the intro. lit courses? Highly recommended.

May 2004

The nice thing about Augustyn is that she's been at Columbia since undergrad, and so she's reasonable about the workload, etc. She is also generous in her grading. However, I often either did not follow or disagreed with some of her interpretations--granted she is a professor, but others in the class agreed with me too. She does not manage her time very well; I know it's hard to squeeze in so many books, but oftentimes you only end up discussing the first section of any given book.

Dec 2003

Joanna is a wonderful teacher who neither resorts to silly antics to maintain interest nor lord over students with an iron hand. She is friendly, easy to approach and willing to assist those who want to learn the language. Joanna is the rare balanced teacher at Columbia.

Jul 2003

Joanna really is a wonderful French instructor. She is super patient, very professional, and really great. It is very clear that she spends a great deal of time preparing learning and teaching tools, all of which were effective without being at all childish. One thing that I hate about the previous French classes is that the instructors felt like they had to jump up and down, scream, smile too much, and entertain to convey meaning in class. Joanna does not need to be theatrical because her class is designed much more thoughfully, without being intimidating. It really was my favorite French class thus far....