Lesley Finn

Jan 2005

I have to begin by pointing out that I had her class more than a year ago, so take this with a grain of salt (which you should be doing with all CULPA reviews, anyway). Lesley clearly understands and is very familiar with the relevant texts. She appears to be quite knowledgable on the subject matter. The same cannot be said of her teaching style. Students complained that her lectures (when she did lecture) were not always organized and succinct. Be warned, she is not a funny or engaging lecturer. Instead, her style is to more subtly lay a groundwork for students to work up from and she can get her point across rather clearly, despite a reluctance to spoon feed you the answers. She consistently attempted to foster class discussion. Or rather, she tried. I can't say whether she is good or bad at doing so because half of the class barely did the reading, and all but a few others didn't know how to think critically about literary texts. If your classmates are better than mine and they look even remotely promising in discussion, then her class becomes a good one because she is far more inclined towards good class discussion than good lectures. The highlight: If you're not already a spectacular writer and you want to do some work in this class, your writing will siginifigantly improve. She works with students and is very good at explaining pitfalls in your writing. Furthermore, she effectively suggests ways to improve writing through broad comments, nudging you along instead of taking the easy route (of simply showing what exactly she wants). Recommendation: If you don't want to do much work and want to coast by, leave now because multiple students complained that she was not "easy." But if you're willing to put forth effort and want to improve your writing (and have no quips about a laid-back though sometimes muddy teaching style), then stay. Her grading is fair, if not generous at times. Also, keep in mind, some students in the class disagreed with my view and think she was unclear in her instruction and was a poor teacher (ie: it was never made clear exactly what she wanted). I would contend they were too lazy or stupid to appreciate nuance and do the thinking for themselves. So choose wisely.