professor
Travis Glasson

Apr 2006

I honestly think that, in addition to being a terribly nice guy, Travis is actually a great professor of CC. His methods are extremely effective. He introduces relevant material into the class discussion that enables us to think about the historical and social context of the work under discussion that we may or may not have understood from simply reading the text. His grading methodology, although I have not always gotten the best marks from him, is fair and consistent, and, despite the grade received, his comments are always helpful and beneficial when applied to new writing assignments. In all, the balance that Travis creates between talking himself/giving input on the works and fostering an environment where all of the students feel comfortable participating is the best I've seen in a Core class at Columbia. I say this in response to the idea that he "doesn't teach" because he just lets the students do all of the talking--may this reviewer be reminded that the focus of the Core classes at this university is on personal development, mental stimulation, and intellectual growth that is only possible through an INDIVIDUAL interpretation of these works, not an interpretation given to you by your professor.

Apr 2005

Travis, as aforementioned, is a nice guy. SO WHAT? I'm sure there are tons of nice people out there who can't teach- he happens to be one of them. He does NOT control class discussions and often allows two students to battle it out for themselves. He does NOT answer pertinent questions- instead he deflects it to the rest of the class. Grading is not only not inflated (which is fine)- it's downright baseless. You won't do any better if you work harder in this class. In fact, getting A's on your papers will not even ensure an A in the class. His midterm was fair, but the grading (as usual) was harsh. I'm very sorry but you won't learn much in this class. You may know the history of the texts, but you won't learn work ethic or skills in any way. You may learn that work is in no way related to progress. It's a very sad thing when you take CC with Travis. You'll learn nothing, receive a poor grade, and feel miserable. Those students who do take over class discussions also do not know what they're talking about. Travis is not better and doesn't seem to mind them.

Apr 2005

I just had to write when I read the long-winded review on Travis...I definitely can tell who wrote that, and that person is giving a very skewed and arrogant perspective on the class in general. Travis is a nice guy, but that's all he is. He never seems to know what he's talking about, and he doesn't teach...rather, he tries to foster class discussion so he doesn't have to analyze the texts himself. He is a grad student in the history department, so that's why the other reviewer had such extensive notes on the history of the French Rev. However, notes actually analyzing and delving into the texts are non-existant. Because Travis makes everyone else do the talking, some students *ahem*, dominate the conversation but don't really say anything...and just try to make themselves sound good. yeah one of those. Travis grades on a bell-curve, and I agree with the other reviewer that his paper grading does not encourage imagination or exploration into unique topics. He actually gave out "D's" on the midterm before. This was his first year actually teaching a class, and it shows. Once again, he's a nice guy, and he's approachable, but had I known what I do now, I wouldn't have wanted to taken CC with him.

Apr 2005

Travis is a really nice guy who enjoys teaching CC. He's a history grad student and this shows in his approach - he'll make sure the background of each author is covered before the text is dealt with, which can take up to twenty or thirty minutes with some of the stuff (I had three pages of notes on the history of the French Revolution before we started to discuss the topic), however, he teaches this material well and it is largely relevant and interesting. Travis runs an excellent discussion section, and makes a point of ensuring that everyone in the class understands the basic principles of the often complicated texts we read (especially Kant and Plato). Unfortunately, this does mean that the class sometimes fails to get into any serious depths on the texts, though that is largely the fault of the students too slow to grasp what's going on or who haven't done the reading, but partly his somewhat highschoolish care for the slower/disinterested students. The only real quirk about his class is his paper grading - whilst he's not a killer, he doesn't like playing up to Columbia's usual grade inflation, and he can be a bit harsh. Furthermore, paper and exam grading is where his history background really comes to the fore - the trick is to either mention a specific point or quote at least three times a paragraph, more is better. He does not give any credit to speculative, dramatic, or even accurate-but-not-referenced writing. On the whole, compared to what I've heard from other classes and my experiences in Lit Hum, Travis is definitely part of the top end of the scale as far as CC teachers go, and besides being a nice guy who cares about his students, he does run a very enjoyable class and discussion - so CC at least isn't a drag as it is for many students.