Cris Beam

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

May 2011

Cris Beam is a passionate, personable, unorthodox professor who's is also on-target with her readings and writing exercises. My afternoons were always brightened by her humor, and she always allows a break during class. Though she is unusually empathetic to students' needs, she isn't unconditionally supportive--she will provide constructive criticism and admit her own biases and weaknesses in her points of view. She does offer her own experiences as a writer, which I think are helpful, rather than annoying, as the previous review suggests. She is a progressive thinker who offers perspectives that are refreshingly different from the often stuffy Columbia atmosphere—giving voice to queer, gender, "the other." Professor Beam is also totally energetic and works hard to keep up class morale. She will use diagrams, systems, tricks to help approach the writing process strategically—right brain+left brain. My only issues with the class is her kindness allows for long, labyrinthine elaborations from hyped-up students; I'd rather hear more of her comments and feedback, especially more line edits in the papers. All in all, a professor who is an example of what professors of the future can be.

Jan 2006

Really nice, picks good readings. She isn't vain, so to speak, but she does talk about herself and her own writing... A LOT. It can be kind of irritating, but she is much better than some of the other teachers in the department. And she actually cares about the students... so, if you are looking for a class in the creative writing department, you could do much worse, and probably not much better.

Aug 2005

Cris is a wonderful professor. I suggest STRONGLY that if you are an incoming student, take her UW class. She is a prof that strongly believes in her craft, and it shows in her excellent and inclusive style of teaching. She gives her students a lot of respect, is always interested in what they have to say, and gives constructive criticism that is immensely helpful. It is because of her that I am becoming a writing major.