Helen Pilinovsky

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Apr 2006

I must disagree completely with the negative review of Prof. Pilinovsky. I found her to be one of the most impacting English teachers I've had. She replied to all of my emails quickly and diligently--not just answering another tedious email.She really cares about developing her students' writing skills and understanding of literature. I believe she engaged my class in, what was for us, a really exciting discussion--often humorous and never belittling anyone's opinion. As was said before, she is indeed very educated and (compared to other pompous professors at both Barnard and Columbia, I never felt like she was merely trying to voice just how educated she was. Often if you just listen to her, and not think about the length of her 'lecturing' or her style of lecturing, you may realize that what she is saying is actually veryyy interesting. She helped me, as long as I needed, work on a very long research paper and even though she specified certain avenues she wanted me to research (which for me, at the time, the subject matter was very difficult, complex and controversial), when I turned in the paper at the end, I was extremely proud of it. She pushes you -- and often if you show a little interest--you'll be very proud. Don't confuse her age for inexperience-- she's wonderful, engaging, and for me, (someone who misses class quite often), I never missed her class once!

Nov 2005

One of the worst "professors" (she's at Columbia grad school) I have ever had the misfortune of taking. While she is very knowledgeable in her own field of fairytales and indeed in that of classical Greek literature, she has absolutely no idea how to present the material in an interesting and engaging way to her class. She is incredibly young, and therefore feels the need to assert her intellectual superiority in the form of absurdly high- brow and unnecessarily lofty speech which is in fact only to cover the fact that she is far too nervous to be teaching yet. She comes in to class with a yellow legal pad filled with notes discussing everything from the Hymn to Demeter to "first off, I'd just like to wish everyone a happy fall" (this is no joke, it was literally written down word for word on her yellow legal pad). She has no idea how to create a forum for an interesting and involved class discussion, indeed most of us in the class agree that we enjoy the readings before class... and after feel as though we can never look upon them again. For those of you who thought this was a "classics" course (we read everything from Homer to Shakespeare) be forewarned! "Prof." Pilinovsky took two weeks out of course to discuss... feminism! That's right, not feminism within Greek culture, or within the literature we were reading, but contemporary feminist literature. Something I was very confused about as I was under the clearly mistaken impression that I had NOT taken Women and Culture. Though a very nice person, Helen Pilinovsky is not ready to be teaching, nor do I believe should she ever force a class on another group of unsuspecting freshman again.

Nov 2005

Prof Pilinvovsky rocks! She's technically working towards her doctorate, but her knowledge is already so extensive that it blows people away without making them feel degraded or stupid. She's really young (so she makes an effort to keep lectures not too dry), she's flexible about deadlines if you talk to her and she's willing to discuss pretty much anything with you (majors, her thesis about bridging eastern and western fairy tale archetypes, life in general). Her assignments are legit - its not really the best class to totally slack in (believe me, it will show up in your paper if you dont read), but she's fairly generous with grading. Plus, she's cool. She brought our class cookies one day and actually seems to care about what students think. The only downside was that our class discussions were pretty slow and awkward, but that could very well be the 9am start time. I highly recommend Legacy or a FYS with her, so go to class, do most of the reading and make a couple good comments in class and you'll get a lot out of it.