professor
Reif Larsen

Jun 2007

If you can DO NOT take Reif for university writing. He is a very nice, interesting guy, but an extremely tough professor with very high expectations. Like most u-writing professors he is a grad student. He took this class very seriously, as if everyone taking this required class wanted to be writers. He assigned very long, difficult readings for every class, along with fairly lengthy writing assignments to be posted to courseworks for every class. Our class agreed that we did way more work than every other u-writing class. On occasion he had some decent advice, but I felt like the conferences were mostly him telling me all the weaknesses in my writing in very abstract terms, with no suggestions on how to fix it. The class was portfolio style.

Apr 2007

Reif's' class is a full time job. Although he is very passionate and knowledgeable on the subject, the amount of work he assigns makes it a painful semester. He doesn't really care that you are taking four other classes and that teachers generally don't assign work due on days that the class doesn't meet. Missing class, especially for sports, is unacceptable to him (or for illness, thats just not allowed). I heard University Writing was a rough class, but I had no idea it would be this bad.

Apr 2007

Reif is probably the worst University Writing teacher ever. The entirety of his class consists of doing pointless examinations of texts to determine even more pointless things. Rather than reading a text to determine what an author is trying to convey, Reif has you read the text and determine things like "key terms" and "signposts." Reif also succumbs to using the same 5-10 "University Writing" terms over and over and over and over again. Get used to hearing him say such vague things as "distill", "close-read", "exhibit", "lens", and several other phrases that anyone who speaks English fluently knows really have no meaning. As for grading, Reif is difficult to the full extent of the word. He will have something negative to say about every sentence in every essay you write for him. He'll even make comments like "You should explain this more" without reading the NEXT sentence in which you DO explain it further. He also seems to have a problem with anyone who has a different writing style than his. If you don't enjoy writing lengthy, often redundant essays, he will mark you down, saying you are too "vague", when really, you were aiming for "concise." If you are assigned him for UWriting, switch immediately.

Sep 2006

Probably the best teacher I've ever had. Grades tough but you won't care because what you learn will make up for it in your other classes. Great guy, extremely engaging, you're lucky if you have him.

Mar 2006

Reif is extremely passionate about the class. He was visibly enthusiastic about every reading he assigned and every writing assignment he introduced. He cared a lot for his students, even writing a long letter to us and reading it out loud during our last class period. Reif was very approachable and encouraged students to meet with him during his office hours. I think that I have definitely become a better writer thanks to this class. Reif typed up one-paged, single spaced comments for each of our four papers, filled with good points and constructive criticism. This, however, leads me into my next point... Reif is a tough grader. My biggest complaint about the class is that I feel he could've been harsher in giving us feedback for our first drafts. I was getting positive signals about the first draft of my first paper (e.g. "Great draft! Can't wait to see your final one!") until I received my grade for the final draft --> it was not at all the grade I expected, and my paper was accompanied by a page of harsh comments (esp. when compared to the positive comments from the last draft). Thus, it is wise to meet with him during office hours after your first draft to try and get as much negative feedback as possible out of him, and to get a clear answer as to what you need to improve on. However, I stand by what I said earlier: that Reif gives deserved criticism and makes helpful points about your final paper -- but I think that he is unintentionally "nicer" on your first draft and you need to watch out for that. So, recap: Reif = enthusiastic, passionate, approachable, helpful ...but, watch out for his grading!