Erica Siegel

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Sep 2011

All in all, I would describe Erica as a great teacher. During the first semester, I sometimes felt that she was TOO nice - basically accepting what everyone said in class and not contributing as much of her own interesting insight as I would have liked. But during the second semester, it seemed like she stepped her game up and we really dug into the books in a more stimulating way. As other reviewers have said, she is certainly a very kind woman who is eager to guide you towards a deeper understanding of the texts; at the same time, she is open-minded to the extent that the class seems to be just as much an exploration and process of discovery for her as it is for the students. All around a great class, fun to be in, and stimulating in all the ways that LitHum should be. Personally, I didn't love the addition of Chekhov, but I suppose that's a matter of taste; other people seemed to like it very much. Highly recommended.

May 2011

Prof. Siegel (who asks that we call her Erica) is good teacher. She has a lot of passion for her class and you can tell she cares about your learning and your success. The tone of the class is reasonably lighthearted, with moments of humor and short anecdotes. Discussion in the class is decent, though it did fall a bit flat at times. Essay prompts were for the most part interesting, and you're given many to choose from. All in all, if you're placed in her class, you'll have a good time. Also, her dad is Robert Siegel from NPR. Coolness +1.

May 2011

If you end up in Erica's class, consider yourself blessed and one of the luckiest freshmen at Columbia!!!! Although I am not a humanities major, and literature by no stretch of the imagination is not my forte, I loved this class!!! The readings are dense and sometimes make no sense (Beware of Thucydides), but Erica has a way of clarifying anything we read which made studying for the midterm and final a breeze. Her discussions are really relevant to both the individual works as well as the course in general (Look for kleos in every book). She really enjoys teaching, leading discussions, and pushing her students academically. While the discussions can sometimes drag (that's just the nature of a two hour long class), it is so worth it to attend every class session. She's not the easiest of graders. In fact, it is rather difficult to get an A for the semester (especially first semester); however, it's the core, and it is not supposed to be a stroll through the park. Her class is well worth it. A bunch of my friends had teachers who were easy graders or treated the class as a joke. I feel I got my money's worth with this class!!!

May 2011

She is kind of amazing...get her if you can. She doesn't lecture too much but she guides the discussion expertly. Doesn't force you to talk but always encourages your thoughts, and she is very fair and flexible. Always available to talk, answers emails quickly, and very approachable. She's serious but lets you joke a bit, so her class is not high stress. In general, Erica's class was quite fun and you learn a ton from her. She deserves a gold nugget!

Mar 2011

give this woman a gold nugget!!!!! best ever. warm, knowledgeable, flexible, forgiving, interesting. our entire class loves her, and the feeling is pretty mutual. she's a pleasure to spend 2 hours with every tuesday and thursday. she concentrates in russian literature, so crime and punishment is obviously fantastic for 2nd semester. erica likes to keep a lively discussion going, but never forces you to talk. past reviews have mentioned that she gives out a heavy workload, but that's not really true.. it's typical lit hum stuff: a lot of reading, the occasional essay and a midterm and final. besides that, we have to post one discussion question in the class wiki every night before class. it literally takes like 5 minutes total. easy.

Nov 2010

Erica is FANTASTIC. She is warm, eager to hear your thoughts, and genuinely fair and approachable. She almost always keeps a lively class discussion going in lit hum. She is clearly interested and excited about the material that she's teaching, and makes it even more enjoyable for her students (especially for dense texts that might not seem so stellar upon first glance). Her lit hum class isn't a breeze by any means, but it's really not killer at all. If you put in a decent amount of work, you will do well. Readings are long and can be pretty rough (that applies to almost all lit hum classes i assume...), but discussion in class makes struggling through the texts very worth your while. A wiki post about that night's reading is mandatory before every class, which is a bit of a pain, but really nbd. It's like 5 sentences total, and it's not even for a real grade. Her essay topic choices (there are usually 5-6 options) are good prompts and genuinely not too hard to handle. In grading papers, she expects you to put real, developed, complex thought into your work, but she's not looking to shoot you down by any means. If you work hard on your essay, you'll do fine.

Jun 2008

Erica was wonderful. I found a majority of the class sessions engaging and worthwhile. She has a talent for directing her students in a constructive direction while allowing them to drive the discussion. As far as I'm concerned, the majority of my classmates loved her as much as I did! She is young but very intelligent, and her excitement for the texts (even Thucydides, Wolfe) is refreshing. I was surprised how I would do the readings and not really have any idea why I was supposed to read it, then go to class and discuss it, and leave feeling like I hadn't wasted a few hours the night before. Class aside, she is incredibly nice and very approachable. I highly recommend Erica!

Dec 2007

Erica's Lit-Hum class was really great. The conversations are always deep and she lets the students discuss things relevant/interesting to them. The class is pretty informal and she is pretty easy going. She does have a HEAVY workload though. You need to post two half pg discussion questions before every class and you will have three papers. The readings are the normal Lit-Hum readings and she does not add anything extra like some of the other professors. Basically if you're willing to put up with the work than it is worth taking Erica's class. The class itself is very enjoyable and you will really get a lot out of it. The grading is strict but fair.