professor
Francisco Rosales-Varo

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Apr 2021

Francisco was a gem! Take his class! He's just a lovely, lovely human being and a great Spanish teacher. I took Intermediate II with him on Zoom and he did everything he possibly could to make the class engaging despite the format. He had constant activities, interesting content, and a super high energy level. Sometimes, he would place a toy dinosaur in front of his laptop and then hide, so that all you saw was the dinosaur entering your breakout room. In terms of difficulty, I was quite proficient in Spanish (like a point or two shy of testing out) and I didn't really have to try that hard, so my review may be biased by that. If you have a shaky Spanish foundation, you'll have to work hard. But Francisco genuinely cares about you learning Spanish, not just that you get everything right, so he's not trying to trick you or anything like that. The only part of the class that you'd actually have to study for are the quizzes. He always says that the quizzes are "solamente para practicar" tho, so idk if they actually count towards your grade?? Just show that you're trying hard, show that you care, and I'm sure you'll be totally fine grade-wise. You'll want to try hard, too, given how lovely Francisco is! Francisco co-wrote the textbook for the class, which is super cool and convenient. He knows how to work the software really well and picks out the best parts. Everything in the course comes from the textbook too which keeps the structure organized. The textbook is also SUPER inclusive and progressive!! One of our projects was to watch a movie in Spanish about a Chilean transgender woman and the systemic oppression she faces while navigating the death of her partner. The book also acknowledges the role of Spanish imperialism in the hispanic world and celebrates indigenous cultures. I learned so much!! Try to get into Francisco's section. It'll be a great semester.

Dec 2020

This professor does not deserve the gold nugget he has on CULPA. While he is nice and very energetic during class (a little too much sometimes), he grades very harshly. He will nitpick on every assignment you turn in. For example, he will take points off if you don’t use the specific diction that sounds better to him, even if your sentence is grammatically correct. Assignments are also very middle-school level. For example, you will have to do 5 “guias and diarios; the “diario element of this is to describe what you learned in class every session and how you learned it. You are supposed to attach pictures of what was covered in class, essentially putting together a sort of lesson plan. It is very time-consuming and extremely trivial, as he should know what was taught in his class. He will also happily give you a 75% on these assignments without a problem. He also does not review these diarios, as I would not mind receiving a 75% on the first diario, if he would teach us how to improve and do better on the next ones. Instead, you are forced to be confused and keep making the same mistakes; my classmates have also brought up these same frustrations in breakout rooms, even to him directly, and he’ll just say there’s no time to go over the assignments (which compose the majority of our grade anyway). However, the movie selection for the 2 projects are quite entertaining. Luckily, I tested out of taking another Spanish class, so this was the only one I had to take. Therefore, I am not able to compare this to any other Columbia Spanish classes, so if you would like to take a class with a friendly, yet frustrating teacher, I would recommend this one. Otherwise, try finding someone else.

Dec 2013

I would highly recommend that anyone with interest in the Spanish language take this course. Francisco is absolutely amazing. He is clearly interested in the material, he is organized, and he is effective. He has a passion for his students- he prefers that you use the "tu" form with him and call him Francisco to maintain informality and remain approachable. He is very organized, and he presented the material in a very understandable way. His accent is also very understandable. In terms of turning work in, he was very flexible with deadlines and due dates- although getting too far behind on the work wouldn't be a great idea. The material in itself is very, very interesting. For me, this was the quintessential Columbia class- we learned in-depth about the history and present status of a subsection of a marginalized group in Spanish culture. Francisco has personal experience with the material which only added to the class. The class was a mixture of movies, videos, songs, and readings that helped to get across very specific points. Each week had a theme- sometimes a different time period, sometimes about specific groups of people, etc. The constant mixup of material helped to make the class more interesting. Speaking practice was definitely emphasized- while I personally think that fluency should be expected at the 3300 level, there was definitely not judgment on the people who were less comfortable. Grammar activities were not emphasized. This class will help maintain fluency in Spanish, one personal downside was that there was not much grammar teaching- but Francisco did take plenty of time to correct and make comments on the weekly "guias" we turned in. This was extremely helpful.

Dec 2013

TAKE THIS CLASS! I have never felt the need to write a culpa review, until now. Francisco's class was extraordinary and there is no doubt in my mind that he deserves that gold nugget. Reasons why you should take this class: 1. I am not a Spanish major, nor am I fluent in the language. I really wanted to improve my language skills and learn about an extremely fascinating topic in the history of Spain. This class let me achieve exactly that. It is meant to "advance your language through content," which it definitely did in the end. 2. The grading is fair. If you put in the work and show up to class (and participate!), you will probably get an A. It is not easy in the slightest, but if your Spanish skills are not as good as someone else in the class, you will not be penalized. He grades based on effort and improvement, which is always nice. 3. You learn so much about the culture, in both an academic and social way. You will get to watch videos and see interesting pictures, that you probably would not see otherwise. 4. You will get up wanting to go to class every day. I could not even fathom skipping one of his classes because the content was just too interesting. Not many classes provide you with this feeling, so keep that in mind. Main message: this class is something amazing and different. Take it.

Apr 2011

I took Spanish Pragmatics with Francisco this year to complete an elective requirement for the Hispanic Studies major. It was easily the most organized class and the most prepared teacher I've had at Columbia so far. Every class is taught with powerpoint presentations (that are also available on Courseworks) and he give many helpful handouts with short exercises and examples. You're going to review movies, clips, very short texts. Very few "theoretic" knowledge is required (most students are not native speaker or linguistics/philosophy majors), most of it is immediately applied to examples and concrete stuff. Very easy to understand and great if you're planning to study abroad in the Hispanic world. The final proyecto is very long but doable if you start in advance. No midterm/final! Overall a great class!

Dec 2010

I took Intermediate I in the Spring with Francisco and really loved it so stayed in his Intermediate II class for the fall. One of the nicest professor's I've met at Columbia - and one who genuinely loves teaching. Encourages activities in pairs, and is never stern. The work seems like a lot sometimes, but it's fairly standard for the Spanish courses and he is very helpful with in-class assignments that help for the essays and his grading is more generous than fair. He will do everythign he can to help you. Both semesters with him were light-hearted and fun so much so that goiung to class was a pleasure, and I hope to take something else with him in the future.

Aug 2010

As someone said in one of these reviews, Francisco really does have a sweet heart and I can honestly say that every class has been enjoyable. In fact, his class was the most fun class I've ever had in college (I'm going to be a junior). He is kind and understanding if you really can't finish an assignment on time. He encourages us talking to one another, and we often work in pairs for every class. He might call on a student, but he does it in a friendly manner and it's OK if you don't know the answer or sound unsure.

Apr 2009

TAKE FRANCISCO'S CLASS!! He is honestly the best spanish professor I have ever had. Though the reasons he rocks your socks are numerous, here are my top three: 1. His class always seems to fly by. I often enjoy going to class, which is saying something. 2. He has a legitimate interest in helping you learn the language. If you ever have a question, he will answer it for you, and his critiques on written work are ALWAYS helpful. 3. He's legit. And spanish!! But not the annoying kind of spanish who likes to teach you about how Spain conquered the new world a long long time ago. The techno-listening, discoteca-hopping, chic kind. In all, TAKE HIS CLASS!!

Jan 2009

Francisco is so amazing!! He is truly passionate about what he teaches and inspires everyone in the class to feel the same way. He does not believe in exams and everything he assigns is widely incorporated in class discussion. There is basically no homework during the week and class is fun to go to. We listen to a lot of music and watch YouTube videos. If you get a chance, TAKE HIS CLASS!!! The most fun class I have ever taken by far. He is also very willing to talk to you at any time, and keeps in contact with you even after class is over. Simply incredible!

Jan 2009

Francisco is an incredible teacher. Academically, he challenges his students to improve their grammar, indulge in creative writing, as well as speak frequently. This class reviewed some concepts I already studied, but Francisco reintroduced them in a different way. We discussed a huge variety issues, through watching many movies, and by addressing world issues. Francisco makes clear that just because he is your teacher doesn't mean he can't learn from you as well. He is funny, kind, and unbelievably understanding. All in all, he was my favorite teacher last semester, and my favorite Spanish teacher I've ever had. Do it!

Jan 2009

Francisco is a great guy. He truly wants everyone to do well in his class. I definitely recommend this class!

Dec 2008

Francisco is awesome. He is such a sweet heart and really wants everyone in his class to do well. He is from Spain and speaks with the lisp, but he is very easy to understand and constantly asking if you understand. All the work is manageable, though it definitely increased in amount at the end. I'm not sure if I improved in my Spanish immensely, but there was a lot of speaking and writing which was nice. A really great guy and really understanding if you need extensions.