Caroline A. Wamsler

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Apr 2021

I have never written a negative review but I feel I need to write one in this case. Professor Wamsler’s class was appalling in that her lectures were extremely basic yet her grading was nonsensical and ridiculously harsh. It is a shame for professors like this to still be teaching at Columbia. Not only does she write rude comments on a papers/midterm, but she also provides no way for you to improve. It is impossible to think that over the course of the semester, for a student who tries extremely hard and gets A’s in other classes, that your work would not improve. She starts you out with one grade and does not change it regardless of the quality of your work. She is a horrible teacher and an even worse instructor. She will not explain to you why you did poorly and will not change her teaching method to actually teach what she is apparently looking for in assignments. This class left me fuming, beware. Side note, I had the exact same experience as students who wrote reviews multiple years ago. That should tell you something.

Jul 2020

I took Art Hum with her during Spring 2019. Overall she was really nice and understanding. Lectures were chill, she would just put up slides and ask for observations. She is not an easy grader and the workload is heavier than other Art Hum classes. Would not recommend is you're looking for the easy A art Hum.

May 2018

I completely disagree with all the negative reviews here. I have had Professor Wamsler for Art Hum and a course while abroad in Venice. I LOVED her both times and would absolutely recommend her as a teacher. In both classes, every other student loved her too and I don't understand the bad reviews on here. She is engaging, slightly awkward with her German humor but honestly so caring and amazing. She respects people who genuinely try to engage with the art and is great at teaching/conveying info about art. I agree with people who have said she doesn't give a ton of feedback. However, if you reach out I'm sure she will clarify. She does give As, despite what other reviews have yeah I love her so much.

May 2017

I really enjoyed taking Art Hum with Wamsler. I was very worried because I had never taken an art class before and had no idea how to critique art // write a paper about art. I went to office hours before the first paper was due and she talked me through a bunch of topics I could write on. She also circulated a list of things to mention during our second paper which was a comparison of two paintings. The annoying part about this class is that it was an 840 and you had to make trips to museums or other sculpture sites to write your papers. I think she could tell when someone lied about going to the museum but I respected her for it. She is a very interesting woman. I found her very funny just because of her particularly awkward German humor, but she was also a very kind woman and the type of teacher who never tried to force her view on anyone. She would give you an opinion of her painting or her interpretation--especially with something like Jackson Pollock--but if you disagreed she was okay with it. I would recommend this class to literally anyone and I hope to take another class with her later on even though art is not anywhere in my major or minor. She spends her summers in Italy so she really has seen most of these works in person and she knows what she is taking about. She has genuine intentions and really just wants her students to learn.

Aug 2016

Totally agree with the below review. I tried so hard for the class and clearly I didn't get an A. Why? Because she just doesn't give As. I approached her multiple times of the course of the semester, asking for more feedback and ways to improve and she said - hey, you are doing so fine!!! B+ is a great grade. LOL WHAT. Not in Art Hum. I have friends totally cruising through other sections of Art Hum and getting A/A+s. I put in so much work, always spoke multiple times in class, and she did say I'm a very good student but..... B+. OK Wamsler. OK. BE WARE. Do not take the class if you want a chill Art Hum experience. Don't expect an A. Expect B~A- with a ton of work. However, you will learn about art guaranteed. Why? Cuz you need to freaking memorize everything including the date of creation of artworks.

Apr 2016

I originally signed up to take her class because of the reviews below. However, its been more than halfway through the semester, I've given her a chance, and I am WRONG. First of all, she often rude towards her students. All of us remember the one time a student asked a question, and Professor Wamsler said "Okay....-insert smirk- now answer your own question" with the most disrespectful and scornful look I have honestly seen any teacher give at my time in Columbia. Grading for the class: she graded harshly for the first paper and midterm as far as I'm concerned. Best part is, she gave some people two grades, yes TWO GRADES. For an Art Hum class that meets at 8:40 am and with students who pay attention and care, she sure grades tough. She gave like one line of comments for a 5-6 page paper and something like B-/B.....what does that even mean?!......but I get a B- or a B....? Final thoughts--I don't hate the class don't get me wrong. She is clearly knowledgeable in what she teaches and the material is interesting. However, at least from what I've heard, Art Hum and Music Hum are supposed to be lighter courses that are enjoyable. I do not enjoy this class. Because of the fact that none of us have rarely had exposure to art, writing about it is difficult. I'm so concerned about getting a low semester grade in one of the easiest core classes that I can't enjoy the material she's actually teaching. Pity

Jun 2013

Professor Wamsler is one of the best professors I have had the pleasure of interacting with. Her method of instruction keeps you engaged and interested in the subject. She's a warm and welcoming person, and her knowledge with Art History is impressive. Before this class I had not taken an art class for 8 years, nor did I find it interesting. I have to say my attitude did a 180. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in her class, stick with her, you will not regret it! I'm glad I took this class. Grade: A.

Dec 2008

Dr. Wamsler is a very sweet woman who takes quite a while to warm up to, and who takes even longer to warm up to the class. On the first day, she literally said "um" every other word. She was very nervous and very cold. The beginnings of the class were not great. It took us until October to figure out what in the world she was actually looking for from us--"analysis of visual language". Yeah, because that's not even slightly ambiguous. By the end though, we all really loved her. She had us over to her AMAZING penthouse apartment on the Upper-West Side for dinner at the end of the semester. Incredible sweet, in the end. Go to the Met visit. It's the best part of the course.

Dec 2008

It's almost kind of a shame that she's so nice, because if she was more of a bitch I would feel free to hate her. The workload is very light, and, in my opinion, the subject matter is pretty interesting. That being said, the class was enormously frustrating, and, if I had to do it over again, I would have tried to get another teacher. This was because of a few major issues with the class: The first is that the discussions were appallingly, mind-bogglingly shallow. Perhaps this was a consequence of having a class almost entirely composed of freshmen, but I don't pay exorbitant amounts of money to go to Columbia so we can talk about completely obvious bullshit like how the David is a sculpture made of marble, or how Rembrandt sometimes painted with large brushstrokes and sometimes didn't. Hell, I'd never taken an art history class in my life, and I think I probably could have figured 75% of what we talked about just by going to a museum. This probably could have been avoided if Ms. Wamsler had encouraged deep, meaningful discussions, but instead, she actively encouraged the loud people who spewed obvious bullshit to keep talking. These douches had taken like, one art history class in high school and because of this, had convinced themselves that they were complete experts in art and that everyone should coo and ooh and ahh over their shiny, "new" revelations. This meant that the quieter people who might actually have had insightful things to say shut up and let the discussions derail into ego-stroking symposia of stupidity. One bright point about the lectures was that Ms. Wamsler occasionally made unintentionally hilarious language fuck-ups that I actually found really endearing. The second thing that really bothered me was a seeming inconsistency behind her grading patterns. Her justifications behind assigning particular grades to my papers and tests seemed flimsy or nonexistent. Feedback on my papers amounted to checkmarks at certain points in the margins and a circled grade at the bottom. The difference between an A and a C paper was never really outlined. If the in-class discussions were so shallow, how was I supposed to figure out what to write in these essays, which had absurdly higher standards? She also definitely played favorites. The more you blatantly sucked up to her, the better off you were in the class. My advice to you if you do have her as a professor: talk A LOT in class. Doesn't matter what you talk about, if it's relevant, or if it's insightful, just talk. This is interpreted as genuine interest in the subject matter and in her, which she rewards with better treatment and better grades. Perhaps I am being too harsh. After all, she's very nice, and what should I have expected from a class with so little homework and so many freshmen? Anyway, I would have rather had a different professor, but if you don't want very much work, don't mind being mystified by your grades, don't mind not learning much about art, and want a delicious end-of-semester lasagna dinner, then she might work for you.