For a University Writing Instructor, Meaghan is certainly an oddball. She is bizarrely inarticulate and cryptic in both her written and verbal comments. Many times, students would ask Meaghan questions, to which she more than often reply using some variant of "uhh... yes, um, well... yeah!" Meaghan dislikes anyone with an ounce of panache, presumably because she lacks self confidence. The previous reviews which say that Meaghan loves broken souls hit the nail on the head: Meaghan loves the timid and strongly dislikes those that have more promise, greater potential and have already proven more successful than she has. Meaghan also seems to dislike all things masculine. Maybe this is an unintentional consequence of her awkward personality, or some crisis she has had, but this made for a very uncomfortable University Writing class. Females and effeminate males seemed to get special treatment. Unequivocally the worst part of this class was the grading, Meaghan refused - somewhat like a stubborn child - to discuss grades or her rationale behind grading. Her syllabus lacked a cogent explanation of what sort of essay constitutes a certain grade. When my class confronted Meaghan on the matter, she said that she didn't remember a single grade she got in college and that college grades do not matter. This is precisely why she is a University Writing teacher - an instructor of a class whose students would never voluntarily sign up for said class.
Meaghan is such a great UWriting teacher. I don't think she's going to be back next year, unfortunately, but if she does return to Columbia I would definitely recommend signing up for her section. She's very sweet, helpful, and passionate about writing. She also picks interesting articles and is decent at facilitating discussion. One-on-one meetings with her can be awkward at first (for reasons unexplainable, they just are), but once you get her talking about writing, she's totally in her comfort zone. Also, she can be a pretty tough grader. She really wants her students to learn, and she's not going to let them get away with just anything!
People do not like UWriting. Maybe not as much as they abhor Frontiers, but the system could be better. Grading has a serious bearing on student's commitment to the class, yet the standards of the instructor are often unclear and feel unattainable; it feels like no matter how much you work on the papers you will never do well. Meaghan's grading policy was a bit vague (she seemed not to want to discuss it), relying a lot on her personal standards of good writing; this frustrated many in the class. Her high standards seem intended to inspire dedication, but it comes off as evasive and unexamined â€” it is difficult to commit to self-criticism if the one impelling you to that task seems uncritical themselves. Seems is the key word here; Meaghan is actually very thoughtful and incisive, you just have to get behind the student-teacher power structure she clings to. Meaghan lacks a certain eloquence in her instruction, but she is extremely reasonable and approachable. She was available often to discuss papers and responded promptly to e-mail, providing useful and precise feedback in both scenarios. The key to this class is the revision process. If you really take what you're writing about seriously and are willing to engage critically with the material then writing the papers will be challenging, but also very rewarding. Meaghan's very particular grading philosophy can be both motivating and disenchanting, depending on how you approach it. Learning to write is an art, and as with any art there is a learning curve; if the writing of my otherwise well-articulated classmates is any indication, that learning curve is quite steep, but the only way to become a better writer is to practice. This class, and Meaghan's instruction in particular, encourage you to do just that.
I, as well as the rest of my University Writing class, completely disagree with the previous reviews. Maybe she has changed as she is no longer a grad student, but she was by far the most efficacious, kind, and inspirational professor that I had all semester. Though previous reviews call her sexist, I COMPLETELY disagree. She was fair to all of us. If you worked hard, made the changes she pointed out, and learned from your mistakes, she gave you a good grade. If not, you got the grade you deserved. While she is kind, she is not afraid to speak up and tell you when you've done wrong. As a student who hated writing before UW, I am surprised by the ways this class, and most importantly, Meaghan, have changed me. I have not only gained a newfound interest in writing and philosophy, but I have even changed my career path. This may sound extreme, but Meaghan truly was that great of a professor. If you end up with her, you are more than fortunate.
Meaghan has a soft voice but, man, does she carry a big stick. She is encouraging and nurturing at first, but she can rip a person to pieces with her paper comments. She doesn't like jocks, slackers, or opinionated people (she is secretly very opinionate--learn what side she's on and stick to it!!). She tolerates girls, timid nerds, and people with broken spirits. As far as University Writing goes, she's a good teacher and great with discussions. She knows her stuff when it comes to writing. However, University Writing is not a feel-good class, and she is not a feel-good teacher. It's a system, and it works. University Writing is supposed to rip you to shreds, good writer or illiterate--you must learn that you are flawed and can always be improved and always be stepped on by professors and grad students alike. Meaghan will make it a memorable experience.
Meaghan is a quiet grad student in the Creative Writing program at Columbia (with James Franco!) She is very pleasant, but also very stubborn at heart. This means that you will never be right about about a discussion topic in class unless Meaghan agrees with you. However, Meaghan definitely does know her shit when it comes to writing, so resist her in textual analysis but definitely heed her advice when it comes to writing! You will undoubtedly learn a great deal in the class. My only advice to you is that you check your ego at the door. Don't be fooled by her gentle and quiet demeanor; her ego will likely greatly surpass yours in size and she is not afraid to use condescension to enforce it. This class is great if you are: >looking to improve your writing >someone who thinks of themselves as a decent writer but actually sucks >quiet and don't like to speak much in class >a girl This class is not so great if you are: >looking for an easy A >a slacker or an athlete (which are basically synonymous in her book) >really energetic and like to speak up in class >already a good writer; the class was made to level the playing field