Glenn Gordon

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

May 2014

Taking Glenn's class was one of the best experiences I had at Columbia yet. Especially for someone who has just arrived here, this class is a perfect entryway into the academic community at Columbia. Not only does Glenn make you feel extremely welcomed, he also teaches you things that are going to be useful for the rest of your time here. One thing that I loved about this class was that, with the help of Glenn's charismatic and caring approach to teaching, everyone became really close to one another in the end. I ended up having a special form of kinship for all of my classmates, and I think that says a lot about how much the class meant for us and about Glenn's incredible teaching skills. Gender studies is a such a difficult topic, because it means deconstructing a lot of the most basic norms that structure our lives, to a point where we generally don't even notice them. It really takes a very skillful teacher like Glenn to walk students from such diverse backgrounds through this very thorny field of studies. I remember sitting at the first few classes and being just amazed at how Glenn managed to smoothly and gradually go over topics in feminist theory with this really heterogenous crew of students — international people, JTS students, a muslim girl, army veterans, proud straight guys and equally proud gay students. As someone who had a little knowledge in gender before, it was amazing to see how Glenn negotiated up to the most radical pieces of theory with students. What's best, he allowed each one of us to understand the theory in their own way and take it wherever they wanted. For example, I remember a classmate doing an essay about why men are generally considered funnier than women. It was clear that each detail of the classes was carefully planned, but at the same time, Glenn was extremely quick on his feet to react to students' responses and change track whenever necessary. In every single aspect of his teaching, you can see that Glenn cares immensely about each one of his students. If you go to office hours, you are sure to find great advice about writing and an amazing person, too. Don't miss out on this opportunity. Now, if you are the kind of student who won't take anything less than an A, don't take this class. Glenn is a tough grader, but he is also extremely fair and makes it clear to you why you had this or that grade. My advice to you is: get over yourself and do this class for the experience, not for a letter on your transcript.

Feb 2014

The professor engages in friendly conversations to perpetuate the facade of friendship. He also appears to encourage the free flow of ideas during class discussions and interjects light-hearted comments. This type of communication suggests that he is your friend and there is a mutuality or an equivalent relationship between a student and the professor. In actuality, such communication belies his regard for students and their opinions. There is only one way to do things in this class - his way or the highway. He is very rigid in his approach to writing and he's unwilling to consider alternative ideas. This leads to surprises when he reviews your papers since his verbal feedback is often quite different than his written reviews of students' work.

Nov 2013

Professor Gordon is an *excellent* teacher. Not only has he transformed my writing dramatically, but I have also come to regard my time in his class as the most valuable learning experience at Columbia. What I learned in UW has traveled with me and impacted my every writing assignment, personal essay, even down to simple reading experiences such as the daily newspaper. I came to Columbia having already completed 2 rigorous "honors" writing classes at my previous school. I have also been studying gender and sexuality for the past ten years. I saw I was placed in the UW Gender class, and I thought "no sweat." Wrong. Start sweating. This is no easy ride, but it was hands-down worth the blood, sweat, and tears. The readings are brilliantly curated, each speaking to the last and unfolding a conversation that spans multiple decades and discourses. The writing assignments expect you to converse with distinguished writers who are articulating deeply complex social ideas. If you participate and follow his direction, you will be able to do just that. This is one of the most valuable skills you can get from this class. At the end of the course, it seemed like the material we covered in Prof. Gordon's class connected with everything around me... I could not only SEE the larger conversation taking place in every newspaper, every casual conversation, and inside all of my other class readings and discussions, but I could also SPEAK and WRITE about it. This is one of those classes that doesn't just change your opinion, but actually *changes the way that you think* This class will teach you much more than just writing. I promise that when you walk away from it, you will know that you are an infinitely better reader, writer, listener, and scholar, than before. A word of caution: this is not an easy A. If you do not cry at least twice while writing a paper, you are probably not producing A material. Professor Gordon absolutely cares, as everyone notes, but he does not play favorites with people or ideas. You can be a sexist a**hole and still do great in this class if your writing is at top performance. Equally, you can be an experienced writer and feminist, but if you do not follow the rubric you will suffer. Professor Gordon is on top of his emails, the assignments, and the material, so there is no hiding. If you think you can blend into the back of the class, you should know now that we arrange our tables in a tight circle. For better or for worse, you will always know exactly what is expected from you. The key to success in this class is: 1) go to office hours, 2) take his suggestions and guidance about the assignments, and 3) follow the assignments closely and do exactly what is being asked of you. If you never learn how to "close read" Judith Butler, you will at least learn how to "close read" an assignment prompt! If you do these three things faithfully, then you don't need to come to the table with sophisticated ideas about gender or writing to do well. He will develop them in you.

Feb 2013

This man is the best professor you could ever hope for. It's well over a year since I took UW and we have since then developed a relationship that I really value. I think some kids from his classes even went to his wedding, which shows you how much he really values his students. I did work I read now that I am really proud of in this class, put the time in and you'll be rewarded by the writing you produce.

Jan 2013

As a clueless straight guy who had zero interest in feminist studies, I would've probably picked another section if I had known about the "Women and Gender" theme of Glenn's UW class beforehand. It would've been the biggest mistake ever. Contrary to the completely misnamed section title, at least half the readings we've done in class are about men, and all of them are about how gender expectations shape our identity in ways that many of us aren't even conscious of before taking a class like this. Take this course and prepare to have your mind blown. For instance, we spent one class discussing an article where super hardcore, ultra bad ass US Marines confessed that their biggest fear in combat wasn't being killed, or losing a limb - it was having their manhood blown off by an IED. Does it sound ridiculous? Hell yeah it does, but only because this is true stuff that people are often too embarrassed to talk about, which is why it's important. In Glenn's class, you will talk about stuff like this all the time, and it'll relate to your own life in ways that you never could've imagined. My fellow bros, have you ever noticed that women seem to constantly read more into your actions than you ever intended? Take this class and find out why. Ladies, do you ever wonder why your boyfriend is the most sensitive guy ever when you're together, but then turns into a complete douchebag when he's with his friends? Take this class, and make him take it too, because nobody likes a douchebag. Even if the theme doesn't interest you, you should still take UW with Glenn. Glenn is an awesome professor who is not only super knowledgeable about gender stuff, but even more so about the craft of writing, which is what the class is ultimately about despite the theme. Glenn knows exactly what makes good writing good, and he always manages to see the untapped potential in your draft that you never saw yourself. It's hilarious because when he describes a student's essay, it usually sounds better than when the writer describes it him/herself. Even if you're already a very good writer, actually, ESPECIALLY if you're already a very good writer, take UW with Glenn. You'll learn something useful no matter what your ability was before you came in. At this point you may be thinking that this totally sweet deal has to have a catch, and here it is: be prepared for your GPA to take a hit. Your final grade will be entirely dependent on the grades of the four essays you write, which are all evaluated by very rigorous standards. That's right freshmen, you ain't in high school anymore and class participation isn't worth crap (except if you're absent too many times, then you fail). Glenn pulls no punches, and you can easily work your ass off on an essay and get a C on it if writing is your Achilles heel. However, I can't exactly recommend gunners who want to game their GPA to take the class with someone else, because most of the UW professors are equally harsh with their grading, and some of them apparently have ridiculous policies against giving As, even for really good essays. Even though Glenn is tough, he is a fair grader who outlines exactly what he expects for an A level essay, B level essay, C level essay, and so forth, and actually sticks to his guidelines. Even if it's really hard to get an A in his class, it's still possible, and if you do pull it off, you'll feel like the bomb because you'll know you earned it. In sum: take UW with Glenn, keep an open mind, and learn totally new ways of seeing the world. Don't sweat your grade too much. The sheer amount of useful stuff you'll learn will more than make up for any bad grades, and in the end your GPA will probably experience a net benefit because this class will train you to do better in your other classes, even ones that don't have anything to do with writing. Don't be late, Glenn really hates that. Also, laugh at his jokes, even the ones that aren't funny, because if he makes a joke and no one laughs, he'll ask you why you're not laughing. Thankfully, most of his jokes actually are funny.

Jun 2012

Ask most anyone at Columbia, they'll tell you that the best professors are the ones who care about what they do and are happily willing to match the effort that the students put in to the class. By these standards, Glenn is the best professor you could ever ask for. For every hour of work a student puts into his class, Glenn will probably put in three. He is always accessible, whether that entails e-mails or meeting in his office. What's more, Glenn is very adept at developing strong writers. He always seems to know the best and most tangible ways to turn a B essay into something brilliant. He understands his students well, and is easily-relatable. The class is an absolute pleasure, especially if you decide to make it one. Write about things you care about, put in work outside the class, and be sure to turn in something your proud of. I can promise that Glenn will make it well worth your effort.

Jun 2012

Glenn Gordon is a combination of everything you would want in a teacher. He is hardworking, dedicated, focused, and personable. In all our meetings in and out of class he astounded me with the care and effort he gave to each of his students. It was clearly important to him that each of us learned and improved our writing skills. Glenn managed to be an extremely helpful and focused instructor while still remaining fun and approachable. Glenn facilitates an environment that allows students to learn not only from him but themselves and their peers. After many meetings and classes with Glenn it was clear how much everyone had grown. I remember hearing all of the theses from everyone at the table at the second to last UWriting class and marveling at the progress we had made. One of my peers who started off the year a little shaky because of the language barrier articulated a point extremely well and made me proud of him. I can honestly say, I haven't experienced such growth in a while. Glenn is one of the best instructors that I've ever had.

Sep 2011

Let me start this entry off by saying that I am a CULPA free rider….I am the last person you would ever expect to spend the time and effort to submit an entry to CULPA. That being said, the entry submitted by the previous member of the Westboro baptist church last October was disgusting and pushed me to write something. As you can see from the majority of the entries (minus the one from our oh so progressive friend Adolf), caring is a word everyone used to describe Glenn. I certainly am not the best writer and I was looking forward to UW about as much as I look forward to dental surgery, but I was very lucky to have Glenn as my teacher. Glenn goes above and beyond to make sure his students get something out of the course. He conferences with students throughout the draft process, challenges students to think critically about their writing, and genuinely inspires his students to submit their best work. Glenn cares so much about your success in this course that it motivates you to care about the class and improving your writing. Glenn is also a very fair grader. Now lets talk about the curriculum…Yeah, there were a few readings about gender. But what Adolf Eichmann failed to mention is that all of the readings are social commentary dealing with the taboo topics: race, gender, religion, class, etc. Maybe our progressive friend would have rather written about high school topics that are less controversial or intellectually stimulating. Glenn discusses all the topics respectfully and with an open mind. He doesn’t force his views on the students and moderates some pretty lively class discussions. Authors discussed included Judith Lorber, award-winning Judith Butler, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Bell Hooks. Bottom line: UW is a rough class, but Glenn makes it bearable and beneficial.

Nov 2010

Glenn's class was hands down the best I've taken so far in college. Every assignment was exciting and occupied my thoughts long after class was let out. He is a great discussion leader and manages to keep things light while orchestrating really substantive classroom conversations. If you want to learn how to write and think analytically, take his class - he's awesome. And funny. And his in between essay assignments are genius you begin to pick ideas apart in a really effective way without even realizing it.

Oct 2010

This has been one of the WORST classes I've ever had to take in my life! I have not learned a single thing about writing in this class, and the material he makes us read makes you want to rip your hair out. The readings are all about gender / gay issues, which means all of your papers are also about gender / gay issues. So unless you really want to read and write about people with an identity crisis, DO NOT TAKE HIS CLASS.

May 2010

Glenn is a professor who takes teaching seriously and his students seriously, in the best possible way. Though I am reiterating parts of earlier reviews of him, it is important to stress: he cares a lot about his students, in a non-bs way. Take advantage of his class to learn as much about writing as possible- he has had a successful career as a writer himself. His class had an impact on my writing ability in a way I could not have imagined after hearing such negative overall reviews of UW as a class. Be grateful if you have him as a professor.

Dec 2009

If you draw Glenn for UW, consider yourself lucky. He's a sweet man who's always smiling and he can help you become a better writer as well. He's really available for conferences and if you arrange it he'll meet with you outside of office hours if you have a problem. He tries to be in-depth with feedback, and I always felt like there was plenty of time to get things done and plenty of support as I went through the process. The readings he chose weren't everyone's cup of tea but I personally felt challenged He always makes you feel welcome and he loves having you around. Even if you're not an English person, you'll enjoy his class.

May 2009

Glenn is really happy, like all the time. the workload can be a lot, but that is the nature of the class. He is really good about helping out with essays, so meet with him as often as possible. He is a lot better than other UW teachers. H brought snacks in for us every once in a while. He just really cared.

Feb 2009

Glenn Gordon One of the best professors I have had at columbia. He really cares about his students, loves his work, and really engages the class during discussions. I had only heard terrible things about U writing, and while the workload still sucks, he is an amazing teacher