Stefanie Dwyer (formerly Pleschinger)

Dec 2013

I read her syllabus before the first day and immediately made the assumption that she was going to be a difficult and unreasonable professor. I couldn't have been any more wrong. Professor Dwyer is easily one of the best (if not the best) professor I have had, and I would even say one of the best instructors I've ever had.... Ever. She had a way of making the semester fly by, and she managed to get to the deeper meaning of every text that we read (which is remarkable, considering the CC syllabus is overwhelmingly large). Her midterms and final were actually very simple, provided that you just do the basic reading and pay attention in class. Professor Dwyer is also very understanding. She won't hold it against you if you miss class (like many Core professors) provided that you give her a heads up. She's very fluid with extensions and often will grant them to individual students without their asking. I found this to be very kind, and it showed that she was invested in her students and wanted the best from them. Her teaching style is very laid-back, and she tries to connect the readings to the applicability in the modern day and current events. She requires 6 reading responses on CourseWorks which she then discusses in class (so if there is a big connection you can make, she will definitely move to it during discussion). Towards the end of the class, she allowed students to submit a seventh response for extra credit, although I'm not sure why you would need extra credit in her class. Overall, I found her to be a caring, approachable professor who actually wants to be in the classroom and really invests in the achievements of her students.

Sep 2013

Stefanie Pleschinger Dwyer is by far one of the best instructors I have had here at Columbia. As a CC discussion leader, she really cares for and values the learning of all her students; she understands that everyone has a perspective and relevant thoughts to share. She is extremely approachable and willing to work with students, so feel free to email her or approach her after class to either chat or set up a meeting for office hours. This professor is genuinely passionate about the material and her instruction goes above and beyond; there wasn't a single text that I felt wasn't thoroughly covered [given the amount of time allotted for it.] Stefanie is also a very fair grader; be sure to format papers in an understandable way, as this is still a philosophy/social science course. So, the standard method of writing with a thesis, supporting points, and a conclusion will likely be best for most students. Each student selects one text/session to 'present' for; although this is a small portion of the grade, it is a big opportunity to select something that interests you and to show the class how you can contribute. Those students who struggle with public speaking—fear not; this isn't that type of presentation. You basically act as more of a guide for the introduction and the discussion, and Stefanie will definitely cover things too, while working with you to synergize. A certain number of daily posts are required before each session, and it amounts to something like half of the sessions. These are mainly just to get your thoughts and perspectives while interacting with your classmates; and, it is a good opportunity to show participation if you are a bit more shy in class. Stefanie won the preceptor award last year for a reason; she makes CC very interesting, she is a very fair and approachable instructor, and her students learn well because of it.