Edward Tyerman

Jan 2015

I took Tyerman's FYE Madness class. It was amazing. He is amazing. He's part of the Slavic Department and from what I understood his PhD work is on the relationship between China and Russia. Talk about madness. While I'm not sure he'll teach this seminar again, I can still talk to his teaching ability. Professor Tyerman cares about his student and the subject he's teaching. He gave a huge variety of texts to read- from Shakespeare to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to Chinese and Russian short stories. In addition, we watched films such as Solaris and Vertigo. Class discussions consisted of Professor Tyerman asking a broad question and allowing students to answer and articulate ideas. If a student had difficulty speaking, Professor Tyerman would reiterate back to the student and the class what the student had tried to say and ask if that was correct. He never stepped on a student's ideas or opinions, only asking more questions so students could better formulate what they were thinking. The only issue I found is that sometimes Professor Tyerman can be too nice, but perhaps this is because I had an extremely mean English teacher in high school. I once had made a comment in class and Professor Tyerman didn't agree and said so. I did not feel that it was mean, embarrassing or anything negative- he just didn't agree. He ended up writing me an email to say that he didn't mean to not listen to my ideas. He wants students to feel comfortable expressing themselves and definitely came across! Essays were graded twice -first a rough draft. I thought he was always completely fair in his comments and grades. He would tell you what needs to be more clarified or supported, or perhaps your argument just didn't make sense. As long as you followed his comments and suggestions, you would get a higher grade. Office hours were not only helpful, but fun. Professor Tyerman is genuinely interested in what you have to say and in what you think. I went several times to his OH asking questions about class discussions, potential essay topics, and first drafts. He answered my questions directly, but also posed questions about my ideas and thoughts, forcing me to actually, really think about what I wanted to say and not what I thought he wanted me to say. In addition, since I had attended so many OH, I asked Professor Tyerman to be a reference for an internship I was applying for. He happily agreed and after I got the job, he asked me about my work and how things we going there. He really, truly cares. I have no interest whatsoever in Slavic Studies, but I will without a doubt take another class with Professor Tyerman even if the subject does not interest me, because I know Professor Tyerman will engage me in class and I will end up caring since he does.

Nov 2014

This is one of the best classes I have taken at Columbia. The texts Professor Tyerman chose to cover were perfect. Each is, of course, a classic and so alone is powerful to read and discuss, on top of this the class traced themes through each novel, linking them all together and exploring a powerful literary movement and a culture in turmoil. The class is taught in a directed discussion format, which worked really well. Most students participated, but it was up to each student as an individual to decide how much they contributed. The professor came to class exceedingly prepared with notes and so the discussion went in very interesting directions. It would have been nice to have more time to explore some of the longer texts - just because we didn't always have time to get to the more subtle points of discussion - but I suppose that's unavoidable. There was a weekly discussion posting in response to a posted question. The question was always open ended and very interesting. The professor or the TA respond to each post. Also the TA, Ben Lussier, was great. Outside of class Professor Tyerman is very accessible and willing to further discuss the texts. He obviously cared a lot for the class and it showed. I would definitely recommend taking this class and any other class that Professor Tyerman teaches.