professor
Stephanie O'Rourke

Mar 2015

I had O'Rourke for art hum last summer. Despite the short time-frame, she managed to make it an intellectually engaging and relatively painless experience. If you get her, do not switch out! She's obviously sort of brilliant but also engaging and actually quite funny. I went into the class with some serious skepticism and found to my surprise that it was so much more interesting and complicated than I would have guessed. By the end, I was definitely that annoying guy who puts his hand up to answer every question. If you have to sit through three straight hours of art hum, you would be hard-pressed to find a better instructor to do it with. She knows a ton, but still wants to hear what you think about things. The readings were a nice mix of contemporary and historical sources. I especially appreciated the emphasis on visual analysis and critical thinking over rote memorization. It was the best core class I've taken yet, and probably one of the best I've ever taken at Columbia. In sum: great instructor, fair grading, enjoyable experience.

Dec 2011

This class is how art hum should be. Chill, non-intrusive, and yet thought-provoking and informative. O'Rourke runs class in an organized manner, and rarely straight-up lectures. Instead, her class is very much discussion based. She never shuts down ideas, and is careful to add context without asserting her own opinions too strongly. The result: twice a week, you sit in class, stare at art, and talk about it with a resident expert. She requires very little memorization on tests, as her aim for the class was to develop formal analytical skills. The papers she assigned were actually fun to write, each requiring you to explore the art scene of the city in some way on your own terms. So if you find yourself signed up for this section, do not fear, for you have found a good one. Easy in a good way, and one that I think I'll miss.

Dec 2011

Stephanie was a fantastic Art Hum instructor. She was passionate about the material and could clearly articulate important points about each work of art/artist or movement in a succinct, understandable way. Yet she never let her insight into the material hamper class discussion; she was arguably more interested in hearing what the class had to say than lecture for the entire class period (which is probably why class participation counts for a whopping 25% of your grade). Class was hardly ever boring, either--she has a skill for stimulating discussion and making you genuinely interested in whatever material we're studying. In sum, she's extremely approachable, at times cheeky, and overall a reasonable and great instructor. Consider yourself lucky if you have her!