Humberto Ballesteros

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Aug 2018

Humberto Ballesteros rocked my world. Incredible teacher not only for the mastery of his chosen field(s) but also because he is an exemplary human being who seeks authenticity and truth in academia, in art, and in everything he brings to class. This is a teacher that really brought out the best in me, made me read more than I ever thought I could in two nights, and who set the pace for my Columbia career. Thanks Humberto if you ever read this!

Dec 2017

Humberto is as about as good as it gets for lit hum, I'd imagine. The workload is very light and he is very lenient with grades. Just speak up during discussions, have a presence, and you will most certainly be fine. That's not to say that he lacks as a professor in any way whatsoever. Humberto is always enthusiastic, has great insight into the texts, and masterfully leads conversation. He is always considerate and puts a real effort into approaching the books from different perspectives, often providing his own translation for pieces of the English translation he feels lack in properly conveying the original text. You will come out of class each day with much more than you came in, especially if you put a true effort into participating.

Apr 2017

IF YOU ARE IN HUMBERTO'S CLASS, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Humberto is such a sweet, brilliant human being, and every class is extremely interesting. He thinks up inventive and fun in-class activities, and he's an extremely generous grader. Don't take advantage of him though, he really wants to make sure that you do well and get something out of his class! I really can't emphasize enough how amazing he is. Truly think he's the best LitHum teacher Columbia has. Will definitely miss him as a professor next year.

Jan 2017

Awesome LitHum Professor, also a loveable professor who probably has no flaws whatsoever. Gives 1 quiz for each book, except for those that are just pure poetry. During class discussion, does not require anyone to talk although this is at least 5-15% of your grade. Discussions are very insightful and he tries to find creative ways to make the texts interesting. Get use to "What's going on?"

May 2016

If you have Humberto for Lit-Hum, you just won the lottery. Humberto is absolutely brilliant. He is a master at instigating meaningful, provocative class discussion, and his insight into the texts is fantastic and life-changing. Generally, class begins with either a reading quiz (which everyone typically fails, but it doesn't really impact your grade) or a passage/scene from the reading. From there class rockets off into scintillating debates on passages Humberto selects for us to close-read. Humberto will oftentimes mix up class agendas; several times he asked each person to prepare a 5 minute speech in the spirit of the Symposium or other, which we would then share with the class. Class time was always spent valuably, and I enjoyed every minute (seriously, every minute) of it this year. As if that wasn't enough for you, Humberto is also a genuine, sweet, and lovely human being. One thing I particularly loved is how we would read the texts through a very human lens. It was okay to not understand something, or to voice a strong opinion about one of the characters, or to simply say you loved how a certain scene made you feel. Humberto makes the literature fun and personally engaging, and his kindness and genuine compassion for his students creates a classroom environment that feels like home. I honestly can't say enough wonderful things about Humberto. If you have him, you will have the best experience ever.

May 2016

Greatest professor of my first year. His masterful understanding of works we read was shocking. His passion for the subject was inspiring. He really cares about the students. He is accommodating and wants you to do your best. Recommend to any and all first years.

Sep 2014

I miss Humberto now that I am taking CC with somebody that is not Humberto. What I mean to say is that I didn't truly realize how good of a deal I had until I was faced with the reality of taking a class with a vaguely clinical, stilted professor. As others have said, Humberto is really one of the nicest, best people you could take Lit Hum with. That being said, you run the risk of missing out on some incredible insights if you can't maintain your own focus because the classroom he runs is not under draconian rule and you won't be forced to participate. If you don't pay attention, its not like your grade's going to die. Its more like the palpable disappointment will rip your heart right out of your chest.

May 2014

Humberto is easily the best professor I've had at Columbia thus far. And it's not even close. Right off the bat, he is the most humble, down-to-earth (to the point of hilarious self-depreciation sometimes), and genuine professor I've known. He has not illusions of grandeur––he sees himself as just another member of the class, one who incidentally gets to grade the papers and offer feedback. He loves these books, and he shows it. Every once in a while, towards the end of class, he'll just start waxing poetic about the meaning of life and how a particular book, passage, or idea helped him think about this. One of these speeches resulted in a full-blown standing ovation––he's that good. He's an easy grader, mostly because he doesn't care about the grades. And if you meet with him before handing in a paper, he will offer concrete advice on how to improve (read: get a better grade on) your paper. If you landed Humberto, consider yourself lucky. He's not just a great professor; he's just a damn good guy to be around and to learn from.

Apr 2014

Best professor I've had all year. His passion for the literature in the LitHum syllabus really contributes to the overall atmosphere in the class. The guy is brilliant- knows 5 or 6 languages--including Spanish, Italian, French, and German--which is helpful when discussing translated literature. I learned so much and looked forward to going to class. Overall, he's just a really nice guy. He is very open to new suggestions and ideas and expresses his honest opinion, sometimes providing good constructive criticism. He has given extensions for papers to the whole class and dropped quizzes on which we all did poorly. Great sense of humor as well. I would recommend him to anyone trying to switch p.s.- we discussed Game of Thrones for our last class of the year