September 29, 2015

Naeem, Shahid Silver_nugget
Environmental Bio

He is a very engaging lecturer, but the way he teaches this class is terrible.

The lectures have very, very little to do with the chapters we are reading. If he does go over something it is fast and at the most cursory level. There is massive amounts of reading and he gives you review sheets that supposedly cover the breadth of the test.

You honestly might not even do all the work because the majority of the test is on his philosophical musings on the nature of the universe. Taking notes in his class is a nightmare. For instance, he will mention fermions in passing once, with no emphasis. The textbook does not even reference them once. You will have a detailed question on the exam about fermions that has nothing to do with what he actually taught or what you might be able to read in the book. All of the vocabulary, all of the work of studying processes and the items he puts on the review sheets (ie. actual biology) are not really on the test. (Honestly maybe at best 20%).

If I had to do this over again, I would have dropped this class before the shopping period was up. I was thinking about going into Environmental Biology, but I don't want to take any more classes with this professor (who I believe also teaches the companion class.)

Unless you are 100% absolutely going into the major, don't consider it.

Workload:

Tons of reading, but no "homework." You are expected to come into the class with a real mastery of biology and chemistry despite what the course description says. If you do not come with this kind of pre-requisite knowledge (I was somewhere a little below mastery) and it will be a struggle.

May 27, 2008

Bower, Peter
Environmental Bio

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I highly recommend Professor Bower's Environmental Law class. While I can't speak for his other classes, judging from my experience here it looks like he would be a good professor to have in ANY class. He is no nonsense kind of guy. Many girls would ask ridiculous questions and he would respond with the answers phrased in such a way that was so simple it really made everyone realize just how idiotic some of their classmates are- This is done without outwardly showing his feelings of contempt. The class does move a little slowly, but we cover complicated intricate case law, so it makes sense to carry out the class the way he does. Professor Bower is not a hippie, but a rational man with respect for the environment. There is no other class I know of in which you will learn so much about how the U.S. legal system interacts with the environment.

Workload:

Moderate..definitely nothing a Columbia Student couldn't handle.

January 11, 2006

Pollack, Robert
Environmental Bio

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Whoa. I don't know where all these positive reviews are coming from. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS if you can at all avoid it! Pollack's lectures are utterly unitelligible and his tests are even worse (I couldn't even understand what he was asking on some of the short answer questions). The only way I got by was remembering some things from my high school bio class. Taking good notes will not help, because 75% of the stuff that comes of Pollack's mouth is convoluted gibberish, and the textbook is so detailed it's hard to pick out the important stuff. This class made me not want to concentrate in EEEB. If you are interested in majoring or concentrating in the department, the only advice I have is to take this class P/F. Good luck!

December 17, 2004

Pollack, Robert
Environmental Bio

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Pollack takes some getting used to, but he's a thorough and thoughtful instructor. Expect to do poorly on the first exam: since there's no feedback (no homework assignments), it's very hard to discern what you're supposed to retain from the lecture and readings. Nonetheless, if you attend the lectures/recitation and do all the reading, you will learn a tremendous amount in this class.

Workload:

Strange--there's no work or assignments per se--it's all about the 2 midterms and the final.

November 18, 2002

Pollack, Robert
Environmental Bio

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Very knowledgable, very intelligent, very boring. Take notes, but don't worry. If you miss them the first time, he will repeat himself endlessly. Don't bother with a tape recorder.

Workload:

Three exams, including final.

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