Review Comment

[CSER W3445] City, Environment, Vulnerability

May 24, 2015

Fennell, Cassie Silver_nugget
[ANTH V1002] The Interpretation Of Culture, [CSER W3445] City, Environment, Vulnerability, and [CSER W3919] Modes of Inquiry

I've taken three classes with Cassie (1 lecture and 2 seminars) and she is definitely on my top 3 list of favorite professors at Columbia. She is extremely dedicated, understanding, challenging, and accessible. One of the things that I really appreciate about Cassie is that she always urges us and pushes us to articulate our ideas and thoughts with more simplicity and clarity (while at the same time pushing us to make our preliminary thoughts more complete), as opposed to enshrouding them in academic jargon. She considers this a really important skill to have considering that many of us want to climb down the ivy tower that Columbia students often get stuck in, for the sake of helping people. Cassie is also a very positive and encouraging professor and always makes it a point to mark your abilities and groundbreaking thoughts when they present itself. She always takes a minute after class to tell you about how well you did on the individual presentation, which is really sweet. She is not traditional in her teaching style, often allowing students to explore different venues of expression in the final project for her seminars, whether it is an essay, video, podcast, etc. Also, Cassie is not the type of professor to force you to participate all the time or call on you. I always felt comfortable as someone who tends to listen more in class than speak, which is not always the case for some of my other classes.

Her presence as a white professor in the ethnicity & race studies department can be somewhat questionable for a department that is primarily intended to comprise faculty of color for students of color, but her openness has put me (and hopefully others with the same concern) at ease. She is not pretentious or self-righteous in the least and is always open to discussing ideas that might challenge which she has to say.


Very reasonable for all of her classes. She is very open to extensions if necessary. Do not let her classes be a sources of stress for you, she does not want that. A very fair and holistic grader.

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