Review Comment

[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

November 18, 2020

Ula, Duygu Silver_nugget
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

I can't praise this class or Professor Ula enough. I wasn't sure if I would like taking a class less rooted in the classics than some of the other FYW classes, but I ended up loving it. Part of that was due to the texts - we read some short poems and prose pieces, then Virginia Woolf's Orlando, and finally James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, which was incredible. We also read an essay each from Judith Butler and Edward Said. But it was mostly due to Professor Ula. She expertly facilitated class discussion so that it was always fruitful and never fell flat. She lectured very little, instead asking us questions, giving us brief historical context, and explaining parts of the essays and books that we were unsure about. Without her and the class discussion, I would've been completely overwhelmed by the essays especially, but I came out of the class with a strong grasp on two seminal critical theories.

Professor Ula was also extremely helpful in giving feedback, particularly in office hours. She kept a good balance between encouraging and pointing out areas of improvement, and gave specific, constructive advice. One meeting, all I had was a tangled collection of ideas for my essay and she helped me formulate it into a concrete essay plan.

Aside from academics, she's also just a really nice person. One class, she noticed that I had been quiet and down, and afterwards pulled me aside to ask me if I was alright. It might sound small, but it shows that she really cares about her students. I don't think I've had as kind a professor before or since.

Workload:

A close reading essay, a theory essay, and a research essay, the first two of which you revise after receiving Professor Ula's feedback. Relatively light readings, although Orlando readings were sometimes a little longer. Around 6 short response papers / exercises plus drafts and peer reviews.

June 05, 2020

Schor-Haim, Wendy Silver_nugget
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

Prof. Schor-Haim is an AMAZING professor and definitely deserves her silver nugget on here! She's very warm to her students and is always willing to give you an extension or meet with you outside of class if you just ask her. She's also head of first year writing, which definitely showed in how well she ran this class. Prof. Schor-Haim has a special way of introducing her students to academia in a way that's accessible and welcoming. She introduced us to a variety of different ways to write, gave us documents with tips and guidance to help us as we write our papers, and she supported us the whole way through the process with in-class peer workshops and allowing two drafts of each paper. She gave us elaborate feedback and clearly stated her suggestions so that I always knew what I should change in the next draft. She's very easy to contact if you do have any questions, though: she answers her emails usually within a few hours (sometimes within the hour!).

If you're lucky to get a good registration time, be sure to take your FYS/FYW with her! She's a truly wonderful woman who will make your whole semester more enjoyable. She's an amazing introduction to Barnard. I was always excited to attend Prof. Schor-Haim's class. She's the best!

Workload:

Discussion posts before every class (~1 page/each)
30-50 pages of reading/week
3 essays
1 group work written assignment

April 29, 2020

Ula, Duygu Silver_nugget
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

Loved this class, loved Professor Ula. She's a really great teacher - she was always really approachable and took the time to help my writing improve and also to encourage me to take risks that paid off really well. She ran classes well too, even online. Definitely the best online professor I had. The books are all great books, especially Giovanni's Room, but Orlando is also a fun and wacky read. Can't recommend her enough as a FYW prof.

Workload:

Three essays, all of which you get to draft before submitting, and some writing exercises.

April 23, 2020

Usher, Penelope
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

Professor Usher is an absolute joy! I was extremely nervous for first year wiring as I am a mainly STEM student and writing is not my strong suit. However, Professor Usher is extremely nice and welcoming from day 1 of classes. She is a Barnard alum and is extremely passionate about her work and helping students.

Professor Usher is the first writing teacher I have had that has actually taught me how to write rather than expecting that I know what to do off the bat. She really makes sure to teach EVERYTHING that one needs to know in order to succeed in her class. If you don't really consider yourself to be a strong writer I strongly suggest you take her class. You can tell that she tries really hard to help her students in every way possible. When classes got moved to online (Spring 2020) the effort she put into making online classes as smooth and easy for students as possible was the most I saw out of any teacher.

Participation is a big part of the class (as it is in many first year writing courses) and Professor Usher picks really interesting texts that make it easy to engage during discussions. She tries to push everyone out of their comfort zones and encourages everyone to speak at least once each class. She is welcoming to all ideas and is always willing to help when writing essays. She has office hours twice a week and is also very flexible with setting up meetings outside of her office hours if need be.

Two weeks before the essay is due a rough draft is due. She then has an individual meeting with each student outside of class to go over her comments on the drafts. Student can then use her comments to rework or fix parts of their essays based on her comments, and the final draft is due the following week. As long as you follow her comments on your rough drafts, and fix what you talked about in your meeting, you should get a good grade on the final draft.

She is by far the best english/writing teacher that I have ever had. TAKE HER CLASS IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. Literally the sweetest woman ever.

Grade Breakdown:

Essay 1-15%
Essay 2-25%
Prospectus (Essentially your proposal for your research essay)-10%
Essay 3 (Research Essay) 25%
Participation- 15%

Workload:

Approx. 15-20 pages of reading for each class, two essays (4-6 pages), and a final research paper (6-8 pages).
Very manageable workload.

April 23, 2020

Usher, Penelope
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

Prof. Usher is amazing! I did not know anything about her before taking this class and I am so glad I ended up in her section. She is extremely kind and intelligent, it is clear she cares about each and every one of her students as people. She chose texts that were diverse, engaging, and completely reasonable length. She does a good job of making the class discussion based and focusing on themes in the text in ways that foster good discussion and prove very helpful when you're writing your essays. She gives clear, targeted feedback on essays - when you meet with her to discuss, she really takes the time to walk through it and help you brainstorm and advance your ideas. There's also a lot of choice generally in writing assignments in choosing prompts/texts (though there obviously are baseline requirements). She's got a super bubbly personality and always checks in with her students, and talking to her in office hours outside of just meetings about essays was also super helpful. I highly recommend this class for First Year Writing.

Workload:

Readings (very chill, at most they're like 20-30 pages - stories and literary criticisms/analyses. You need to read them well since they are the focus of class discussions and essays)
2 essays (happen pretty soon after one another, make up the bulk of the work that happens outside the class)
Final Paper (spend a few weeks on it, longer than the 2 essays)

Essays are obviously quite a bit of work, as any essay is, but I think the class had a very reasonable workload!

December 26, 2018

Lynn, Andrew Silver_nugget
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

Andrew Lynn is an amazing professor! He is always happy to help you and always provides a lot of helpful feedback on papers. He is very approachable and friendly. He will make time to meet with you if you can't make it during office hours, and genuinely wants to help you succeed and become a better writer. Class participation is not graded which takes the pressure off, but it does help you when writing the papers. Overall I highly recommend taking First-Year Writing with Professor Lynn, he makes it as enjoyable of a class as it can be.

Workload:

About 20-30 pages of reading for each class
Short, ungraded assignments
Two 4-5 page papers
One 7-9 page research paper

December 14, 2018

Breyer, Benjamin Silver_nugget
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

Professor Breyer is a really good professor, in my opinion. He incorporates a lot of different perspectives into what is normally a very Eurocentric class/syllabus. The readings can sometimes be dense (especially since most of it is poetry), but he is really good at leading discussions and is also very supportive of people's opinions.
My main critique of him is that he takes literally forever to grade things. He sends people's grades out as he does them, so your classmates might have something back in two weeks and you get it back a month later. He also can be kind of unclear about when readings and assignments are due. But, I would honestly say that I am glad I was in his class.

Workload:

readings for most classes, occasional one page responses (that only count as participation), 2 essays, one research paper/research paper proposal depending on the section you are in

November 06, 2018

Breyer, Benjamin Silver_nugget
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

Breyer is a pretty ideal FYW professor. He is extremely patient, thoughtful, and supportive of each and every one of his students. He knows how to keep a class discussion both focused and interesting, and is very good at validating people's ideas and connecting them to other concepts. He is also good at throwing in a smattering of funny personal stories, awkward jokes, and the like. He really, REALLY cares about helping his students improve their writing, and this is evidenced by the detailed notes you will receive on your drafts and the time he takes at one-on-one meetings to explain his thoughts. Although he is a little awkward, he totally rocks it and he knows that. He also does fun things like brings in snacks for people's birthdays. Overall a really good intro into college writing. This class shows that it doesn't matter what the material is (Legacy is certainly not the most interesting FYW offered at Barnard), but the professor makes all the difference.

Workload:

Reading: Pretty standard, no more than 1-2 hours per night.

2 standard 4-6 pg essays, 1 longer research paper (given a lot of support in writing), a few reflections, and several response papers

June 12, 2018

Lynn, Andrew Silver_nugget
[ENGL-BC1211] First-Year Writing: Legacy of the Mediterranean

Professor Lynn is so thoughtful, intelligent, and kind. He genuinely cares about his students and their success. I went to his office hours every time I needed help with my essay and he discussed it with me for nearly an hour and a half each time! An hour and a half! I don't know any other professor who would do that. He is never in a rush to get you out of the door and wants you to leave his office feeling more confident and prepared than when you came in. Also, he leaves INCREDIBLY thorough and extensive notes on your drafts— it's unreal. He puts so much thought into his feedback and analyzes every single paragraph of your essay. He is a very fair grader— definitely not easy, but not overly harsh.

Also, he brought us all snacks on the last day of class. Such a sweet man.

Workload:

3 essays— no in-class graded assignments!

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