Review Comment

[URBS 3440] Shrinking Cities

December 28, 2019

Rocco, Mary
[URBS 3440] Shrinking Cities

I personally loved Mary Rocco. She really knows her stuff, the content was super interesting, and her grading was really reasonable. The final project was a short film which I was into, but I know not everyone wants to do that so be aware before taking the class.

One criticism is that she can be pretty blunt when leading discussions in class. If she asks a question about a concept she's introducing and you give a wrong answer, she won't hesitate to point it out right away and potentially make you feel kinda stupid. She's not a jerk, though—she doesn't expect us to know those answers and it comes from a place of teaching, not superiority. She makes a real effort to explain the concepts and go over confusing points.

For the Shrinking Cities class the final was a short film project, which was a bit messy but ultimately cool. She sorted the class into random groups of four and assigned us shrinking American cities to make a short documentary about. It was a lot of work and didn't all fit into the expectations of a social science/humanities class but I personally enjoyed it a lot and liked it more than a final paper/exam.

Overall, definitely take Mary Rocco if you're interested in urban studies. She's a real expert in the field and is a kind, genuine person who cares a lot about her students. One of my favorite professors in college!

Workload:

Daily readings for class
Pop quizzes on readings (not terribly hard, part of participation grade)
5 reading responses that have to be completed by the end of the semester, but you decide when to do them
Midterm of term identifications, pretty easy if you pay attention in class
Various in-class group work
Short film project

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