February 10, 2012

Pedatella, Stefan Silver_nugget
[FYSB BC1156/69] First Year Seminar: Legacy of the Mediterranean I

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

Stefan's a mixed bag kind of professor to say the least, but I WILL say that he's a very good introduction to dealing with all different kinds of professors at Barnard/CU for that very reason, and I think that's pretty valuable. The conflicting reviews are kind of all right because they all touch upon something that's true about him. He is a decent person and doesn't make you feel like a total idiot in class (perfect for first year English jitters) but he is very adamant about his own ideas. Sometimes, he's really, really right. Other times, he's just really, really stubborn. But you sort of learn how to navigate between the two sides of him, and the real learning comes from whether you bow completely to his will and write what he wants to hear (which is a decent skill alone because there ARE professors who don't want you to challenge them and sometimes to get the grade you want, that's what ya gotta do) or whether you learn how to be diplomatic and pursue parts of your own analytical agenda while still pleasing him and getting the grade you want. And that IS possible. I think that's why a lot of people find him so frustrating--because if you don't figure out the latter, the former feels like you're not getting anything out of what's supposed to be an introduction to challenging higher learning. Go into the class with an open mind, but be prepared to stand your ground if you disagree with him. It'll make you a better student at the very least because you'll get really good at picking out textual evidence to prove your point.

Workload:

Don't remember precisely, there were a few papers, a decent amount of reading and the regulation class participation. Office hours were amusing to say the least. Everyone else on here gave pretty accurate descriptions anyway.