Race, Inequality, and Public Policy
Fall 2018 - In hindsight, I really enjoyed this class. In the moment, not so much. Professor Allen is a really nice guy, and his classes were usually informative and driven by great content (although beware if you don't like being picked on to answer, as Allen has no qualms picking students at random). There are a lot of books for the class - 7 or 8 if I recall correctly - but I found them to be interesting and essential reads. The group project is what you (or your group members) make of it - there's very little structure to it - but it was a nice touch having a peer evaluation at the end to be able to convey exactly what each group member was responsible for; helpful if you're one of those types who pick up the slack for the others. However, the real stress inducer with this class was surrounding expectations of papers. Allen can be a little bit disorganized, which meant the syllabus and deadlines changing fairly frequently. He is also vague on what he expects to see, and then marks the first of three papers fairly harshly. The other two papers are marked by the TA who was more generous in her approach and so many grades skyrocketed from there, however when the first paper wasn't up to scratch for many, it did seem to have a disheartening effect on a lot of students. I'm sure Allen does this deliberately to try and push us, but in the moment it didn't quite come across. Ultimately, I think Professor Allen's class helped make me a better student, but it was a little bit of a painful process getting there.