Revolutionary America, 1760 to 1800
I feel compelled to write something about Professor Yirush because of my very negative experience with him. I think it is safe to say that working with him was the worst part of my UCLA experience. That is almost a compliment, because I really have nothing to complain about UCLA. Professor Yirush is condescending, disorganized, petty and extremely unprofessional. He likes to humiliate athletes and students in general who he suspects haven't read. Obviously, everyone should read, but berating students doesn't really achieve anything except to create a hostile learning environment. Other reviewers have noted that he is a helpful writing mentor; that is true--but only when he feels inclined to be helpful. He wastes a lot of time freaking out about tiny details like page numbers. I worked with him closely and I have to say this was a complete nightmare. He shared personal and confidential information about me with my entire class when I wasn't there. I obviously am not going to talk about what it was specifically-- but it was on par with sharing my medical history with the class and gossiping and speculating about it with them. I found out about this because one of my classmates approached me and asked me how I was regarding the matter a little later. I told Professor Yirush about this information because I had to miss class one day because of it and I wanted an excused absence. I thought it went without saying that I wouldn't have to tell him, "by the way, would you mind not gossiping about this with the class?" Apparently not. On another occasion I submitted a paper I wrote for his class I wanted to submit it for the library prize. I gave him more than a week's notice, and he said he would do it. He emailed me days after the prize was due to inform me he didn't turn it in because he didn't have time. The form would have taken 10 minutes TOPS. He didn't apologize, in fact he tried to put the blame on me because the paper wasn't completed yet. The library prize actually did not require a completed paper-- it just had to be a draft. Did he care that the prize had a monetary prize? No. Did he care that it's actually his job to write recommendations? No. He just viewed me as being so far below him that he thought it wouldn't matter because he's SUCH a distinguished scholar. As riveting as his book I'm sure is- keep in mind, the tuition students pay is what goes into professors paychecks--not the sales from the 20 people who will read your book. That at least earned me some notice that he wasn't going to turn in the form and that I should make other accommodations. He was always late getting back to me and gave me no heads up. I ended up having to work on a paper throughout the entirety of spring break because he failed to get back to me before then. Did it matter I had already booked plans to leave town weeks ago? I dreaded writing every email I had to send him. His responses were always really mean and he had no tact whatsoever. Sometimes he even forgot what he emailed me the day before and he would get mad at me for asking him to do something he told me he'd do the day before! I'm not saying that he is like this for every student he works with. But this is what he was like with me-- and it's possible for other students who plan on taking one of his classes and want to make an effort to work with him personally. He made up his mind after a certain point that he didn't like me and then made it as apparent as humanly possible that I was the very last of his "many" priorities. (I have yet to find out with what he was actually so busy--I've worked with many other professors in the history department who have much greater demands and were at least respectful toward me.) In any case, treating just one student the way he treated me is completely unacceptable. I came to conclude after a while that he was taking out frustration about other matters in his life on me because I really did nothing to provoke him. This whole experience was just a shame because I am actually a really engaged student who is enthusiastic about history and learning. At the end of the day, many of his suggestions were helpful, but it was only after enduring long periods of complete unreliability and abusive emails before he actually told me what he thought of my paper.