Variable Topics Research Seminars for Majors: Political Theory
I've had three classes, Int Rel of China, Age of Reform, and his Senior Seminar on reform issues, with this professor and have not found the ratings above or several of the reviews below to be accurate. He is extremely knowledgeable about China and Chinese politics. If you have any interest in China his lectures are very easy to follow, it is more like listening to a storyteller than to a lecturer. He is very open in office hours if you want to talk with him, he is very friendly. As for papers, he does assign longish papers, depending on the class, but I've never had him assign them in three days. I've always had a week or more, and never been pressed to write the paper. He isn't an easy professor, he makes you work for your grade, but not to the point of being unfair or to harsh. If you are willing to do the work you should be doing in his class, there is no reason you can't get a A- or B+ at least. I've gotten at least an A- in all his classes and my average grade is a B+. He is one of the best professors I've had in three years at UCLA, but he won't let you be lazy, doesn't hand out As. You have to actually learn. Novel Concept isn't it.
I took IDS 191 with him, an upper division course on Migration and Development in Mexico. I thought I'd hate the course (lots of papers with stats and regressions), but I ended really liking it and appreciating why the readings were kinda technical and dry, but more systematic than anecdotes. It wasn't easy to get used to that way of looking at things, but I must say it changed how I view lots of things (migration, Mexico, the US, development, and evidence).
While I know for a fact that some of my classmates didn't like Professor Commins, I really enjoyed his class. I took IDS 100B with him over the summer, and it was by far one of the best classes I've taken at UCLA. He is an incredibly smart and charismatic person... his lectures were really interesting! On top of that he has all this experience (he worked at the World Bank for a long time) and is able to tie in personal anecdotes into a lot of the material that he's teaching. At times he can be a "hardass" but he taught one of those classes that you actually want to work hard for.
Professor Desveaux may ramble on occasion (well maybe more than on occasion) but he is bar none one of the best and most caring professors at UCLA. He's the kind of guy you can get trapped in the hallway with in the UCDC center and spend an engaging half hour talking about random, interesting topics. The CAPPP program in and of itself was one of the best experiences of my college career and one that I will remember for sometime. For anyone considering the program, do it! But like many people have said narrow your topic ahead of time, advice I failed to heed until after turning in the rough draft. This meant a very stressful last week attempting to write a bulk of my 25 page research paper while the few who did chip away at it ahead of time got to enjoy the city of Washington DC. Like other people have said, the seminar is more or less a waste of time and one that many people attended hungover. However, the one on one time spent with Professor Desveaux and the TA were very helpful in bettering your paper. It helps that Desveaux shared an interest in my topic so he gave me a lot of insight towards where my paper should head. All in all it was a great experience and Professor Desveaux is definitely one of my favorite professors at UCLA.
Most caring prof I've ever had. You MUST take a class with her before you graduate UCLA. I took her online PS 115D class and PS 191 seminar with her. So glad I did, I learned more in those classes than anything else I took here. Get to know her. She seems distant and unusual at first, but she's actually very caring and surprisingly relatable. And incredibly brilliant.
Professor Orren's class was very disorganized and not a very pleasant experience. She made students sometimes stay over the allowed time. It was mostly rambling and very boring discussion. The good thing about it was the amount of work involved. It was not very intense but it was extremely boring. Since my class was a seminar and very small it also depended on the students who were also boring and devoid of any intelligent and entertaining argument. So I qualify the class as boring maybe Orren would have been more entertaining and appealing in a different setting.