Variable Topics Research Seminars for Majors: International Relations
Winter 2022 - Listen to me guys. I highly recommend you do not take this class despite the grade distribution having high scores. Just save your time/effort for another pol sci class because the amount of effort I put into this class was extremely unnecessary. This class only consisted of three papers, one individual and two group papers, 3 pages + works cited page. It sounds fairly easy, but Lohamnn is EXTREMELY nitpicky. She will mark you down for lack of pdf format, page overruns, and even if your paper title is even slightly different from her format. For the actual paper content, she will nitpick at it so much that you'd practically have to rewrite all of it. Don't be fooled either, once you recreate your draft and think it's up to her standards based on the feedback she gave, she'll just nitpick at the new draft you gave. It's a never-ending cycle, and by the time you turn in your final draft, you're left anxious whether you fulfilled all of her previous requirements and hope she doesn't find any shortcomings from the new draft. If you do decide to take this course, it is imperative that you listen to her feedback for each paper since it is an honest reflection of how you will be graded. If you don't, it will significantly bring down your paper's grade. As far as the seminar, it didn't tie into the class assignments whatsoever. No slides, no structure, nothing. She often goes on tangents that pertain to politics but not really the class. She would give us handouts here and there regarding pol sci topics but I don't see how it fits into the "International Relations" aspect of the class. In fact, nothing about this class pertained to IR. It felt more like a statistics class than anything. I didn't really learn anything, except for drafting paper after paper. For each paper, you will write at least two drafts. which she will give EXTENSIVE feedback on. You'll also meet with her to discuss your paper. She's a lot more criticizing and brutal in her emails than she is when meeting her. But, that doesn't mean it wasn't any less demoralizing. Oftentimes, people's papers would be called terrible, awful, lame, or even a disaster. Take that as you will; if you're not good with harsh criticism, don't take it. If you are, then you should have no problem. One thing I will say is that Lohmann is (for the most part) easily accessible. She prefers an in-person class setting, but will gladly set up a Zoom meeting for office hours or to go over any class assignments. She also responds to emails quite promptly. If she misses your email regarding an assignment, she will accommodate the situation by granting an extension. She doesn't record lectures (covid time), but based off of its irrelevancy, it won't harm you. Lohmann gives extra credit, but most of it's by chance. If there is any redemption in the amount of work you put into the class, the extra credit would be it. We used a gaming platform where we played a lot of logic/chance games. The people with the highest number of points will get a grade boost, I'm not too sure how the people with the least will get points. But this shows that your grade will have some hope if you totally tanked a paper. Other examples of extra credit opportunities are filling out surveys, peer-grading the first paper, and doing the course evaluations at the end of the quarter. It can significantly help your grade. I will say that despite her class, Lohmann as a person is a very sweet lady. She cares about her students and will take the time out to review your papers and discuss any current events. The only downfall was how unreasonably picky Lohmann is for grading papers. Even though the total workload isn't a lot, it takes a toll on your time since you are constantly having to figure out what small details would be penalized. It can help your writing and revising skills, but probably not much besides that. If you want an IR class, wait until the spring quarter since the same class is offered again with a different professor. For any reason that you do need to take this class, listen to my advice: 1. Start brainstorming your paper topics the moment she posts the prompts. It's better to consult her about your topic WAY before you start writing about it. 2. Make sure to complete every single game on the gaming platform. Set a reminder on your calendar to do them before the due date. 3. For the two group papers, choose your partner(s) wisely. Find someone who is willing to put just as much effort and time into their part as you. 4. Take every extra credit and consultation opportunity.