Professor

Debra Pires

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3.1
Overall Ratings
Based on 308 Users
Easiness 2.6 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Workload 2.5 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Clarity 3.2 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Helpfulness 3.2 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

Reviews (308)

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June 27, 2018
Quarter: Spring 2018
Grade: A-

Ahh, where to begin? I've been told that the redesign of the LS series that resulted in the abominations that are LS 7A, 7B, & 7C was spearheaded by none other than Professor Debra Pires herself. In High School biology was my favorite subject, and I could not have been more excited to take these classes in a college setting. Now, after having taken 7A with Roth Johnson and 7B with Pires, bio is the subject that I despise the most.

Allow me to explain how the class is structured and graded: The entire 7 series is based upon a very interesting concept called "Flipped Classroom". The theory behind it is that if the students do all their learning outside of the classroom, the professor can review difficult topics and help students with their weak points in class. This could work in a small classroom setting where the professor could have time to speak with each individual student, but it does not work at all in a 330 person lecture.

The lectures are an hour and fifteen minutes in LaKretz 110 (Even thinking about sitting in that room makes my blood pressure rise as I feel the anger of all my ancestors coursing through my veins) twice a week. Pires stands at the board and just goes through a set of around 15-40 clicker questions every day (oh yeah attendance is mandatory buddy, don't even think about skipping class). The clicker questions range from very easy and self explanatory to inexplicably confusing, and Deb often struggles to explain them and invariably fails to explain them well. Discussion is a two hour "lab" (its a computer lab where you fill out a worksheet every week, they call it a lab to justify it being two hours) where your TA will give you a useless worksheet that rarely correlates to the exams and is usually just busy work. Sometimes the worksheets are very long and take nearly two hours of highly efficient work to complete. If your TA's parents weren't nice to them as a child, they'll take off a point or so out of 15 every week, and you'll be sad to see them go when you're calculating what grade you need on the final to get an A. Also at around week 7 or 8 you'll have a group assignment that involves the botanical garden, have fun.

Now for the worst part of the class: Launchpad. I have never felt more burnt out of school than during spring quarter, and Launchpad is the primary reason for that. Launchpad is an online textbook provided by Macmillian with interactive assignments built in. Every morning before lecture, there is work due. You'll read through 1-6 sections (average ~3-4) per day, each consisting of 2-7 (average ~5) pages of reading. At the end of each section there are questions that test that you've read the chapter, and they can be confusing and difficult. Quizlet is your friend. But it gets worse. Occasionally they'll have 1-3 minute long animations followed by around 5 questions to check that you watched the animation. Sometimes these can be very easy, but other times the animations will ask questions that weren't covered in the animations. And occasionally, the questions won't even be covered in the course. You'll just have to pray that some kind soul added them to quizlet for you. At the end of every week there will be a set of "Practice Exam Questions" which can be surprisingly difficult. Your best bet for these is to get in a group with other students and complete the questions together. Every assignment on Launchpad counts for points, and there is no way to make up missed points, so rushing through them can really screw you over.

The content of the class is not hard conceptually, but the exams are very difficult not because the questions are pushing your understanding of the material, but because the questions are often extremely vague and it can be difficult to discern what they're asking you. There were even questions on the final that were on a topic that was never mentioned in the reading, lecture, or discussion, so I have no idea how anyone was supposed to know them. Everyone is asked said that they just guessed on those.

My final complaint is that there is that the professor does not provide any study material for the exams, so the way I studied was I spent around 4 hours per Launchpad day taking detailed notes and reviewing them. I also went back through all the assignments on Launchpad and made sure I understood them, and I reviewed the clicker questions from the lectures, which were uploaded to CCLE.

If you're going to be taking any of the 7 series with Deb and my review has scared you, take solace in the fact that there is very little difference in the class based on professor, and it will be complete ass regardless of who it is being taught by.

As I look forward to August 7th and the first LS 7C lecture of C session, I fight back tears of rage and despair, and finally grit my teeth in calm acceptance of my inevitable doom.

Deb also has around 5 shirts and she just cycles through them.

Helpful?

30 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 3, 2020
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A

I read the reviews on Pires before taking this class and I was very freaked out. I'm not sure how she is in person, but over this online quarter she was extremely accommodating. Her lectures also I found helpful. Good professor in my opinion.

Helpful?

4 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 4, 2020
Quarter: Spring 2020
Grade: A-

I really don't understand the more negative reviews she has on Bruinwalk? I've seen reviews of her being mean but I've seen nothing but support from the class this entire quarter. Although the class is online, she's really nice and always answers questions in the chatbox and even talks to us before class. She (again with Dr. Pham) provided resources like practice tests to prepare for the midterms. The class itself is a little difficult though. I personally felt like the midterms were a lot harder than the clickers done in class. However, there's a lot of padding as long as you do the assignments done (like labs, go to class, do the launchpad). I would take her again!!

Helpful?

7 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
June 22, 2018
Quarter: Spring 2018
Grade: N/A

Like the other reviewers, I thought that Dr. Pires was not very helpful this quarter at all. I'd had her for LS7A, but that's a completely different story. When going over the tests, even the TA's were confused about the answers given. And also, the midterm 2 was curved down one month after which was weird. Also, lectures are not that helpful at all. they are just a bunch of clicker questions, and she barely offers an explanation. She was also gone for 2 weeks out of the 10, both before the midterm and the final, the most important weeks of the quarter! She's nice though and knows a lot of material. Just maybe not the best lecturer.

Helpful?

3 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
June 13, 2018
Quarter: Spring 2018
Grade: NR

I'm gonna make this simple. The LS core office here at UCLA does not care about you. The professors do not care about you. The TA's do not care about you.
This class was no exception.
Deb was the worst lecturer I've come across yet- there were times when the entire class got the same questions wrong due to her explanations.
She is confusing and does not help. Do not take this class with her.
The material itself was very interesting, especially if you are into human anatomy.

Helpful?

6 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
July 9, 2020
Quarter: Spring 2020
Grade: A

This class was co-taught by Dr. Pires and Dr. Pham. I'd heard that Pires sucked, but I took LS 7A with Pham the previous quarter and loved him, so I thought it would be fine, and it was. FYI: For everyone that thinks Deb is the demon who runs the LS Core because she created the LS 7 series, don't forget that as of Summer 2020 she is not the chair of the LS Core (Dr. Beth Lazazzera is), she's not listed as one of the administrative staff on the LS Core website, and that there's 8 other academic administrators besides her for the LS Core (like Maloy and Khankan). If you think she has no empathy, she actually CRIED during the last lecture of the quarter because she got emotional about how well students were doing despite the pandemic going on, and it was genuine.

Strengths: Deb was a good lecturer and adapted to the online format very well! She did a great job of encouraging student participation during lectures through the Zoom chat and breakout rooms, and always addressed questions that were asked orally or through the chat. Her explanations generally made sense, and being able to see her demonstrate concepts through her document scanner was very helpful. In addition, giving all students full points on the final exam was hugely appreciated, as well as making class optional during Week 10 and giving extra credit for completing the last lab, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest issues.

Weaknesses: Dr. Pires did go through clicker questions too quickly during the very first lecture, and without explaining them properly, but this was not a concern during any of the other lectures. However, going through clicker questions a bit more thoroughly overall would have been appreciated. In terms of the course, the midterm exams were too difficult, and the first midterm needed significantly more time to complete properly than what was given. Having one-on-one office hours was a nice idea for midterm review, but in practice this did not go well, because I had to wait a full two hours to review my 2nd midterm with Dr. Pham, and I wasn't even able to see the questions I missed, which was rather irritating. A significant weakness of this course was the pre-lab readings for Week 6 and 7 on plants and animals, which were excessively long and fairly pointless because this material was not tested at all. This might be because I work slowly, but another weakness of 7B (at least under the online format) is that some of the labs are simply too long to complete in 2 hours, and I found myself barely being able to submit several of them to meet the deadline.

ADVICE: The practice problems we were given for the midterm were helpful, and making a crowd-sourced Google Sheet is an excellent idea, because they don't give you the correct answers with the problems.

Helpful?

2 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
July 1, 2018
Quarter: Spring 2018
Grade: B

I had Dr. Pires for LS7A during my fall quarter of my first year at UCLA. While she was challenging, I liked her for LS7A and opted to choose her as a professor for LS7C. Deb is an extremely kind, knowledgeable professor who genuinely wants students to succeed. However, this class is highly confusing and packs a lot of information into less than 2 months (the last 2-3 weeks are pretty much just review from 7B). I was also kind of confused as to why the second midterm was suddenly curved down just days before final grades were due – that has never happened to me before and it was disappointing. I am lucky that I had such an awesome TA because if not, this class would have little to no redeeming qualities :(

Basically, Deb is an intelligent and nice person but wasn't exactly great at clarifying the material.

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2 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 5, 2020
Quarter: Summer 2020
Grade: A

Genuinely- a good person with a great heart. I may be a rare person who actually loves flipped classrooms because it forces you to learn the content twice. She is clear, very understandable and really was a voice of kindness and compassion among everything crazy going on this year. I appreciate her greatly and am so glad to have learned from her.

Helpful?

4 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Dec. 19, 2019
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: NR

AVOID THIS PROFESSOR!!!! I hated this class so much. Everyone before me has said that LS7B was incredible easy, but Debra Pires has made this class UNBEARABLE. The first midterm was so hard for no reason, she changed the exam the night before to make it more difficult because she heard that people were going around saying the class was so easy. She is the most dull professor I have ever had and I absolutely dreaded going to class. She is not engaging and gives different answers to the same question. She also yelled at a student for recording her in class, even though, you know, she is a professor? Whatever. Just avoid Pires and save your quarter from boredom and dread.

Helpful?

5 3 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
March 18, 2020
Quarter: Spring 2020
Grade: A

This class is difficult, there's not really any way around it. A lot of the work you will need to do to succeed will be by yourself, taking notes online. This can be very time consuming, and I wish the professors would provide a bit more clarity on what is relevant to the course/tests versus what is not, because a lot of it sometimes seems pointless. It's important to go to class and not just do the clicker questions, but understand them. The professors, especially Deb, may seem hard-shelled at first, but I think they do genuinely care and want to help you learn. For me, the biggest help was going to discussion because those worksheets were most similar to the tests and my TA was super helpful and smart. In summary, it's a tough class because the tests are so wack and very about "applying the material", but I think if you put in the work you will get the grade you deserve.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
Quarter: Spring 2018
Grade: A-
June 27, 2018

Ahh, where to begin? I've been told that the redesign of the LS series that resulted in the abominations that are LS 7A, 7B, & 7C was spearheaded by none other than Professor Debra Pires herself. In High School biology was my favorite subject, and I could not have been more excited to take these classes in a college setting. Now, after having taken 7A with Roth Johnson and 7B with Pires, bio is the subject that I despise the most.

Allow me to explain how the class is structured and graded: The entire 7 series is based upon a very interesting concept called "Flipped Classroom". The theory behind it is that if the students do all their learning outside of the classroom, the professor can review difficult topics and help students with their weak points in class. This could work in a small classroom setting where the professor could have time to speak with each individual student, but it does not work at all in a 330 person lecture.

The lectures are an hour and fifteen minutes in LaKretz 110 (Even thinking about sitting in that room makes my blood pressure rise as I feel the anger of all my ancestors coursing through my veins) twice a week. Pires stands at the board and just goes through a set of around 15-40 clicker questions every day (oh yeah attendance is mandatory buddy, don't even think about skipping class). The clicker questions range from very easy and self explanatory to inexplicably confusing, and Deb often struggles to explain them and invariably fails to explain them well. Discussion is a two hour "lab" (its a computer lab where you fill out a worksheet every week, they call it a lab to justify it being two hours) where your TA will give you a useless worksheet that rarely correlates to the exams and is usually just busy work. Sometimes the worksheets are very long and take nearly two hours of highly efficient work to complete. If your TA's parents weren't nice to them as a child, they'll take off a point or so out of 15 every week, and you'll be sad to see them go when you're calculating what grade you need on the final to get an A. Also at around week 7 or 8 you'll have a group assignment that involves the botanical garden, have fun.

Now for the worst part of the class: Launchpad. I have never felt more burnt out of school than during spring quarter, and Launchpad is the primary reason for that. Launchpad is an online textbook provided by Macmillian with interactive assignments built in. Every morning before lecture, there is work due. You'll read through 1-6 sections (average ~3-4) per day, each consisting of 2-7 (average ~5) pages of reading. At the end of each section there are questions that test that you've read the chapter, and they can be confusing and difficult. Quizlet is your friend. But it gets worse. Occasionally they'll have 1-3 minute long animations followed by around 5 questions to check that you watched the animation. Sometimes these can be very easy, but other times the animations will ask questions that weren't covered in the animations. And occasionally, the questions won't even be covered in the course. You'll just have to pray that some kind soul added them to quizlet for you. At the end of every week there will be a set of "Practice Exam Questions" which can be surprisingly difficult. Your best bet for these is to get in a group with other students and complete the questions together. Every assignment on Launchpad counts for points, and there is no way to make up missed points, so rushing through them can really screw you over.

The content of the class is not hard conceptually, but the exams are very difficult not because the questions are pushing your understanding of the material, but because the questions are often extremely vague and it can be difficult to discern what they're asking you. There were even questions on the final that were on a topic that was never mentioned in the reading, lecture, or discussion, so I have no idea how anyone was supposed to know them. Everyone is asked said that they just guessed on those.

My final complaint is that there is that the professor does not provide any study material for the exams, so the way I studied was I spent around 4 hours per Launchpad day taking detailed notes and reviewing them. I also went back through all the assignments on Launchpad and made sure I understood them, and I reviewed the clicker questions from the lectures, which were uploaded to CCLE.

If you're going to be taking any of the 7 series with Deb and my review has scared you, take solace in the fact that there is very little difference in the class based on professor, and it will be complete ass regardless of who it is being taught by.

As I look forward to August 7th and the first LS 7C lecture of C session, I fight back tears of rage and despair, and finally grit my teeth in calm acceptance of my inevitable doom.

Deb also has around 5 shirts and she just cycles through them.

Helpful?

30 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
June 3, 2020

I read the reviews on Pires before taking this class and I was very freaked out. I'm not sure how she is in person, but over this online quarter she was extremely accommodating. Her lectures also I found helpful. Good professor in my opinion.

Helpful?

4 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Spring 2020
Grade: A-
June 4, 2020

I really don't understand the more negative reviews she has on Bruinwalk? I've seen reviews of her being mean but I've seen nothing but support from the class this entire quarter. Although the class is online, she's really nice and always answers questions in the chatbox and even talks to us before class. She (again with Dr. Pham) provided resources like practice tests to prepare for the midterms. The class itself is a little difficult though. I personally felt like the midterms were a lot harder than the clickers done in class. However, there's a lot of padding as long as you do the assignments done (like labs, go to class, do the launchpad). I would take her again!!

Helpful?

7 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7C
Quarter: Spring 2018
Grade: N/A
June 22, 2018

Like the other reviewers, I thought that Dr. Pires was not very helpful this quarter at all. I'd had her for LS7A, but that's a completely different story. When going over the tests, even the TA's were confused about the answers given. And also, the midterm 2 was curved down one month after which was weird. Also, lectures are not that helpful at all. they are just a bunch of clicker questions, and she barely offers an explanation. She was also gone for 2 weeks out of the 10, both before the midterm and the final, the most important weeks of the quarter! She's nice though and knows a lot of material. Just maybe not the best lecturer.

Helpful?

3 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7C
Quarter: Spring 2018
Grade: NR
June 13, 2018

I'm gonna make this simple. The LS core office here at UCLA does not care about you. The professors do not care about you. The TA's do not care about you.
This class was no exception.
Deb was the worst lecturer I've come across yet- there were times when the entire class got the same questions wrong due to her explanations.
She is confusing and does not help. Do not take this class with her.
The material itself was very interesting, especially if you are into human anatomy.

Helpful?

6 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Spring 2020
Grade: A
July 9, 2020

This class was co-taught by Dr. Pires and Dr. Pham. I'd heard that Pires sucked, but I took LS 7A with Pham the previous quarter and loved him, so I thought it would be fine, and it was. FYI: For everyone that thinks Deb is the demon who runs the LS Core because she created the LS 7 series, don't forget that as of Summer 2020 she is not the chair of the LS Core (Dr. Beth Lazazzera is), she's not listed as one of the administrative staff on the LS Core website, and that there's 8 other academic administrators besides her for the LS Core (like Maloy and Khankan). If you think she has no empathy, she actually CRIED during the last lecture of the quarter because she got emotional about how well students were doing despite the pandemic going on, and it was genuine.

Strengths: Deb was a good lecturer and adapted to the online format very well! She did a great job of encouraging student participation during lectures through the Zoom chat and breakout rooms, and always addressed questions that were asked orally or through the chat. Her explanations generally made sense, and being able to see her demonstrate concepts through her document scanner was very helpful. In addition, giving all students full points on the final exam was hugely appreciated, as well as making class optional during Week 10 and giving extra credit for completing the last lab, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest issues.

Weaknesses: Dr. Pires did go through clicker questions too quickly during the very first lecture, and without explaining them properly, but this was not a concern during any of the other lectures. However, going through clicker questions a bit more thoroughly overall would have been appreciated. In terms of the course, the midterm exams were too difficult, and the first midterm needed significantly more time to complete properly than what was given. Having one-on-one office hours was a nice idea for midterm review, but in practice this did not go well, because I had to wait a full two hours to review my 2nd midterm with Dr. Pham, and I wasn't even able to see the questions I missed, which was rather irritating. A significant weakness of this course was the pre-lab readings for Week 6 and 7 on plants and animals, which were excessively long and fairly pointless because this material was not tested at all. This might be because I work slowly, but another weakness of 7B (at least under the online format) is that some of the labs are simply too long to complete in 2 hours, and I found myself barely being able to submit several of them to meet the deadline.

ADVICE: The practice problems we were given for the midterm were helpful, and making a crowd-sourced Google Sheet is an excellent idea, because they don't give you the correct answers with the problems.

Helpful?

2 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7C
Quarter: Spring 2018
Grade: B
July 1, 2018

I had Dr. Pires for LS7A during my fall quarter of my first year at UCLA. While she was challenging, I liked her for LS7A and opted to choose her as a professor for LS7C. Deb is an extremely kind, knowledgeable professor who genuinely wants students to succeed. However, this class is highly confusing and packs a lot of information into less than 2 months (the last 2-3 weeks are pretty much just review from 7B). I was also kind of confused as to why the second midterm was suddenly curved down just days before final grades were due – that has never happened to me before and it was disappointing. I am lucky that I had such an awesome TA because if not, this class would have little to no redeeming qualities :(

Basically, Deb is an intelligent and nice person but wasn't exactly great at clarifying the material.

Helpful?

2 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Summer 2020
Grade: A
June 5, 2020

Genuinely- a good person with a great heart. I may be a rare person who actually loves flipped classrooms because it forces you to learn the content twice. She is clear, very understandable and really was a voice of kindness and compassion among everything crazy going on this year. I appreciate her greatly and am so glad to have learned from her.

Helpful?

4 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7B
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: NR
Dec. 19, 2019

AVOID THIS PROFESSOR!!!! I hated this class so much. Everyone before me has said that LS7B was incredible easy, but Debra Pires has made this class UNBEARABLE. The first midterm was so hard for no reason, she changed the exam the night before to make it more difficult because she heard that people were going around saying the class was so easy. She is the most dull professor I have ever had and I absolutely dreaded going to class. She is not engaging and gives different answers to the same question. She also yelled at a student for recording her in class, even though, you know, she is a professor? Whatever. Just avoid Pires and save your quarter from boredom and dread.

Helpful?

5 3 Please log in to provide feedback.
LIFESCI 7A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Spring 2020
Grade: A
March 18, 2020

This class is difficult, there's not really any way around it. A lot of the work you will need to do to succeed will be by yourself, taking notes online. This can be very time consuming, and I wish the professors would provide a bit more clarity on what is relevant to the course/tests versus what is not, because a lot of it sometimes seems pointless. It's important to go to class and not just do the clicker questions, but understand them. The professors, especially Deb, may seem hard-shelled at first, but I think they do genuinely care and want to help you learn. For me, the biggest help was going to discussion because those worksheets were most similar to the tests and my TA was super helpful and smart. In summary, it's a tough class because the tests are so wack and very about "applying the material", but I think if you put in the work you will get the grade you deserve.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
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