Debra B Pires
Department of Life Sciences
AD
2.6
Overall Rating
Based on 21 Users
Easiness 1.6 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 2.9 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 1.7 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 2.7 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Needs Textbook
  • Is Podcasted
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Tough Tests
  • Participation Matters
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Would Take Again

GRADE DISTRIBUTIONS

25.8%
21.5%
17.2%
12.9%
8.6%
4.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

22.3%
18.6%
14.9%
11.2%
7.4%
3.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

25.9%
21.6%
17.3%
12.9%
8.6%
4.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

22.4%
18.6%
14.9%
11.2%
7.5%
3.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

23.7%
19.7%
15.8%
11.8%
7.9%
3.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

AD

Reviews (15)

1 of 2
1 of 2
Add your review...
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A
Sept. 23, 2017

Challenging class!

Selling looseleaf version of textbook in a binder! Great condition and selling for cheap. Message me at (818) 620-6800!

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A+
April 1, 2017

Professor Pires is not that bad! In fact, her slides are pretty clear and she explains everything in great details in class. The clicker questions are not easy and sometimes tricky. Make sure you review the clicker questions before the exam. The textbook is mandatory and every week you're asked to finish the reading quiz online before class. Do exactly what she asks you to do and everything would be okay. The most important thing for you to get a high score in this course is to go to every lecture, understand the mechanisms and ask any question you have. The course is basic and no need to be scared of. Good luck guys!

Helpful?

0 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A
Aug. 17, 2016

(NOTE: There are subtleties to my comments below - I do not endorse the randomized reading of interspersed words and sentences. I do not wish that they be interpreted in a way that I do not intend them to be interpreted.)
At this moment, my mind is occupied by how horrible Dr. Pires' philosophy is. Bear with me, this might be long, but useful:

LS2 looks quite unappealing unless you're really interested in biology. Knowing that you have to take this unappealing subject with a professor with bad reviews is displeasing enough. But anyway, I had no options and had to take this class in Spring 2016. Let me start by saying this: after this course, I started liking biology. Dr. Pires' (and Dr. Pfluegl's) explication of concepts involved in this class was fascinatingly insightful. I had an advanced Biology course in high school, in which (more or less), I had already learned all the material taught in this class. Taking this class, however, changed my fundamental understanding of biology. I had thought of biology to be a subject that requires 'only memorization' - something to be taken for a brief period in your life, and then rightfully , to be erased from your memory. However, this class made me realize that Biology is much more than memorization. It is about application of the humanest of abilities - rationality. Dr. Pires requires you to do a small amount of memorization for this class - (I do not claim that there is no memorization - mind you). Further, Dr. Pries is quite good as a lecturer. She explains concepts quite well.
Now now... before hitting that enroll button, you might also want to know:
- Dr. Pires comes across a person who is totally full of herself
- She behaves in a manner that makes her appear to be very helpful, but I doubt she really takes any actual effort to address students concerns.
- As I said at the beginning, her teaching philosophy is horrible. She dictates each and every thing about how to study for this class. She has points for regular attendance of discussion sections, lectures (through Clicker questions) , quizzes administered during discussion sections, completion of online assignments (which are a lot sometimes), reading quizzes and finally, end-of-week quizzes. And you have to do all of these -- they form a substantial portion of your grade.

I usually do quite well in classes that I take (A's in 90% classes). One thing I value the most about college education is that I have the option to study something if I feel that the lecturer doesn't explain it well enough or that I simply will learn better if I study on my own. I very much attribute my good grades and thorough understanding of concepts to this option that allows me to study on my own. (Shouldn't a university entrust a student with enough responsibility so as to allow him to take the option of not attending lectures if he feels that he can do better by not attending lectures?) This option was taken away from me. In this capital of cultural freedom in the so-called 'Land of the Free', such a constraint on the freedom to study as I please was simply suffocating. In every lecture, I looked at Deb and wondered 'She was probably the kid in college who had a very methodical way of studying because of which she did well in classes. She therefore thought that if everybody studies this way, everybody 'shall do as well as I do'. Unfortunately, Deb needs a little nudge back into the more realistic scheme of things - everyone is not the same. Therefore, dear Dr. Pires, if this message gets to you: why don't you try offering more freedom to your students as to how they'd like to study? (Stop telling me that I need to have a study-buddy, for one. I consider myself able to make informed decisions about whom to include in my social circle)
The discussion sections were absolutely useless too. I developed a superiority complex over my TA -- I can swear over my degree that my understanding of concepts (and rationale, in general) was better than that of the TA.

The midterm (only 1) wasn't as bad as it has been made to sound in the preceding comments. The concepts discussed in quizzes and clicker questions were mainly tested. (There was a similarity in types of question patterns in clicker questions and exams). The final was a little bit harder (or maybe I hadn't studied enough).

In any case, if you are a the 'ideal' student, who attends every lecture and discussion (and further is motivated enough to do so), will perhaps be only somewhat irritated by the workload of the class. Or if you are a student who is not good at biology and are further confident that that cannot ever be changed, then this class isn't one to enroll in if you want a convenient A. Finally, for those of you who do well by studying on their own, you will be in the exact position as I am.

To summarize my experience of being in this class, it was like forcefully sending a free-speech activist to North Korea. Just like that free-speech activist, in this class, I was: a) forced to do something in a way I do not like and b) had no option but to do it -- I, as a result found the experience suffocating.

Thanks for reading.

(-the Revyu-er)

Helpful?

5 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: B+
May 14, 2016

A lot of the reviews here are making Pires out to be one of the worst professors at UCLA which is not true at all and I dare to say that most reviewers who gave her a negative score never took AP Biology in high school.

LS 2 is essentially AP Biology and if you know how questions are structured/worded on the AP test then you will more or less know how Pires sets up her tests. All of her questions are true/false or multiple choice and will require you to think about the biological processes. She requires a clicker so get ready to buy one and although many will consider her clicker questions to be "too hard" for lectures they are actually a little harder than the midterm questions so you will be more or less prepared for the midterm if you can answer them correctly. Launchpad work was annoying but ultimately easy points.

The grade I got does not indicate my overall grade in the class. It represents my midterm grade for her half of the class. Pires isn't a bad professor. I've heard that she's savage during office hours though.

Helpful?

0 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Jan. 4, 2016

I had Pires and Roth-Johnson for LS 2 in fall 2015.

Professor Pires does not seem to be good at teaching, although she is knowledgeable. She teaches very fast and a lot of her clicker questions are too tricky to understand during class. It is very important to relisten to bruin cast and review the lecture slides.

The homework problems are badly assigned. There are a lot of reading assignments and many of the readings have low consistency with the lecture and the exam. Some reading quizzes will test you some of these details and you don't have enough time to look for the information. The weekly quizzes are better.

The exams are actually fair. They are in multiple choice and true/false format and they focus on conceptual understanding instead of details and spellings.

She kept saying "Make the decision" (of dropping the class?) at the end of each week, making me uncomfortable. I also don't like her teaching styles. I will recommend people to avoid her, but the class is doable if she is teaching with another good professor. If she is the only option, I will probably wait for another quarter.

Overall grade: A- (studied my ass off)

Helpful?

0 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Feb. 27, 2015

I should have listened to the reviews on here because she is the worst professor I have ever had here at ucla.

Granted, you get easy points from doing homework and online quizzes, but her tests are completely unfair. She doesn't take anything from the book, and the online quizzes don't help much at all. She expects way too much out of you and teaches the class like it's a med school class. I took her for LS2 last winter, and I'm still pissed about how bad she was.

If you think this is kinda stupid and you like the challenge. Or if you like ALL true and false test questions, then this is the class for you because this class was certainly not for me. I ended with an A- but that was because of all the extra points and studying my ass off. Avoid if you can.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
June 24, 2014

Professor Pires is a professor that truly does seem to care about her students but sometimes, I felt like that it did more harm than good for us.

What I believe she did was that she took her LS1 style of teaching and applied it to LS2. LS2 contains a lot of material that is important for future courses and although I feel like she tried to make the entire class actually understand the material, I believe we all mostly ended up being overwhelmed by the workload and the pace of the course, especially since we were all pressured by the fact that the course was graded on a straight-scale.

She structured the course as so:

Discussion: 90 points
Reading Quizzes: 90 points
Participation: 90 points
Launchpad: 90 points
Midterm: 150 points
Final: 250 points
----------------------------------------------
Total points = 760

Launchpad came with the textbook and it mostly consisted of weekly reading quizzes and learning curves, in addition to animations. The textbook was horrid. I personally favor Campbell, but apparently she has something against it.

We were to read two chapter every weekend and take a reading quiz on those two chapter by Monday. You would think that the discussion section for that week would review these two chapter but, no.... the discussion section reviewed the previous two weeks. I hated this factor the most.

We were mostly required to go to discussion to take another quiz on the previous two chapter we had read.

Thus, by the beginning of the week, we had enough knowledge of the material to take a reading quiz on it. Throughout the week, Pires went over the new chapters while we had a discussion section tailored for the previous two chapters. Furthermore, we HAD to go to lecture because you HAD to answer at least 75% of the questions (easy points, really) using a clicker for participation points. (you get 2 free days)

Thus, we were completing 4 chapters a week... which I thought was a bit much for LS2 since it requires a thorough understanding of minute details.

The Midterm and Final (cumulative) consisted of a majority T/F types of questions. The questions were somewhat vague and you could argue for your answer.

Overall, I would say the course structure wasn't completely bad. In fact, I would say, with more time, she may be able to adapt it to the course quite well, but for now... it was too quick.

End grade: A (ethos)

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
June 23, 2014

Pires likes to make it seem like she is really concerned about being fair and tries to pull strings for you. No. Her midterm was annoying. And so was her final. She is obsessed with True/False questions which always end up screwing you over believe it or not. Take another professor if you can.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
June 6, 2009

Deb is a great lecturer. She also is great to talk to outside of class. However, her exams are quite difficult. You really need to know every detail of her lectures and be able to apply the material in odd ways. The grading for her short answer questions is also very stringent and she is not generous with partial credit. One plus about her class is that there are many points available outside of exams that can really help your grade, such as participation, reading quizzes, labs, etc. While her class was incredibly difficult, I did learn quite a lot.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
April 23, 2009

Class isn't hard at all. All you have to do is memorize the lecture slides by heart and think of how you can utilize the info she gives you. I have to admit her final exam was very creative. I got an A though cause I understood how to use her information.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A
Sept. 23, 2017

Challenging class!

Selling looseleaf version of textbook in a binder! Great condition and selling for cheap. Message me at (818) 620-6800!

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A+
April 1, 2017

Professor Pires is not that bad! In fact, her slides are pretty clear and she explains everything in great details in class. The clicker questions are not easy and sometimes tricky. Make sure you review the clicker questions before the exam. The textbook is mandatory and every week you're asked to finish the reading quiz online before class. Do exactly what she asks you to do and everything would be okay. The most important thing for you to get a high score in this course is to go to every lecture, understand the mechanisms and ask any question you have. The course is basic and no need to be scared of. Good luck guys!

Helpful?

0 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A
Aug. 17, 2016

(NOTE: There are subtleties to my comments below - I do not endorse the randomized reading of interspersed words and sentences. I do not wish that they be interpreted in a way that I do not intend them to be interpreted.)
At this moment, my mind is occupied by how horrible Dr. Pires' philosophy is. Bear with me, this might be long, but useful:

LS2 looks quite unappealing unless you're really interested in biology. Knowing that you have to take this unappealing subject with a professor with bad reviews is displeasing enough. But anyway, I had no options and had to take this class in Spring 2016. Let me start by saying this: after this course, I started liking biology. Dr. Pires' (and Dr. Pfluegl's) explication of concepts involved in this class was fascinatingly insightful. I had an advanced Biology course in high school, in which (more or less), I had already learned all the material taught in this class. Taking this class, however, changed my fundamental understanding of biology. I had thought of biology to be a subject that requires 'only memorization' - something to be taken for a brief period in your life, and then rightfully , to be erased from your memory. However, this class made me realize that Biology is much more than memorization. It is about application of the humanest of abilities - rationality. Dr. Pires requires you to do a small amount of memorization for this class - (I do not claim that there is no memorization - mind you). Further, Dr. Pries is quite good as a lecturer. She explains concepts quite well.
Now now... before hitting that enroll button, you might also want to know:
- Dr. Pires comes across a person who is totally full of herself
- She behaves in a manner that makes her appear to be very helpful, but I doubt she really takes any actual effort to address students concerns.
- As I said at the beginning, her teaching philosophy is horrible. She dictates each and every thing about how to study for this class. She has points for regular attendance of discussion sections, lectures (through Clicker questions) , quizzes administered during discussion sections, completion of online assignments (which are a lot sometimes), reading quizzes and finally, end-of-week quizzes. And you have to do all of these -- they form a substantial portion of your grade.

I usually do quite well in classes that I take (A's in 90% classes). One thing I value the most about college education is that I have the option to study something if I feel that the lecturer doesn't explain it well enough or that I simply will learn better if I study on my own. I very much attribute my good grades and thorough understanding of concepts to this option that allows me to study on my own. (Shouldn't a university entrust a student with enough responsibility so as to allow him to take the option of not attending lectures if he feels that he can do better by not attending lectures?) This option was taken away from me. In this capital of cultural freedom in the so-called 'Land of the Free', such a constraint on the freedom to study as I please was simply suffocating. In every lecture, I looked at Deb and wondered 'She was probably the kid in college who had a very methodical way of studying because of which she did well in classes. She therefore thought that if everybody studies this way, everybody 'shall do as well as I do'. Unfortunately, Deb needs a little nudge back into the more realistic scheme of things - everyone is not the same. Therefore, dear Dr. Pires, if this message gets to you: why don't you try offering more freedom to your students as to how they'd like to study? (Stop telling me that I need to have a study-buddy, for one. I consider myself able to make informed decisions about whom to include in my social circle)
The discussion sections were absolutely useless too. I developed a superiority complex over my TA -- I can swear over my degree that my understanding of concepts (and rationale, in general) was better than that of the TA.

The midterm (only 1) wasn't as bad as it has been made to sound in the preceding comments. The concepts discussed in quizzes and clicker questions were mainly tested. (There was a similarity in types of question patterns in clicker questions and exams). The final was a little bit harder (or maybe I hadn't studied enough).

In any case, if you are a the 'ideal' student, who attends every lecture and discussion (and further is motivated enough to do so), will perhaps be only somewhat irritated by the workload of the class. Or if you are a student who is not good at biology and are further confident that that cannot ever be changed, then this class isn't one to enroll in if you want a convenient A. Finally, for those of you who do well by studying on their own, you will be in the exact position as I am.

To summarize my experience of being in this class, it was like forcefully sending a free-speech activist to North Korea. Just like that free-speech activist, in this class, I was: a) forced to do something in a way I do not like and b) had no option but to do it -- I, as a result found the experience suffocating.

Thanks for reading.

(-the Revyu-er)

Helpful?

5 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: B+
May 14, 2016

A lot of the reviews here are making Pires out to be one of the worst professors at UCLA which is not true at all and I dare to say that most reviewers who gave her a negative score never took AP Biology in high school.

LS 2 is essentially AP Biology and if you know how questions are structured/worded on the AP test then you will more or less know how Pires sets up her tests. All of her questions are true/false or multiple choice and will require you to think about the biological processes. She requires a clicker so get ready to buy one and although many will consider her clicker questions to be "too hard" for lectures they are actually a little harder than the midterm questions so you will be more or less prepared for the midterm if you can answer them correctly. Launchpad work was annoying but ultimately easy points.

The grade I got does not indicate my overall grade in the class. It represents my midterm grade for her half of the class. Pires isn't a bad professor. I've heard that she's savage during office hours though.

Helpful?

0 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Jan. 4, 2016

I had Pires and Roth-Johnson for LS 2 in fall 2015.

Professor Pires does not seem to be good at teaching, although she is knowledgeable. She teaches very fast and a lot of her clicker questions are too tricky to understand during class. It is very important to relisten to bruin cast and review the lecture slides.

The homework problems are badly assigned. There are a lot of reading assignments and many of the readings have low consistency with the lecture and the exam. Some reading quizzes will test you some of these details and you don't have enough time to look for the information. The weekly quizzes are better.

The exams are actually fair. They are in multiple choice and true/false format and they focus on conceptual understanding instead of details and spellings.

She kept saying "Make the decision" (of dropping the class?) at the end of each week, making me uncomfortable. I also don't like her teaching styles. I will recommend people to avoid her, but the class is doable if she is teaching with another good professor. If she is the only option, I will probably wait for another quarter.

Overall grade: A- (studied my ass off)

Helpful?

0 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Feb. 27, 2015

I should have listened to the reviews on here because she is the worst professor I have ever had here at ucla.

Granted, you get easy points from doing homework and online quizzes, but her tests are completely unfair. She doesn't take anything from the book, and the online quizzes don't help much at all. She expects way too much out of you and teaches the class like it's a med school class. I took her for LS2 last winter, and I'm still pissed about how bad she was.

If you think this is kinda stupid and you like the challenge. Or if you like ALL true and false test questions, then this is the class for you because this class was certainly not for me. I ended with an A- but that was because of all the extra points and studying my ass off. Avoid if you can.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
June 24, 2014

Professor Pires is a professor that truly does seem to care about her students but sometimes, I felt like that it did more harm than good for us.

What I believe she did was that she took her LS1 style of teaching and applied it to LS2. LS2 contains a lot of material that is important for future courses and although I feel like she tried to make the entire class actually understand the material, I believe we all mostly ended up being overwhelmed by the workload and the pace of the course, especially since we were all pressured by the fact that the course was graded on a straight-scale.

She structured the course as so:

Discussion: 90 points
Reading Quizzes: 90 points
Participation: 90 points
Launchpad: 90 points
Midterm: 150 points
Final: 250 points
----------------------------------------------
Total points = 760

Launchpad came with the textbook and it mostly consisted of weekly reading quizzes and learning curves, in addition to animations. The textbook was horrid. I personally favor Campbell, but apparently she has something against it.

We were to read two chapter every weekend and take a reading quiz on those two chapter by Monday. You would think that the discussion section for that week would review these two chapter but, no.... the discussion section reviewed the previous two weeks. I hated this factor the most.

We were mostly required to go to discussion to take another quiz on the previous two chapter we had read.

Thus, by the beginning of the week, we had enough knowledge of the material to take a reading quiz on it. Throughout the week, Pires went over the new chapters while we had a discussion section tailored for the previous two chapters. Furthermore, we HAD to go to lecture because you HAD to answer at least 75% of the questions (easy points, really) using a clicker for participation points. (you get 2 free days)

Thus, we were completing 4 chapters a week... which I thought was a bit much for LS2 since it requires a thorough understanding of minute details.

The Midterm and Final (cumulative) consisted of a majority T/F types of questions. The questions were somewhat vague and you could argue for your answer.

Overall, I would say the course structure wasn't completely bad. In fact, I would say, with more time, she may be able to adapt it to the course quite well, but for now... it was too quick.

End grade: A (ethos)

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
June 23, 2014

Pires likes to make it seem like she is really concerned about being fair and tries to pull strings for you. No. Her midterm was annoying. And so was her final. She is obsessed with True/False questions which always end up screwing you over believe it or not. Take another professor if you can.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
June 6, 2009

Deb is a great lecturer. She also is great to talk to outside of class. However, her exams are quite difficult. You really need to know every detail of her lectures and be able to apply the material in odd ways. The grading for her short answer questions is also very stringent and she is not generous with partial credit. One plus about her class is that there are many points available outside of exams that can really help your grade, such as participation, reading quizzes, labs, etc. While her class was incredibly difficult, I did learn quite a lot.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
April 23, 2009

Class isn't hard at all. All you have to do is memorize the lecture slides by heart and think of how you can utilize the info she gives you. I have to admit her final exam was very creative. I got an A though cause I understood how to use her information.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
1 of 2
2.6
Overall Rating
Based on 21 Users
Easiness 1.6 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 2.9 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 1.7 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 2.7 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Uses Slides
    (2)
  • Tolerates Tardiness
    (2)
  • Needs Textbook
    (1)
  • Is Podcasted
    (2)
  • Engaging Lectures
    (1)
  • Useful Textbooks
    (2)
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
    (1)
  • Tough Tests
    (1)
  • Participation Matters
    (2)
  • Gives Extra Credit
    (2)
  • Would Take Again
    (1)
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