All Ratings and Reviews for Eric Avila
Prof. Avila indeed is a brilliant man...he has worked hard for what he knows. Unfortunately, though, he makes that well known to the students. He seemed to be more worried of how hard it has been for him to write his thesis (which he uses to read during lecture) and how he had to write a book that had to be 400 pages long, and we only had to write 10 pages for the final. He was sarcastically rude, I feel. I will agree with the previous students comments and make note that individual thought is definitely a "no-no" in his class. He wants you to spit back information as HE thinks it is, and not how you analyze history to be. That is very unfortunate. He was NEVER available when I needed to see him during the quarter. During office hours, I wouldn't find him in his office. Also, as the final did approach, I emailed him several times and he did not email me back...NOT ONCE...and I emailed for the first time the day the assignment was passed out. He was definitely avoiding the class.
The grade was based 40% (mid-term) and 60% (final). He told the class to not stress out if we got a low grade on the mid-term because if we improved, we would get the higher grade. This was a complete lie...he graded us heavily and did not give credit to any improvement we displayed. Out of everybody I spoke to, (atleast 15 people from the class), they all got the same grade in the course as in their mid-term. For example, if you got a B- on the mid-term, that was the grade the person got in the class. Pretty diceptive...I wasn't too comfortable with this outcome. I would highly recommend that you take this course with another professor or choose another class to fulfill your requirement. I would NOT take this course with this professor again.
What can I say, this guy is a waste of time. His lectures are weird, to say the least, and does his best to show how smart he is--at least he thinks he is--and dumb the class is. He wears these weird outfits that look as if they belonged to John Travolta in the 70s, he spends time talking about how gay is the new black, and answer questions as if he is God's gift to Chicano Studies. Its people like you, Eric, that give the dept a bad name. His lectures are nothing more than a soapbox. This class is a real waste of time. The TA's also left much to be desired. My TA, who was Avila's 'teacher's pet' spent more time following Avila around like a lil lap dog than teaching us. Moreover, in lecture, he tried to act like he was Avila--real good training he is getting. This class sucked.
Why is it that almost every review that I have read about any prof rarely has the important info that I need?
Here is the nuts and bolts of what Prof Avila's History of LA class is like (durning summer, that is!) -
Way too much reading IMHO. However, I really didn't read at all as he gave us a study guide for the mid-term and the final was take home.
Yes, he IS a very fast speaker but whenever i didn't catch something I ASKED him to repeat himself and he ALWAYS did, very nicely, I might add!
Over all, I really enjoyed the class and would like to take him again....
Professor Avila can be a bit challenging, but if you are interested in the subject, it is all worth it. There are a lot of readings, but most are interesting, and the work is do-able. The final was a take-home essay. I didn't agree with some of the points he made, but overall, he is very well educated and his main point is to make you THINK. So if you are willing to work hard, and actually learn, take his class. :]
DO NOT TAKE THIS PROFESSOR!!!
List of grievances:
1.) he is unnecessarily brutal when it comes to grading. I know several people who took his class (all of them are good students) and all of us had our GPA lowered as a result of taking professor Avila's class this winter. If you take him prepare to end up with a full letter grade lower than what you deserve (i.e. if you think you deserved a "B" you will probably get a "C." Upon comparison of my work with other students, I would agree with the other reviewer who stated that his grading policy is very inconsistent.
2.) This professor's time management skills are seriously LACKING. He could not finish a lecture on time if his life depended on it. During the last 5-10 minutes of class he raced thruough the material so fast that taking notes was impossible AND he STILL did not finish covering his material despite this! He feels the need to cram in so many tiny details that the big picture is often lost. If the class started to leave at the appointed time he would reprimand us with a statement like "I'M NOT finished yet; I still have four minutes left."
Of course I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
3.) His take home final sounds deceptively easy but BEWARE!! It is actually a tedious exercise in using the readings to support the professor's worldview and if you disagree with his opinion you will be marked down; Independent thinking is NOT encouraged by Dr. Avila.
4.) He uses complex and unnecessarily long words when a shorter word will do. This also makes it hard to take notes especially since some of the terms he uses are foreign to the average student. For example, he will say "such and such was PREDICATED upon (blank)," when he could have just said "such and such was BASED upon or FOUNDED upon (blank)." To me it seemed like he was just trying to show off his vocabulary and sound articulate. I found it quite annoying.
Yes, he does have an excellent command of his subject and some of the information presented WAS interesting but his class was the most AWFUL upper division class I have taken to date. Hard work does NOT pay off with a good grade in this class.
Speaks WAY too fast in class and tells you that you don't have to write it all down, yet holds you accountable for the information. He is very self-involved with his own research and pounds his book material in lecture, every time he gets a chance. I thought it would be much more interesting than it actually was... turned out to be a quite boring class.
Midterm = In class (take notes about the images he shows, he'll test you on one of them)
Final = Take home, basically a book report on all six books.
Prof. Avila is an outstanding lecturer- a truly brilliant man who inspires you to take on the world and do your best. His grading was fair, his exams were demanding but very clear and well-written. Yes, some think he might be pretty difficult, but he is definitely worth taking. Amazing man!
I really did not like Avila's class. It was long, boring and he ran off on too many tangents. He explained why he couldn't refrain from using big words or the term "P.C" and he would always talk about his family (his stories hardly relate to the class). Dragging myself to that class every other day was a struggle. I did well in the class but because of the readings. I really enjoyed the readings. Oh by the way, he will call you out in the middle of the lecture if you sleep. BUT COME ON, IT WAS SO HARD NOT TO.
Professor Avila is a very intelligent individual who is very passionate about Chicano studies. However, he's not a very effecive professor, he still has a long way to go. Overall, there was too much reading (which you don't even have to read for the mid-term or final) and the lectures are extremely boring (for 2 hours). I wouldn't recommend this class, for me it was a waste of time. Although it is rather easy if you get the honors section, but if you get a regular section its probably more difficult because of the quizes.
I agree with many of the grievances brought up on this page by other students but I have to say--I liked Professor Avila. His interest and enthusiasm of his subject is contagious. He clearly thought long and hard about the course material the class would read. What other class would include Chinatown, Sunset Blvd and Blade Runner in their list of required materials? How cool is that? The course load was a bit heavy but it was all interesting. There is one thing I did not like about Professor Avila though. He seems more concerned with his own agenda then his students. And this is a trend I find in the history department in general. Its too bad, this could dissuade interested students from pursuing careers as historians.
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