Fall 2017 - To be frank, if you need to take a 97 seminar, I would suggest picking a different professor. Waugh assigns one page single spaced papers, which is essentially three to four pages double spaced, every single week. You have to read hundreds of pages for these one page papers every week, and it gets exhausting. When she grades these papers she is very nit-picky and grades very hard on them. Even if you hit all the points and understand the themes of the reading, and give a good analysis she will find something to dock points off your essay, such as word choice or very minor grammatical issues. I've never gotten an A or A- on any of the papers and she never gives you clear guidelines on the grading criteria. If you want to go to graduate school or law school, and need to keep a high GPA, I would suggest another professor.
I feel ambivalent about Professor Waugh. I understand where both the positive and negative critiques are coming from. It's true that she's an engaging lecturer and also true that she can be painfully boring— depends on what interests you about the Civil War. For me, the battle lectures were the most excruciating; other people couldn't get enough of them. It's true that she can be sweet and helpful, but I also had experiences with her when she was rude and unresponsive. I don't think she likes it when students show up to office hours the week the paper is due with little more than a thesis— she expects a draft at that point and disdains undergrad procrastination, so she's absolutely no help in that moment. Yet, if you randomly shoot her a question (preferably an analytical one) about the material via email, she's very happy to answer. She's also more responsive and friendly in office hours on an off-week (i.e. not right before the midterm or final). Finally, it's true that her class is simultaneously really easy and really hard. First, the quizzes are the EASIEST and most generous 20% offered by any professor at UCLA. I had tougher quizzes in grade school, and it's frankly depressing if you got anything less than an 8 out of 10. On the other hand, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE MOVIE PAPER. Sure, it seems easy. Watch a good movie like Glory or Gone with the Wind or Cold Mountain, write a paper. It is actually very difficult, and unless you want to agonize for three straight days and finish it up in an all-nighter like I did, get a head start. Watch the movie three weeks before the paper is due, and then start it immediately. I'm serious. The final papers (only three pages each) are easier and can be completed in a day. She really only gave us four days for those anyways (assigned the topics Thursday, and they were due Monday). Finally, the readings are enjoyable and accessible, especially Waugh's own book U.S. Grant (except save your initial good impression of the book and your time— don't read the last two chapters, which are essentially about nothing). Ultimately, I think the good outweighs the bad with Waugh. She's very knowledgable about Civil War history. The website she made for 139A is FANTASTIC- no need to consult wikipedia for this class. And she is very organized and clear about her expectations. She gives you all the tools you need to get an A; it's up to you to put in the work.
Professor Waugh is simply amazing. Her lectures, with few exceptions, were outstanding; especially the lecture on baseball. That they are always full (unlike most history lectures) is indicative of their quality. She is one of the few professors to successfully integrate outside media into her lectures, possibly because her ego is not so large as to preclude admitting the validity of outside sources. I would definitely recommend her.