All Ratings and Reviews for Karen Orren
For 145E course: Do not take this class. Save yourself the burden. There is alot of reading and unless you have a cool TA (Gilda) then you will not do well in the class. Don't try to approach her or raise your hand in class because she will belittle you and make you regret any question you have asked. The class is pretty funny at times, especially when she forgets something or just plainly, is her old granny self. She gets off tangent alot too in class. Bring you laptop, if you don't want all your notes to be scattered. Also, Wikipedia will be your best friend, since most of you will not have time to read all your cases. So, good luck if you are dying to take this course. Other than that, stay away.
Midterm and final. Quizzes and participation in section. 5 cases a week. 15 pages or less per case. Not too bad if you’ve taken another undergraduate law class. Interesting lectures. But disorganized. Not a bad thing, just something to expect. Nicest TA. Very helpful. B.M. Read the cases. Take lecture notes. Go to section. Not too bad. Would recommend.
I dont know whose class the previous post of 3/14/05 was taking but Orren is absolutely amazing! She is not only smart and insightful, but she also makes sure that the students understand and follow what she is trying to convey. I took the class with absolutely no interest in the topic (political development) and came out with a hightened interest in the material, as well as a new outlook on our developing gov't.
The course consisted of a midterm exam, worth 40%, and a final exam worth 60% of the grade. The tests were graded fairly, as she was looking to see how well the student related the essay topic to the theme of the class (make sure you relate it to the theme of the class i.e how did this situation/person etc help in the development of democracy?). She did not schedule a discussion but was always available via office hours and/or phone (but not email).
Overall, She's a great professor and i HIGHLY RECOMMEND her!
This class was a trainwreck. I have no doubt that the professor is an intelligent one, yet with regard to teaching, she is worse than most uncredentialed teachers filling the LAUSD. When from time to time I would review my notes, I found a most disturbing and frustating pattern. At the beginning of a lecture, a topic would be partially presented and subsequently ignored in favor of irrelavent digressions. Indeed not only were broad lecture topics for the day left incomplete, but so too were, of all things, SENTENCES! Far too often I have notes or sentences that go nowhere or, my personal favorite, relavent paragraphs which need to be connected together with drawn in lines like I'm playing connect the dots, because completely irrevlant info is in between.
It was a regretful experience, but one which was necessary; for I HAD to take the class.
If you're not as unfortunate as am I, then at all costs take another course!
I came into this class with a real interest in Constitutional Law and I honestly feel like that's the only thing that helped me get through a very long 10 weeks. The readings, which were Court verdicts, were indeed very interesting. The problem however, is that Orren simply glossed over the cases during class. Instead, Orren tried imposing her own theories about the subject material that hardly seemed relevant to the class topics and drawing diagrams (or redrawing them several times until she got it right because she was not prepared). Lectures were so stretched from the material that there were naturally many questions. However, it seemed as though Orren took these as personal attacks on herself (because they were her bizarre concepts that probably aren't taught in const. law classes) and she was very hostile to any one who asked questions.
The tests weren't bad but they were very difficult to study for because she gave us absolutely no structure. We didn't know how many questions there would be, if it was essay or not, etc. The TAs did the best that they could to fill in gaps but it was hard for them too because it was apparent that Orren kept them in the dark as well.
Don't make the same mistake I did. I thought that with a subject I loved so much, I would enjoy the class even if the professor didn't have the most stellar reviews. This class simply dragged down my whole quarter and was not worth it. Hopefully UCLA will find someone else to teach constitutional law because in all my years here, this is the worst class I've had.
A horrible professor with a rambling, incoherent lecture style. She seems to know very little about this subject which is why she probably can't present a structured lecture. This is the first class that I have ever considered dropping and is by far the worst Political Science class I have ever taken. Do not take this class with this professor.
Orren is the worst professor at UCLA. Don't underestimate student's complaints about her. She is horrible! She doesn't take attendance which is a disadvantage because her grading is entirely subjective so it would be nice to have a few attendance points. She is completely rude and discouraging to students who ask questions or demonstrate interest in the subject....she is interested in a paycheck, not the students. The questions on her tests are COMPLETELY pulled out of thin air. She assigns 200 pages of reading a week and if you do all of it, you feel prepared going into the test....unfortunately, it will just confuse you more because she doesn't read the books herself and will think you are making stuff up if you draw it from the books. As other reviewers have said, her lectures leave you with half sentences and notes that are more effective for a game of connect the dots than studying for tests. EVEN IF YOU'RE A POLI SCI MAJOR, AVOID ORREN, SHE WILL ABSOLUTELY DESTROY YOUR LOVE OF THE SUBJECT.
The worst professor I have had at UCLA. She did not care about student learning at all and didn't want us in her office hours. I was frustrated and disappointed that I had to take her class to finish my American politics courses. She seemed disorganized and unprepared as well. I have never met anyone who was so obviously disinterested in her students. I did well in the course and found the material interesting so wanted to talk to her about my paper ideas, but she wouldn't even tell us when her office hours would be, or would ask me to shut the door to keep the other students away. It's all historical analysis, "periodization" and "cycling"--things that are inherently flawed methodologically, but interesting for thinking about American politics. Too bad she seemed like she was forced to teach and it was such a drag for her. It seems like if you are not into her APD and her journal, she is not interested in taking the time to talk to you.
It is sad when we have scholars who may be prominent in the field, but can't teach. This is human relations...some professors just don't know or care to relate to students. What is the point of being a professor if you don't care about teaching and student learning.
I took Orren's Constitutional Law course and I have to say I do not completely agree with some students' reviews. I agree that she is a tough professor who expects students to work hard and do a great deal of work on their own. She does not tell you everything you need to know and this can sometimes be frustrating for undergrads. However, she did seem to be interested in the subject and always answered questions from students. She also held review sessions for both the midterm and final, although the midterm session was useless (but the final review helped a bit). There was no paper for the class, just a midterm, final, and 10% of the class grade for sections. If you take this course, the best advice I can give is to use oyez.com, because you can look up the individual cases and get summaries of the facts. This will help you a lot in reading all of those long and tedious supreme court decisions. Also, she does not assign the intros to the chapters, but I would suggest reading them. The intros connect all of the cases together and help to make sense out of the material, but I figured this out at the last minute and spent most of the quarter feeling like I did not have a very good grasp on the material. Orren is an old school professor and expects students to actually figure things out on their own, so if you are looking for an easy course with an easy professor this is probably not the course for you.
I am sure that Professor Orren is not a bad person. However, it would be difficult to discern this fact from the way she treats her students in class. She belittles when asked for clarification and shows absolutely no concern about how students are learning the actual material. The reading was boring and there were far too many books for a quarter long class. Worst, her tests did not analyze course themes or draw on lecture topics. Instead, they seemed written to confuse and frustrate. I did not take this class to get an easy A - I took it to actually learn something. Yet even though I attended every lecture and did all the reading, I was in no way rewarded for my hard work - not by a good grade or any worthwhile knowledge. Avoid Orren at all costs!
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