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.
Professor Orren's class is great for someone interested in the material or considering law school. She is not very organized and the lectures lack structure (no slides, outline, and sometimes she says details on cases that aren't totally correct but overall she is so knowledgeable about the subject). The whole class is basically just discussing different Supreme Court cases, about 5 each week. Some of the cases are well known but a lot probably are new material for most. She provides edited/shortened versions of the cases but it is still a significant amount of reading, and just reading Oyez (although very helpful as an intro/review!) won't cut it for the discussion quizzes and tests. Going to lecture is important and helpful to know what her tests will look like. Quizzes are pop quiz style based on the weekly cases in section (these and "participation" were worth 25% together). Some of the quiz questions were HARD so knowing details on all 5 cases is necessary for doing well on these, but the grade was mostly all final (50%) but Professor Orren ended up making our final exam optional given the last-minute change to online which was nice.
Prof Orren has very unstructured lectures (over zoom) and she doesn't use powerpoint slides or record the class. Her lectures are literally her just trying to figure out technology or reading off a textbook we aren't required to read or yelling at our TA. The readings are tedious and she doesn't connect them well to lecture materials. She gets frustrated with students for asking questions, and when you do, she doesn't answer them. She didn't provide reasonable accommodations for finals and fucked up the grading scale so that the class average dropped. The only reason I got a decent grade was because of the TA. A shame considering how relevant this course COULD BE in our current political and social climate.
She literally lives up to her name. take at your own risk lol
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.
Did this review contain...
Thank you for the report!
We'll look into this shortly.