All Ratings and Reviews for Karen Orren
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!
I took Religion and Politics with Orren. Orren is the worst Prof I have ever had at UCLA. she does not care about her students, incredulously reluctant to hold review sessions, and when she does, it proves to be not at all helpful. She kept on repeating that we should of learned the material in class during review sessions, apparently, the word "Review" isn't in her lexicon. The subject itself is incredibly interesting to me, she, on the other hand, is not.
This is the most useless class I have ever taken at UCLA. I was enrolled in Pol.Sci. 149 Religion in American Political Development and I was very disappointed in it. The only valuable information I gained came through the books assigned for the class. The class was conducted STRICTLY as a history course - which would not necessarily have been a bad thing except for the fact that she only lectured about inconsequential, irrevelant historical facts. This class was supposed to discuss politics to some meaningful degree but failed to do so. We only briefly discussed a few court cases (such as school prayer), history of Christian Fundamentalism and the history of a couple of presidential elections - other than that, we did not discuss American political development AT ALL. We actually spent weeks and weeks talking about the Puritans and the Great Awakening. I really felt this class was a waste of time because it focused on obscure and irrelevant information that was only of interest to the instructor.
I took the class to cruise, and I cruised just fine.
Orren was rude at times and very short with students. Her refusals to hold review sessions and her near-belittlement of students for asking for reviews was surprising and strange. When a teacher is vague on the format, content, and possible length of a test, one wonders just why they are getting paid.
This is UCLA -- we're supposed to think for ourselves, but that does not mean constantly creating order from the chaos of professor's ramblings. They may be experts on the topic, but if they can't convey that knowledge to students then they should not be teaching! We should not justify professorial incompetence with the mantra of "learn on your own". I can BUY THE BOOKS on my own. My reg fees pay for the EXPLANATION and INSIGHT.
That said, I didn't hate this class. While Orren was rude at times, she could also give good information. Her selection of books was great, although there was too much reading for a quarterlong course. I don't think the class was all history -- religion's impact on politics was made clear. It's just a shame that lectures were not as interesting as the books.
Whatever complaints other students had of Prof. Orren in her other classes seem to have been taken into consideration. She now holds reviews but still does not clarify the format of her final. That to me isn't at all a problem. Her class is excellent. I especially liked that she drew on English legal traditions to explain American political development. She went beyond the usual <i>habeas corpus</i> to explain America's political inheritance by citing common law influence in American labor relations. It's a sort of insight students should be happy to have. It made me feel that the Revolution isn't over and that we need to invade London and depose HRH and her precious oppressive "common law" once and for all! ;)
However, Orren seems to be plagued by students who are weaned on TAs for too long. Give credit to Orren for refusing to handhold upper div students through the reading. I can't believe anyone needs to be reminded by her to concentrate on the points the book emphasizes and repeats the most as being the most important part of the reading. If you want a true upper div experience in Political Science you can never go wrong on the classes she teaches. Or, if you're smart and you know it, take her class.
Professor Orren demonstrated a clear desire for the students to be interested in the topic and she certainly cared if students were getting it. While the topic of the class wasn't entirely what I had expected, Prof. Orren attempted to get across some pretty dry material (although she doesn't find the material dry). While the topic in the course wasn't great, Prof. Orren went out of her way to provide information and help to students. I just took her final and I don't know what grade to expect (maybe an A or a little lower) but as a graduating senior, the grade means less than actually meeting a Professor at UCLA that cares passionately about the subject in which they teach.
AVOID ORREN AT ALL COSTS! Like other reviewers have said, you find yourself leaving your notes in the middle of sentences and there are arrows, lines, etc. until you realize you have a bunch of tidbits of useless information. Reading load: extremely heavy and she expects you to know ALL of it. Tests: completely unfair as she is probably the worst professor at UCLA and doesn't teach you a thing but expects you to know more in a quarter than she has learned in her years and years of studying the subject.
Even if you take good notes, realize that Orren is a HORRIBLE lecturer. She contradicts herself from one day to the next, sometimes in the same lecture, so when you go to study for the test, you find yourself more confused than anything else.
Professor Orren is the best professor at UCLA. She is very smart and has a very interesting approach to American Politics. She is very hard and if you get an "A" in her class, you have earned it in every possible way. But even if you don't, always keep in mind that she is one of the only Professors at UCLA whose Letter of Rec. can actually help you, because she is very well respected in the American academia. Take her, try hard, and show up at her office hours. If you do all this, you will have an "A" and an influencial letter of Rec.
145e = hard
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