Lynn Vavreck

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Easiness 3.8/ 5
Clarity 4.5/ 5
Workload 3.6/ 5
Helpfulness 4.2/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Winter 2019 - The graded material for this class includes the following: 2 exams (worth 20% each), two papers (one worth 15% and the other 25%), and participation (worth 20%). There were two books for this class, the main textbook and then another book that we were supposed to read for discussion. You probably need to actually have both of these unfortunately. The first exam was based on lecture and reading material. You might be able to get by without reading but there were a couple questions on the exam that weren't in lecture, so I would recommend reading. I don't think there was anything too tricky about the exam, it included term definition and a couple short answer questions. The second exam, at least the quarter I took the class, did not require knowledge of course material at all. Like I didn't do any of the readings the second half of the class and it didn't matter. It presented you with a graph and you had to answer some questions about it. We were given 5 graphs ahead of time to study and ask questions about and then one of those was used on the exam. The first paper was pretty straightforward and required us to analyze a graph (based on polling data) that they gave us. I was a bit confused on how to structure the paper but went to office hours and a TA was able to clear it up pretty nicely. The final paper required us to use a bit more creativity; we had to come up with a potential slogan and message for a presidential candidate. You're provided with clear instructions on how to do this well so it's not too difficult. I believe the final paper our quarter was different than the previous so it might change. Your participation grade comes from discussion. You are only allowed one unexcused absence from discussion. Just showing up isn't enough to earn you participation points; the TA actually keeps track of how many times you talk. Some of the discussions were based off of reading, so you probably need to at least partially do the reading so that you can contribute. Part of our participation grade also comes from three short, 600-word essays we had to turn in during discussion; these were about our upbringing, beliefs, etc, so were pretty easy to write. Professor Vavreck is the best! I've never seen someone so enthusiastic about the Constitution.She is so well-versed in the topics of this class, it never ceased to amaze me. Her presentations were always well organized and always seemed to be exactly timed to fit the length of the class. When she spoke, I almost felt as if she were giving a performance rather than a lecture, as it was so entertaining and well thought out.
Easiness 3.1/ 5
Clarity 4.9/ 5
Workload 3.3/ 5
Helpfulness 4.7/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2019 - Okay honestly, compared to other clusters, this cluster is NOT that bad at all. It's perfect for STEM majors that want to knock out 4 GEs (Literary, Visual, Historical, Social) but don't want to be bored to death. Attendance is not required/taken during lecture, but the lectures aren't posted online so I recommend taking the extra step to just go every lecture so that you're not making up for it later. I took this class because it seemed like the fun cluster, with music and politics, but don't forget about the history and English aspects! Professor Decker, who teaches the Literature, Film/TV lectures is so dull, but I'm surprised I haven't fallen asleep alongside my friends. His voice is very monotone and he often goes off on unrelated tangents that stray away from what he is trying to say. He means well, but sometimes it's hard to focus on the words he says when you've just woken up. Professor Reiff is only slightly more interesting because she sometimes discusses interesting topics, but most of the time its just a bunch of words - like full-on paragraphs - on a lecture slide and before you know it class is over and you have no recollection of what she said. The best Professors are Vavreck and Fink because they like to engage with the class with questions or opinions, they seem excited and awake, and they make jokes as best as they can. There is no final for this class, only a midterm, and the TAs usually prepare their sections pretty well with what to expect. The Literature Paper and Political Science polling paper are designed to be vague and open-ended, so just remember to specify your topic a little bit and make sure you have something to say, theme-wise. Overall, I didn't think I was going to get an A because I'm not that great at papers...and also because they never posted the grades for the assignments online....but anyway it's possible!
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