I took Sociology of Race & Labor (M165) with Sawyer and found it to be a very interesting and easy course. Sawyer is very articulate and passionate and definitely knows what he's talking about. The grade was based on section (which was weighted quite heavily), a midterm, & a take home final. The class covered historical and contemporary topics ranging from slavery to unions and featured lots of films so it was fun. I felt like I walked away with a much better understanding of labor issues and definitely enjoyed the day-to-day lectures of the course.
I did study abroad with Professor Sawyer in Puerto Rico with the hopes that he could be my adviser for research. It was the best decision of my life to take that trip, because him as my adviser would have been TERRIBLE! He was more concerned being on vacation than teaching us anything- all he did was tell stories about his own life that barely had anything to do with the course material. He was unapproachable and really made me feel like I had wasted my money and time being there (IN PUERTO RICO! Seriously smh). I don't know how he is in an actual classroom at UCLA, but I won't bother trying to find out. His lack of professionalism and uninvolved attitude has put me off ever wanting to take a class with him again.
I took M180A with him and I loved it. The readings were really interesting and lectures were always interesting. Sawyer pushes boundaries when he talks about touchy topics, but in a good way. He says things I think most people would be too afraid to admit and his honestly and bluntness is great. Lectures weren't completely necessary to do well in the class. As long as you did the readings and engaged in discussion, you should do fine. The whole class is only based on a multiple choice midterm, final paper, and discussion. The midterm was soooo easy because he provided a short study guide on a couple key terms he would test us on. He also provided 3 extra credit questions as well. You had to be really stupid to have gotten anything less than a B on it. The final paper is only 10 pages and you get to analyze any website of your choice from the list he provides and relate it to the course topics. It was really fun to write a paper on whichever topic you please and whichever topic intrigued you. I did mine on Black Feminism because it was something I was really interested in. Discussion was what you made of it. I had Arash and he gave us some interesting discussion questions a couple days before discussion. That way, you prepared well and knew exactly what we were going to talk about and I think discussion flowed a lot smoother because of it. People had more time to think about what they were going to say. Overall, I highly recommend this class for someone who wants something both interesting and a little slower paced.
Professor Sawyer was one of my lecturers in my Interracial Dynamics cluster. When it was his turn to lecture, I generally enjoyed him. He is very friendly and nice, and likes to make jokes/keep lectures lighthearted. His availability wasn't too high due to some health issues, but he was almost always in class on the days that it was his turn to lecture. Otherwise, he wasn't there. He's easy to listen to and I thought his lectures were interesting!