Fall 2023 - If you are sensitive / easily offended and can't take a joke, also if you aren't honestly interested in the subject, then avoid at all costs. But if you want to learn, and if you get a kick out of sarcasm and puns, I would HANDS DOWN recommend Colacurcio. Some students will love him and others will hate him, a point made obvious from the other reviews. But if you are like me you'll find his lectures great fun. Who would have thought the Puritans and The Scarlet Letter would be so interesting??? Not me prior to this class. Others have commented that you can get away without doing the reading and still learn a lot; I would agree, but would add that you will get WAY more out of the class if you do the readings. It can seem like a lot at first but not unmanageable (even with a schedule of time-consuming science classes etc like I had at the time), and if you have an interest in American literature (which you hopefully do, otherwise be warned you will not like this class) you'll want to read everything anyway. Colacurcio can appear gruff and a little intimidating, he is old-school for sure, but he is very very smart and knowledgable about his subject, and not at all scary once you get used to him. He is an easy grader if you pay attention; we wrote paragraphs every class and mine were an embarrassing mess from beginning to end; but I did fine anyways. We had to write four long papers; mid-term and final were IDs, not hard. He is lax re: deadlines and gave us extra time past finals week to complete the final and last paper which was unbelievably helpful. Overall, I learned SO much from this professor and would highly recommend him :)
The people here trashing Professor Colacurcio are the sort of people who don't actually give two hells about English, and are "simpletons" themselves with no idea of the texture or measure of real learning. Yes, Professor Colacurcio is old, a little scatter-brained, but to call him a bad professor -- you don't deserve to go a school like UCLA saying such a thing, frankly. If you don't want to learn, rot your brain elsewhere. Colacurcio is not the professor for you -- and indeed, UCLA is not the SCHOOL for you. Professor Colacurcio is difficult professor if 1. you want easy classes and no reading (why you're an English major at all then -- you may want to reconsider); 2. you aren't interested in history; 3. you want a snappy, hip-with-the-times lecturer who speaks the kids' lingo, yo. When I go to Professor Colacurcio's office hours I don't understand half his remarks, but that's the beauty of it. He knows so much I DON'T know. I don't understand so I ASK, and I LEARN. That's what we're here for, taking upper division classes. Easy GE, fine, but this is the major you're making a living out of, right? If you CARE about English, about this degree you're paying for, distinguished professors like Colacurcio are a blessing. We are very fortunate to have him. Fly-by-night English majors beware him; lovers of language, of history, or literature, rejoice.
Winter 2014 - Professor Colacurcio is great. His lectures are dense but he is an easy grader. He passes around a role sheet because he takes attendance into consideration. Definitely come to class, he is a great teacher and I learned a lot about American literature/history from him. I received an A- when I really deserved a B.
Spring 2017 - Do NOT take classes with Colacurcio. If you can avoid him, do so. The class might as well be called "Emerson's entire collection." If you're into that, congrats. Colacurcio would probably give Emerson a handy if he could. But if you wanted like other authors??like it's not happening. He assigns other readings but doesn't go into as much detail as he does with the Emerson readings - which are pain in the ass. His quizzes (Three quizzes with average 80+ True/False questions) are hard as shit. He had to make them take-home bc my class was so bad at them, but he usually gives 15-20 mins to answer them in class. His essay prompts are unclear. His syllabus is unclear as hell, you don't know which reader to use, the readings aren't clearly labeled at all, adn sometimes he would assign readings not in the readers and not tell you. He doesn't use slides so you just have to put up with 2 hours of BS being spewed out of a 80 y/o man's mouth and HOPE you don't space out for the 10 minutes in total of actual material. The final for this class was so hard he actually had to drop some of the portions of the test bc everyone failed. Yeah, he's an easy grader but it's only because he knows after one quarter with him he made you suicidal. And even then, like I'm pretty sure my solid B is one of the higher grades in the class and that's because I had a study group of like six people and none of us knew what was going on. Don't take him. Not worth the "easy A"
Professor Colacurcio is nothing short of a joke. He is a shining example of an inept uncaring simpleton who somehow rose to gain the mantel of "Distinguished" Professor which tells me that perhaps it might be much easier to obtain that honor that I had previously thought. He is scatterbrain, late for classes and a joke to most of his students. Avoid his class if at all possible because you will not only learn absolutely nothing but will be subjected to his childish tirades and fits of cursing.
Spring 2021 - Professor Colacurcio is definitely old school. His lectures are fantastic and thought-provoking. His quizzes are tough and long, but he only assigns three. He gives you three days to do them and drops your lowest score. He is lenient with grades and with deadlines. His final was 10 IDs, but he gave 16 passages to choose from... not tough at all if you've reviewed notes. Even though he's gruff, his class is well worth taking. It's important to keep up with reading as much as possible and take detailed notes. Altogether, I would recommend this class to a friend. I learned so much!
I strongly recommend that only 4th year/seniors take Colacurcio. He has dry wit and biting humor; he cusses in class and makes fun of himself, the authors, the students and anyone else under the sun. He does care about his students and he loves his job please be warned: THIS IS NOT AN EASY CLASS. He gives out "shitty little quizzes" (his term), essays, midterm, final and extra reading essay. The reading load is so overwhelming, you will feel like you're back in the 10-series. It's VERY DIFFICULT TO PULL OFF AN A. I think everyone should take at least professor like Cola before they graduate (especially if ENGL is your major/minor) but I can't imagine a first/second year surviving through his course without wrecking his/her GPA. Enjoy! He's a blast :)