Phil Gussin

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Easiness 3.2/ 5
Clarity 4.0/ 5
Workload 3.2/ 5
Helpfulness 3.8/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Excellent professor. He is really funny, easy-going, and the kind of guy whose lectures you want to go to. He gives students the opportunity to participate, he shows YouTube videos and tells funny stories, and he uses a lot of Jon Stewart style self-deprecating humor. As far as easiness goes, it's fair to say that it's an easy B but a difficult A. The key to doing well is knowing the notes he puts online by heart and really understanding (not just memorizing) his lectures. The points are not given "at random" at all; it will only seem that way if you didn't comprehend the material. His classes are 10% online quizzes (he'll occasionally have a pop quiz in class, but mostly that just means signing your name on a piece of paper proving you attended), and the rest is the midterm and final. Most tests he gives out involve 20 fill in the blank questions (you get a list of the questions ahead of time online, from the online quizzes) and then 2 mandatory essay questions and 4 essay questions you choose out of 6 options. There is very little reading, relative to most professors, and to be honest you don't even have to do the reading; you can just skim or "ctrl f" sometimes for the answers. I don't know what the previous poster was talking about, but I've now taken three courses with Phil, and I can tell you he has the logic of a vulcan. He doesn't show much (if any) political bias, and he says things as they are. To give you an idea of his objectivity, halfway through one of his classes he asked people to raise their hands if they thought he was a Democrat or a Republican. A room full of Poli Sci majors and half the class said Democrat and half the class said Republican. Cool-headed, he doesn't get upset or offended very easily. For example, if you're messing around on your computer in class, he'll ask you what you're doing on it, make fun of you, and politely ask you to stop. The most awesome thing about Phil is that he honestly cares about teaching. He has zero interest in doing political research, which might mean that he won't have a long career at UCLA, but it does mean that he's a guy who really focuses all his energy on his students and being there for them. His office hours are packed because the students love him and because they want answers to the online quizzes, so get there early; there'll be a line. It is true that a few times he has sent out emails asking people he suspects of cheating to come forward. He sends it to all his students to give people he knows for a fact cheated a chance to redeem themselves; don't freak out if you didn't cheat and received the email. (word to the wise, don't cheat) The previous poster said that Phil made racist comments; I have no idea what he or she is talking about. Phil is very sensitive about people's cultural heritage, and any time he brings up the topic of ethnicity, he let's everyone speak. The poster has the right to his/her opinion, but I have literally no idea where it came from. If you want an entertaining lecturer who really cares about teaching, take Phil.
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