Robert Trager

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Easiness 2.8 / 5
Clarity 3.4 / 5
Workload 2.8 / 5
Helpfulness 3.0 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2021 - This class is supposed to be a seminar class (30 students taught directly by Traeger). But due to a "department error", when I took it (Fall 2021), it was structured as a lecture with circa 100 students and 2 TAs. Traeger is a fairly run-of-the-mill UCLA Poli Sci Professor. He's clearly brilliant and accomplished, but he imbues the same “I have plenty of important things to do, this class is largely an errand” attitude as 80% of the tenured political-science faculty here do. Readings were heavy and didn't feel particularly well organized. Lecture consisted of him loosely ranting while slides were largely blank (containing of only a few words or unlabeled infographics). If you asked him a question that was related to something remotely logistical, his response was always “just ask your TA”. He also canceled class... twice. He'd make efforts to rile-up enthusiasm (he often posed open-ended questions to the class), but they usually fell flat. Grading-wise, the syllabus initially consisted of 2 prompt-less short papers (4-5 pages) that correspond to 2-week's readings of your choosing (basically you just discuss the readings or tie them together, not always easy). The final was originally a 12-15 page no-prompt research paper, later shortened to 10 pages by our TAs. This was pretty hellish and unclear. The guidelines were to develop an original international relations theory and devise a statistical test to see if it's legitimate. That approaches graduate-level work and was super difficult. Thankfully the TA's went pretty easy grading wise. I have a feeling that Traeger's grading would've been different. This class was fine in lecture-format (with TA's as graders), but I have a feeling it would be much harder and more unclear with Trager as it's main instructor. I would avoid this class in general-- especially if it's in a seminar format.
Easiness N/A / 5
Clarity N/A / 5
Workload N/A / 5
Helpfulness N/A / 5
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