Dr. Watson is one of the best professors I have encountered at UCLA. His ENGL 19 seminar on poetry was phenomenal. We read a few poems a week and then discussed them in a small classroom setting. Dr. Watson is brilliant and what is he has to say regarding poetry (or anything) is engaging. He would invite us out to dinner weekly, which was pretty cool. Dr. Watson has taught at UCLA for over thirty years and at Harvard for a sometime, too. Our group was pretty exceptional, though, which I know made a big difference in how enjoyable the class was. At the end of the quarter, we all signed a card and gave it to Dr. Watson—we liked him that much! (I can't comment on his graded courses.)
Fall 2022 - Professor Watson is an amazing, brilliant man. He has so many fascinating topics to talk about and truly has a passion for teaching about Shakespeare. That said, I found the lectures really boring. I couldn't sit for 1.25 hours and listen to him lecture about the play without any slides. But it was nonetheless very thought-provoking. Overall, there 5 parts of your grade (Short Essay, Midterm, Long Essay, Final, and Participation). The essays were fine, just go to your TA if you need help. The midterm was pretty easy as well, and the final was weird because of the TA strike. The workload was tough, as you read a new play every week. So don't take this class unless you're really passionate about learning Shakespeare, and have pretty good writing skills.
Winter 2017 - Professor Watson is so genuine, kind, and hilarious. He is also unfathomably smart--I was constantly blown away by his level of intelligence and knowledge. Watson thrives in small classroom settings (I believe he only teaches seminars), and it is really cool to be able to be in such a small class with such an esteemed professor. Honors 115 meets once a week for three hours. You read a considerable amount of poems that are assigned each week, in addition to some background reading on the history of England and whatnot. The first five weeks of class, you have to post a weekly response on CCLE--nothing crazy, just 300 words or so. Watson wants to see that you are passionate and really engaging with the material--as long as you show interest, actually try to close read the poems, and engage in the class conversation, you will do fine. The big part of your grade in this class is the final paper. This is in place of a final exam, and Watson is super fair about it. After Week 5, the essay is your only assignment (other than the weekly readings). It is 10-12 pages long on any topic you like, using the poetry you've read in class. Seriously, Watson is so understanding and chill about this paper--he let our class turn it in the Tuesday after finals week if we needed more time. Watson truly is a lover of learning and discussion, and as long as you enjoy those things too and come to class ready to engage you'll do great. Watson isn't one of those professors on an egotistical trip--he really cares about his students and loves hearing their thoughts. 10/10 recommend taking class with him!
Every positive thing on this bulletin is true. Professor Watson is interesting, organized, funny, entertaining and does have a unique talent in that he can make you feel like you're the only person he's talking to in a room of 80 plus students. If you need to take Shakespeare, take no one else--and I'm sure he's great at teaching other subjects as well.
Watson is phenomenally engaging and inspiring, very humble, and somehow speaks in perfect sentences while lecturing. Cant overstate how much he brought to the plays. I had never taken a Shakespeare class and left 150b wishing the english major still demanded 3 quarters of shakespeare.
Winter 2019 - There's a reason Watson is highly awarded and a department favorite. He's an entertaining, funny lecturer and a genuinely pleasant and helpful person. The content moves at just the right pace and the essay prompts give just enough guidance without being constricting. Highly recommend this class.
So I have heard so many great things about Professor Watson, both from personal sources and online reviews, but I have to say that his 153 Early Renaissance Literature class was uninspiring. We read so much material for each class meeting and either talked very briefly of them all or talked in depth about a third of them. This makes it really hard to study when the midterm and final come around because there are texts you're supposed to know about and be able to identify even though they had never been discussed in class. All the things I've heard people say about his Shakespeare classes just didn't happen in this class. We read a load of poetry that all sounded the same, and then had a few inspiring texts that we spent no more than a day on. All in all, I feel like Professor Watson knows so much and can teach so much, but the class somehow ended up being more overwhelming than interesting.