Sharon Gerstel

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Class Most Helpful Review
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CLASSES

ART HIS 21
Medieval Art See Full Profile

Overall 4.7 Easiness 3.9 Workload 3.4 Clarity 4.8 Helpfulness 4.7

Most Helpful Review

I took this class as a G.E. and I was met with more workload than I expected. There's a lot of reading, although nothing too out of the ordinary for North Campus courses, and you really have to study for those tests. It's mostly all memorization and there's two papers. The T.A.'s are really cool and easy graders. Professor Gerstel gives you more information during lectures than you'll be able to type down, but even if you don't do the textbook readings, the textbook has almost everything you'll need to know to study for tests (although I suggest actually fully reading the textbook if you can, it's very fascinating). Aside from that, I would highly recommended taking this class! The professor is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about medieval art and by the end of the course I was super imterested in the subject as well! These kind of classes make me wonder why I'm a South Campus major in the first place.

(Winter Quarter 2018)
ART HIS 51
Medieval Art See Full Profile

Overall 4.8 Easiness 2.5 Workload 2.8 Clarity 4.7 Helpfulness 4.7

Most Helpful Review

Took art hist 51 Medieval art. Great class and the professor is really nice. you can learn everything you expect from the class and get any answers about your questions during office hour. Also, the grade is fair. Most people can get A in the class. Selling all the books needed for the class.

(July 31, 2015)
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ART HIS 56B
Chinese Art See Full Profile

Overall 4.3 Easiness 3.0 Workload 2.5 Clarity 4.3 Helpfulness 4.7

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Medieval Art is great if art history is your forte, but if it's not, this is a subject that many would probably think is boring. However, Professor Gerstel is an outstanding speaker! She engages with her audience and incorporates the modern-day relevance of the art as much as possible. She essentially makes a boring subject into an interesting and entertaining topic. A great part about her is that she totally WANTS you to succeed. In multiple lectures, she explicitly stated that she would fight the department if she had to to give as many people A's as possible.

Now, just because she is an amazing person and the course is generally easy, don't assume you will be doing absolutely nothing. Honestly, don't try to sidestep the readings; just do them and write the (easy) papers in a way that makes sense and you will be just fine. For the written papers, the grading generally depends on your TA. Luckily, I had Cami (the deaf one) who was really sweet and graded really easily. Some of my other friends, on the other hand, got a TA whose average grade was a B. Overall, just make sure you go to a TA office hour to go over ideas and editing and you will be fine.

As for the identification and essay exams, they were very manageable. Definitely go to every lecture and review the main elements that show up in a lot of the art. Usually, Gerstel will point out which of the art motifs are important. Not as many people did too well on the first exam, so she made the second exam significantly easier. However, I will warn that she usually makes the last essay a little trickier (yet still manageable).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this course! As a south campus major, I appreciated the manageable workload and the extremely different environment of a north campus class. I recommend this class, whether you're into art history or not.

Side note: Just remember to go to lecture. At one of the final review sessions, there was this frat guy who obviously never went to class who asked a really obscure, irrelevant question about sculptures and it was just embarrassing lol.

(June 5, 2014)
ART HIS 105E
Byzantine Art See Full Profile

Overall 4.7 Easiness 2.8 Workload 2.5 Clarity 4.5 Helpfulness 4.3

Most Helpful Review

I really enjoyed taking this class. Professor Gerstel is an energetic and engaging lecturer who really cares about her students. It focussed on the middle Byzantine period (something not usually covered in survey courses). The art shown was amazing and beautiful, and the material was presented in an informative and entertaining way. The assignments were not your traditional essays and final. There was a midterm, which was straight forward and taken directly from course material and three paragraphs which each focussed on a topic which we went over extensively in lecture. It is not an “easy A” but it is an attainable one if you do your work and attend lectures. Overall, I would highly recommend taking any class offered by Professor Gerstel.

(Jan. 20, 2015)
ART HIS C115A
Advanced Indian Art Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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ART HIS C115A
Advanced Indian Art See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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ART HIS C115B
Advanced Chinese Art Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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ART HIS C115B
Advanced Chinese Art See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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ART HIS C116A
Middle Byzantine Art and Architecture See Full Profile

Overall 5.0 Easiness 4.5 Workload 3.0 Clarity 5.0 Helpfulness 5.0

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Byzantine Art was not AT ALL interesting to me before I took a class with Dr. Gerstel. After the first week of my lower-division class, I became a Byzantinist.

I've taken 3 classes with Dr. Gerstel, and scored very highly in all of them. The key to succeeding in her courses is simple: read, understand, participate, and enjoy. If you do the work, pay attention, and think about the material on your own, you will do well. Your effort will likely determine your grade in the course. Participation—based on attendance, punctuality, and more centrally on lecture material and readings—is weighted very heavily. Other than participation, there are four graded assignments: two exams, and two essays.

What makes this class special isn't just the material. It's the professor. Dr. Gerstel could teach anything and make it interesting, the same way David Attenborough could describe paint drying and turn it into a documentary.

I'm a senior, and I've had a lot of different professors. No one comes close to Dr. Gerstel—let me tell you why:

Professor Gerstel is, without question, the best professor at UCLA. She is the most kind, empathetic, brilliant, and passionate professor whose courses I have had the pleasure of taking. I am a minor in Art History, and originally wanted to study Contemporary Art. But because of her, I quickly became a Byzantinist. She makes every single topic interesting, applicable in a historical context, and encourages her students to stretch themselves and flex their mental muscle to understand the wider importance of the material she teaches. Dr. Gerstel encourages and facilitates class discussion—everyone in her course feels comfortable contributing. The passion with which she lectures transforms the subject matter into what almost seems like a story. The course feels, over the span of ten weeks, like a kind of captivating novel—one which you want to read and reread. The type of story that keeps you up at night, makes its way into conversation, and I'm serious here, even into your dreams.

Each lecture is methodically prepared and structured, but still organic in its presentation and delivery. Her eloquence and erudition are unparalleled, but she remains entirely humble and approachable. Her research is seemingly esoteric, but she integrates it into the course in a way that would grip even the most disinterested student.

This quarter, classmates of mine have gone through losses in their immediate family and suffered other tragedies, and she has proven consistently compassionate and accommodating. I am one of those students, and I feel safe, understood, and motivated with her at the front of the classroom. But, most importantly, I feel like Dr. Gerstel cares about me—she believes in me. Under her tutelage, I have become a better scholar, a better citizen, and an overall better person. And, I'm just one of her many students. I know that if she has had such a powerful impact on my life, she has done the same for each and every one of her other students. Every Bruin needs to experience one of her courses.

I'd say that more professors need to be like her, but no one could ever replicate the love and passion she has for her discipline and for her students. She is, for the reasons I've mentioned above and for countless others, the greatest professor I will ever have.

(Winter Quarter 2017)
ART HIS C116B
Late Byzantine Art and Architecture See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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ART HIS C216B
Late Byzantine Art and Architecture See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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