All Ratings and Reviews for Thomas Wake
Wake is the most immature, irresponsible and uncaring teacher I have come across. Psychologically he is about eight-years-old. Terrible, boring and disinterested lecturer.
Dr. Wake is not the type of professor to hold your hand throughout the quarter. If you want to perform real archaeological research, no one is going to hold your hand in the real world. However. the good thing about this class is that you ARE doing the research, and when you get stuck he's there to help.
I learned much more from being in this class than by reading about the topics in some stupid book written 50 years ago. Don't be fooled by his eight-year-old attitude. Although he is pretty relaxed and informal he's a watershed of information, and he is there to help!
Grading seems to be secondary to actually making students learn something from the research... the final was comprised of the same EXACT test as the midterm with a couple extra things thrown in.
Prof Wake is an awesome professor. His lectures are extremely entertaining as he likes to include his personal accounts of work that he has done in the field. Tests are simple, just go to lectures, and don't let the readings on the syllabis intimidate you...you don't have to do them. Just study whats on the review sheet and its a guaranteed A. Wake really seemed to enjoy having his students drop by during his office hours in the zoo archeaology lab. Take his Anth 115: super easy class, great professor.
That I have taken five more courses with Dr. Wake after my first course with him speaks to the quality of education, inspiration, and professionalism that Dr. Wake has provided throughout the period that I have known him. I can candidly say that he is one of the most inspirational, down-to-earth professors I've had at UCLA, and has provided direction and honest advice to those students who deserve his efforts. Dr. Wake is definitely not your typical professor, and those who are motivated by self-driven inquiry rather than spoon fed information should most definitely take a course with him.
Dr. Wake's methods is that of independence learning. He encourages you to drop by his zooarchaeology laboratory (a really entertaining place!) for hands-on training in analytical methods, and will give you excellent guidance only upon request. Those accustomed to being told what to read or do will probably have the hardest time in his courses. Those willing to put in the time and effort are rewarded in grades, knowledge, and even friends with classmates and a very rare professor.
Granted, Dr. Wake's courses are innately challenging (you will have to put in extra time outside of class), but you will always have the satisfied feeling of learning something innovative and practical. He is a very fair grader, assiging grades that are very deserving of your efforts. Through meeting some of his students, I can say that those who put in the time and effort required of his courses, rather than whine incessantly, always came out with a B+ or higher. Dr. Wake's honest, non-politically correct humor and animated personality make his courses ever the more enjoyable. DO NOT miss a rare course with Dr. Wake! Trust me, a good portion of you will find that you will be rewarded with more than just a good grade. And if there's any professor that will help you prepare for actual archaeological work in the 'real world', this is the guy to take for a course!
ARCH OF EXTINCTION - You will be memorizing over 150 scientific species names and the location of multiple countries, ecosystems, and other important places. You won't have a lot of notice for what to focus on. It's a lot of work for one class. If you have any interest in zooarchaeology, the megafauna of the Pleistocene, animal conservation, etc... you will be able to make this class interesting for yourself with some effort. It's just a lot of material, and he isn't the most accessible professor. He never answered emails from me or my classmates. He is very helpful in office hours though. He also does offer extra credit and he does give study guides, which is great!
ARCHAEOLOGY OF EXTINCTION 118
Honestly, I love Dr. Wake as a person. His stories and anecdotes are great and he is definitely passionate about his field of study, but I would NOT recommend his course unless you are a fan of taxonomy and geography. There are map quizzes and taxon quizzes, which really have nothing to do with the lectures. You are expected to anticipate the Genus and Species names that will be on the quizzes as well as the countries, not from a study guide or lectures, but from the readings. Though I went to his office hours and asked for pointers repeatedly, he was not willing to give any direction at all. That being said, the study guide for the midterm was very helpful and so was the one for the final. I think Dr. Wake is a great professor, but he is not willing to go above and beyond for his students like some other professors I've had at UCLA. He only offered extra credit after the class repeatedly begged for it because most people got low scores on the quizzes, around 40-50%.
Going to class and keeping up with the readings is essential.
Professor Wake is one of the most amazing professors at UCLA. I've taken all of his courses, and they were a bit difficult to handle at first. The professor, however, does an excellent job of helping you along the way. Since this is a selected topics course, there are no more than 15 people in the class. Therefore, the professor gets very involved with his students. This is a hands-on learning experience that beats any lecture. I have learned more from his selected topics courses than any other Anthropology lectures. His tests are a little difficult, but if you are attending all the lectures and keeping up with the readings then you are in solid shape of getting a good grade. Dr. Wake is a brilliant man, and a gem to the Anthropology/Cotsen Archaeology department!
Archaeology of Lower Central America
This class was fun and easy. Every week he gave a 10pt quiz, but often times the quiz was just signing in to make sure you were there.
You have to memorize a lot of geography and dates and things — tests are memorization based. But I found that pretty doable.
The grade is based on those quizzes, midterm, final and a final research paper on a topic of your choice.
Professor Wake has a sort of dry humor I enjoyed and he’s really great in his field, I liked hearing about his experiences in Central America.
Overall I recommend.
Wake is the coolest professor ever. He assigns a ton of reading and his exams can be a lot of writing, but it's totally doable. First or second week of class, Wake busts out a bunch of frozen deer legs on the table for students to deflesh for their final projects. Using your hands to make tools or ornaments using the same technology as our ancestors was such a fun and immersive process. I highly recommend taking a class with Dr. Wake if you are at all interested in lithics.
This was a excellent course on the archaeology of Lower Central America. It covers the archaeology of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. It starts from the middle Pleistocene and ends at around 1500 A.D. It also covers topics such as paleo-Indian lithic technology and subsistence, and includes various culture areas and early material culture. Just keep in mind this course does not cover Mayan archaeology! Your grade consist of five quizzes, a midterm, and final exam. All quizzes were short written answers identifying material culture or identifying geographic points on a map. The midterm and final consisted of 20 questions each. Some questions on the exams were mix and match, others were short and long essay answers. To be honest the exams were not difficult if you did the readings and went to lecture. Plus he did provide study guides! Just keep in mind that he does assign a ton of reading the first 5 weeks. At times I became frustrated because we had over 100 pages of reading a week before midterms, ugh. It was tough for me because I had to grind while taking 4 courses this quarter; but it’s totally doable if you’re taking 3 classes. Also, Dr. Wake only answered 1 out of 3 emails I sent him and he didn’t give us our midterm grades until week 10! The latter due to some administrative departmental issues with acquiring a grader for our exams. I’m sure that’s not his usual grading routine, but nonetheless nerve racking. Other than that he was a excellent professor that is very insightful about archaeology and I would definitely recommend this class!
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