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Ortiz has very interesting material to present to the class, and she's very enthusiastic about her lectures.
However being too passionate is not always a good thing.
I took the GE 20 cluster with her (interracial dynamics) and she had a tendancy to be biased. In the middle of lecture, she can get into debates with students who question her lectures.
If you're a Latino/a and/or some other "colored" minority and/or from a lower socioeconomic background, you'll probably love her lectures. But if not, you might feel uncomfortable in her class.
I took Professor Ortiz in the Fall 2010 with GE Cluster 20A. As a Physics major, I thought the GE Cluster would be a great way to knock out most my liberal arts GE's (since none of my 12 AP's and 3 CC counted for them. OTL) and Writing 2 requirement, all while enjoying some expected controversy and debate in the class. Far far from what I initially expected. My initial impression of her was that she was very friendly and nice. However, as her lectures in the Interracial Dynamics Cluster continued, her views became overwhelmingly apparent. Although she did manage to keep people's attentions in class, she goes about the wrong way to do so. I felt that most of her claims were opinion-based rather than factual-based. The arguments she presented in class were highly controversial; yet, she would not allow students to counter or even question. Several people have been ridiculed in class for simply raising their hand. This usually keeps students on edge, preferring to stay clear of trouble. I was quite astonished of the intolerance of opinions deviating from her own. Even though she does present many statistical figures in her lectures, anyone who have taken basic statistics course knows that's not the whole story. Statistics can be greatly affected based on the selected sample of people, how the experiment is run, initial factors, etc... So there is a potential that the explanation for a certain phenomenon can vary. However, variation from her own opinion are generally considered wrong. Selected reading material generally showed only one side of a story, not both. In addition, her PhD student (Sylvia Zamora) was also quite similar in nature. If you don't agree with her opinion, she tends to cut off discussion and tell you why you are wrong without allowing you to rebuttal or support your claims. I generally consider myself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Yet, my socially liberal views were very conservative when juxtaposed to Professor Ortiz and Sylvia's views. Likewise, it discourages students like me with more moderate views to speak in class and in discussion which accounts for 25% of your grade. :\ It's a pretty unfortunate system. How I and many others went about was to pretend we agreed with the professor and the TA. Its a bit unfortunate that this class is only presented from one perspective. Being told to "unlearn everything we learned so far and relearn how it should be" is rather extreme considering that everything was presented in a pro-extreme leftist views. This class definitely would have had much more potential if both sides of the arguments are presented in an unbiased light. Unfortunately, life is not fair (one lesson that I learned in GE20A that I must agree with).