Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Love the professor. Boyd really makes this class- he is so enthusiastic about what he teaches and it's obvious. He really tries to teach people rather than focus on grades. He is super funny and I love his anecdotes.
As for the class- GO TO CLASS. That's probably the biggest difference between having a good grade and a bad grade. And when you're at class, PAY ATTENTION. Basically everything on his exams are based directly from lecture.
The readings are incredibly helpful and really get down to the nitty gritty of the legislation. I would say if you are really really short on time you can skip some but they are actually all enjoyable reads that I would highly recommend reading even just for fun. The readings really cement the ideas and clear up on some things.
An absolutely phenomenal class. Professor Boyd is honestly such an amazing professor who really knows his stuff and is extremely approachable. He throws in some humor here and there in his lectures, which is always an added plus. Professor Boyd made a lot of these otherwise seemingly difficult policies and regulations in U.S. environmental law seem super easy to understand, and I know that the knowledge that I learned in this class will help me in my career path further down the road. Our TA, Will Krantz, was also super awesome. I personally did not go to any of their office hours, and I actually regret doing so seeing that both were very nice people. Professor Boyd seemed to know quite a few students' names and would call them by their names in class when they raised their hands, so he'll definitely remember you (in a good way).
As for the structure, this class meets 2 times a week for an hour and fifteen minutes, and there's no discussion, which is super chill. Professor Boyd will literally spend a quarter to a half of every lecture doing a recap of the previous lecture, so if you skip a lecture or two, don't be too worried. But with that being said, it is absolutely crucial that you try to attend all the lectures because all the exams my year were based on content covered in class. He explicitly says if a particular concept or idea is important to know, and sure enough, all of such things showed up on the midterm/final. In terms of content, the first half of the class is about court cases and how environmental law came about, while the second half is mainly about specific environmental statutes. There is also a focus on environmental justice all throughout, which was a unique perspective that I absolutely enjoyed (and never really thought about before).
The class grade was composed of 30% problem exercises (2 problem exercises worth 15% each), 30% midterm, and 40% final. Since Professor Boyd realized he made the problem exercises way too hard last year, he made them easier our year. And let me tell you, they were stupidly easy. I started them the night before and got full credit on both. You basically have to read a trimmed-down statute that you learn about in class and answer 10 questions about them (for a total of 20 points). Most of our questions were literally super straightforward and required 1 sentence or were yes/no. The second problem exercise even had an extra credit question. You get the first problem exercise a little bit before the midterm, and the second one comes right before Thanksgiving break. I will say though, even though the questions were really easy and you could just ctrl + F the document for the right key words, the point is to learn how to read statutory text, so I would really recommend trying to read what's given for understanding.
However, because of this change, Professor Boyd said he made our midterm harder than last year, which to be honest, was kind of hard to believe because even the midterm felt super easy. I think the change he was alluding to was the fact that last year's midterm was all MC, whereas this year's had mainly MC and a good amount of short-answers as well. About 3/4ths of the short answers were technical, while the other 1/4 required you to take on a "policy maker" mindset and provide a solution to a flaw in a current environmental regulation or explain how a certain scenario would be regulated based on the environmental regulations we learned. Fair enough, considering this is an environmental policy and regulation class after all. However, I felt like the free-response were actually easier than the MC's. I got an 84% on the midterm, which was exactly the average, and I think I got baited by a good amount of multiple choice questions that involved the LEVEL/EXTENT of regulation that certain statutes required, and time periods for revising regulations. I could've sworn a lot of the answers I got wrong had the correct key words, but I never bothered to ask why I got them wrong, but nevertheless, the wording of some questions/level of detail is something to consider. However, the vast majority of the questions were very straightforward and easy; reminded me of AOS 1 and 2 in terms of difficulty. Most people left early too. Oh, and there were 2 extra credit questions (MC).
The final was very similar in format (just longer), and for us, I think most, if not all, of the MC questions were only about the second half of the class. Most were gimme questions, but a good portion definitely involved very specific details. Since our class didn't finish the Clean Air Act before the midterm, a surprising amount of detail was tested on the second part of the Clean Air Act, which may have gotten a lot of people since that was old stuff, so if the same thing happens, I'd highly recommend spending a lot of time studying that latter part. The short answers were definitely a lot easier than the midterm, and only one was hypothetical/asked you to make a solution to a scenario. Again, most people left early. There was no extra credit on the final though. I happened to get a 70/77 on the final.
The class also has 2 books, while the rest of the readings are posted on CCLE. Honestly, the readings were actually really good; I just didn't prioritize them and eventually stopped reading altogether by week 4. So yea, you don't actually have to read the books because Professor Boyd only tests what he says IN LECTURE (unless it changes in the future). However, if you really want to get the most out of this class, I would absolutely recommend getting the readings and doing all the other readings. They really help you understand the applications of the statutes learned in class and also help clarify a lot of things that Professor Boyd doesn't have time to explain in lecture (but aren't tested). He'll occasionally ask questions to the class about the reading (he doesn't force anyone to participate or really expect THAT much participation), and you get clout if you can answer the questions, since I noticed a lot were quite easy if you did the reading. Also, from what I've seen, the PDFs of the books aren't on the internet.
The main difficulty with this class is that because it's so new, there isn't a lot of practice material out there. The exams, like I mentioned earlier, are pretty straightforward, but there's definitely a good amount of questions that have a unique style to Professor Boyd. My advice would to be study everything that's mentioned in class (and ideally memorize it all), star the points that Professor Boyd says are important, and have those points nailed down before exams. Also, GO TO THE TA REVIEW SESSIONS (if they still exist). We got 2 free midterm questions during the review session that showed up word-for-word on the midterm. Not quite lucky for the final review session, but we were still hinted at what to focus on/study.
Overall, I am extremely satisfied with this class, and although I fell asleep a couple of times, I absolutely loved it. It's definitely a "you get what you put out of it" type of class, and seeing that it's a requirement for the environmental science major, for those of you who are in fact ES majors, try to treat it as seriously as you can, because even though it's not particularly hard to do bad in this class, the material you learn in this class is the stuff you really have to know going into the workforce.
UCLA is very lucky to have professor Boyd. He is such a passionate, engaging professor and it's really obvious that he is good at what he does (environmental law). The class itself is pretty chill in the sense that there isn't much work, but it definitely isn't an easy class. I don't fault Boyd for that, as environmental law can be difficult to grasp for undergrads who have never taken a law class before.
Your grade is made up of two homework assignments, one midterm, and one final.
For the homework, you have to read two statutes and answer some specific questions about them. The first statute assignment was really difficult, and many people did poorly. However, being the fair professor that he is, Professor Boyd made the second one a lot more doable, and there was even extra credit on it.
The midterm was tricky, and he made ours completely multiple choice. You really need to know your stuff, as there are so many little details about environmental law that you need to remember. Our midterm was only 40 questions, so you couldn't miss too many.
The final was mostly multiple choice, but there were also a few short answer questions. I found the short answer questions very fair, and some of them were kinda freebies (Rachel Carson questions, for example).
Boyd truly wants you to succeed, and if you are ever concerned about your grade, talk to him! Seriously, he will listen and actually take your concerns seriously. He is by far one of the most generous professors I have ever met or had at UCLA. I legit got a D- on the midterm and a C- on the final, as law is just something I struggle with. Straight scale, I had a C- in the class, but in the end I got a B-! Boyd bumped me up an entire 9 percent, which is insane, and I am so grateful to him. Seriously, I thought I was going to fail this class.
Even though this class is hard and I struggled, I would totally take it again, as Boyd is just that great. You won't regret taking this class!
Walked out of env 140 with a much greater understanding of the United States' history of environmental laws. I was able to apply the knowledge I learned in Boyd's class to an internship. Boyd has an amazing amount of professional work experience and he leads the Governor's Climate and Forest Task Force.
Funny and engaging lecturer. He is super helpful in office hours, too.
Personally, I think it's difficult to get an A in the course unless you regularly attend office hours. Even if you read the book religiously and never miss lecture, it's key to learn how he words his test questions. They can be a bit tricky.
Overall, solid prof and course.
words simply cannot describe the level of passion and approachability that professor boyd has. if he offered another class, i would happily take him in a heart beat, no questions asked. the professor is very engaging and the material learned, although it covers law and can sometimes be difficult, is taught in an understandable way. if you ever need help, go to his office hours! i got the lowest score on the first midterm but still managed with a B in the class. this is what the class consists of for more context for what the 10 weeks will entail.
two individual projects/write-ups on a statute: for us, it was on the clear air act and RICRA. not extremely hard, but can be confusing with the legal terminology, highly recommend going to the TAs office hours for more assistance since when i went, nobody was there so it was basically 1-on-1 learning.
midterm: like i said before, i legit got 20/40 on the midterm, but still managed a B in the class. Boyd is by far the most understanding and fair professor you will take so long as you demonstrate you want to learn.
final: multiple choice and fill in the blank covering everything in the class. make sure to study for this since some questions were straight from lecture, but some required additional thinking by taking concepts from one statute and applying it to another.
overall, whoever takes boyd will absolutely love him, his teaching, and his lectures. 75 minutes goes by extremely quick with him and his level of engagement. just wish he'd use a reusable water bottle that was the only negative about him :)
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