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Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
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This class was broken down during my term like this:
- 2 Problem Exercises (30% total, 15% each): You are asked to read a statute/regulation and answer 10 specific questions about it. Overall manageable, but some of the answers were pretty tricky/picky. The second exercise had an extra credit question.
- Midterm (30%): All multiple choice online through CCLE. Overall, was a reasonable test with a handful of specific questions to check reading comprehension. Read really carefully! Given over a 24 hour period and you had (I believe) 1 hr 15min to answer 50 multiple choice questions.
- Final (40%): All multiple choice through CCLE. Was a bit easier than the midterm and came with 5 extra credit questions. You had a bit over 2 hrs to answer the total 55 questions and was open for a 24 hr period.
Grading: This course was graded on a curve, where Boyd said that he would make the median a B+ or an A-. I don't know what he ended up doing. In the end, I was never too stressed about my grade in the class.
Textbook: This class had two texts that were moderately priced and then additional readings posted on the class website. Most of the readings were pretty straightforward, but could be a little dry at times. Each lecture had accompanying readings, so it was also a bit time consuming. I did all of the readings, but he did not test on any material not covered in lecture. They did directly tie to each lecture, so I think they were beneficial for me.
Lectures: The 2 recorded lectures for the week were posted on Tuesdays and they generally ranged between 50 minutes and 1hr 15min. The lectures had a straightforward structure. Boyd would begin each lecture with an in-depth overview of the previous lesson, which was nice to see what he emphasized/thought was important. After that he would cover new material. These lectures were pretty dense and covered lots and lots of material. Despite this, Boyd was clearly very passionate and enthusiastic about the material which helped engage me through the online format. We began the class covering general policy issues regarding pollution, etc, then transitioned into lectures that covered specific statutes (what they regulate, the parties that it regulates, etc). These statutes (there were about 7-8 big ones) provided a good background to understand the backbone of environmental policy and regulation in the US.
Professor: Overall Professor Boyd is by far the best professor that I have had at UCLA and I would jump at another chance to take a class with him. He was very clear in his lectures and provided fair assessments for students to show their knowledge. I felt like I left each lecture having learned something of importance and covered material relevant to the topic of environmental law. Boyd was a very clear lecturer. He also was very receptive to input from students on the class format, which was really nice with COVID and everything. During office hours, we could ask him anything. Usually the 2 hour session would begin with about 10-15 minutes of logistic questions, then about an hour discussing/clarifying lecture material, and the rest of the time we usually talked about his professional experience and other real-world issues at hand. Boyd would answer questions in a way that was clear and contextualizing, so everyone there could understand what he was talking about, but also targeted. He was very approachable in that sense and I never felt silly asking "stupid" questions. On top of everything, Boyd just seems like a really chill, smart dude.
In the end, I highly recommend this class. While it was not super super easy, I never felt overwhelmed or stressed out about it.
This was my very first asynchronous class for the Environmental Systems and Society Minor and I honestly didn't know what to expect. I was blown away by the sheer quality of the lectures. Despite never interacting with him once, I felt like I had known professor Boyd for years by the time the class had finished. He is so personable and passionate about what he teaches, it's only a tragedy that we've been robbed of the chance to take classes with him in person. Environmental law is a tough class in and of itself due to the language and sheer breadth of the material; however Boyd made it absolutely a pleasure to take and I learned an unbelievable amount despite being an Economics major with absolutely no background and limited interest in law. Despite being a law school professor and clearly being more used to teaching graduate students with more expertise than us, he tried his very best to make the class as relevant and interesting to us as possible. You have no idea how much I appreciated that. After taking a boatload of classes that can only be described as "glorified Khan Academy", this class was an absolute treat and something I looked to watching every single week. I would say in terms of improvement, perhaps we could've been a little better prepared for the close reading problem exercises. Perhaps in future iterations there could've been reading questions to go along with some of the important statutes or court cases we read, especially in the first few weeks where many of us were not intimately familiar with legal and statutory language. Other than that, I truly enjoyed this class, and despite changing it to P/NP this quarter for personal reasons, I would rate it as one of the best classes I've taken at this school. Thank you!
Truly one of the best if not the best professor I have had at UCLA, and also probably the only person who could make learning the details of environmental policy so engaging! His lectures were so organized (there are slides but they aren't posted, and sometimes it was hard to get everything down by hand) and he really works to ensure that students are learning and reviewing material. The two problem exercises (30%) were pretty easy, just requires careful reading. Tests were a little hard given that's pretty much the whole grade (70%) but he is a very fair grader. Readings are helpful and his selection of sources was great, but one could potentially do well enough without reading all of them. Professor Boyd cares so much about the subject and his students and it really shows- I genuinely wouldn't want to miss a class. Even though I usually love taking notes on my computer, I will admit the no technology rule did help me focus and absorb course material better.
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.
Helped me realize the importance of environmental law! Boyd is an amazing professor- highly recommend getting to know him
This is by far one of my favorite courses I’ve taken at UCLA so far! Very interesting material, and the Professor always keeps its lighthearted and engaging, plus he really stresses that he does not want anyone to fail/do bad in the course. While it is only broken up into a few assignments (the practice problems) he really helps you out by curving the class—I got a C- on the first PP which had me spooked but I ended up with an A- in the class because of the midterm and his curve. And he is overall a very kind and understanding man, due to the TA strike this quarter he mixed our 2nd practice problem and the final together, made it only on the material covered in the second half of the course, and put it online, which lifted a lot of stress in my opinion. You definitely still need to pay attention in the class, put effort into the practice problems and study for the midterm/finals, but if you do that you’ll for sure get a grade you’re happy with.
TAKE THIS CLASS, amazing professor, learned a ton. I rarely write Bruinwalk reviews, but felt the need to for this class.
This was my favorite class I've taken at UCLA. Professor Boyd was the most engaging, clear, and well-articulated Professor I've ever had. His classes were thought-provoking and engaging without taking away from the amount of material covered. I feel like I learned so much about environmental policy and regulation through this class while thoroughly enjoying my time. Overall, if you have the chance to take this class, do it!
The class is structured based on two project exercises (15% each), a midterm (30%) and a final (40%). The project exercises are reading dense environmental regulation and answering questions, but you have a lot of explanation and help if you need it. Ask your TA for help if you haven't dealt with or cited legal text before. For exams, make sure you read the questions carefully and listen in class. The bulk of Prof. Boyd's slides don't have text, so you have to actively listen. But don't worry about this too much because the portions of the lectures without slides are really engaging so you'll retain the information anyway. The stuff he makes slides about is really important overall. While the texts sound required, the only ones you need to read are the court cases. Don't spend any money on the books, Prof. Boyd summarizes them in class.
I wouldn't say this class was easy (also note I didn't get an A), but it was my first exposure to anything in the legal/policy realm at all, and I loved it (I'm sure you haven't figured that out thus far LOL). I can't say enough good things about Environ 140, would 5/5 recommend.
I have taken Environmental Science classes and law school classes. This class FAILS as either. After 10 weeks, I am left wondering what was the point. This class went over 2 federal statutes which for practical field/real life experience would have no relevance. Statute review is not learning about policy, how it is made or how it is used or manipulated to forward or hinder the environmental law, justice or practical use in the real world. Simply said, you can look up any statute on the internet. What you can not look up is practical experience on how policy interacts with environment. It is important to understand how the law can work to protect the environment but also as a means to protect those who may have interests that counter the climate movement. It is important to understand how the system as a whole works in order to work within the system. Learning about 1 or 2 statues (that will ultimately change over the years) does not give the needed tools to work in a systematic environment where policy is a living breathing entity. Additionally, the Professor truly did a disservice to his students by having a undeniable bias. Never did this Professor give multiple arguments of Supreme Court decisions, case law, opinions in book but only taught through a very liberal point of view. As pro environmentalist, we all would like to see favorable outcomes that protect the environment but this does not equip us in the real world when we have to combat real opponents that do not have like minds. Our job at UCLA is to gain the tools to understand policy so that we can out maneuver those who want to destroy the environment, to learn ways on how to effectively use and write policy so that we can protect the environment. THIS CLASS FAILS COMPLETELY AT THIS TASK. This Professor seems to only have knowledge in the area in which he wrote a research paper years ago. I have doubts that he ever set foot in an actual courtroom as a lead attorney. He did not bring any practical work experience to the classroom. In fact, he presented his lectures like a U-Tube video. There was no interaction between students. Office hours were disorganized and impersonalized only dealing with administrative questions. He conducted a student run final review session in which the student had to come up with their own question AND answers. In short, this Professor is not qualified to teach at UCLA. He may have come from an academic background, however, UCLA students expect more form their Professors. They expect live classes (even during a pandemic, ever other Professor can do it), they expect to gain wisdom from their Professor's practical field experience and they expect to leave a class with the tools they need to go out in the world a get a job. This class left me with none. I have read some of the other reviews on the Professors and I believe he rates high because he inflates his grades. I was the highest marked student in this class in on both homework assignments and got an A on the midterm. But I didn't come to UCLA just to get good grades I came to learn the tools to be a responsible adult with tools to have gainful employment so I can make a difference in the world. This class was a waist of time and money.
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!