there's really a wide range of professor types at Columbia. in general, i've found them to be enthusiastic, understanding, highly knowledgable, and generally kind.
i'll describe the professors i have this semester so you can get a glimpse:
-core teacher who's a grad student. young, fresh, kind, a little timid
-psych teacher (experienced, doctorate, etc) who just came here from yale. outspoken, great instructor. warm.
-sociology teacher who's 100% tough love. knowledgable, demanding, wonderful.
-art hum teacher who has been amazing. young, personable, patient, so excited about art
-virginia woolf professor who's unreal. one of those "greatest ever" lecturers. middle aged man.
in the past i've had:
-sociology lecturer Shamus Khan who's as knowledgable as he is charismatic (very!)
-amazing lit hum professor, Erica Siegel. skillful classroom leader, kind, interested in us, interesting in general!
-psych prof Alexandra Horowitz. no-bullshit, straight talking, very warm
-not a good experience with Frontiers of Science (didn't like my section leader or the main lecturers)
At Columbia, there is the expectation that every professor is brilliant. This, unfortunately, is not true. While many professors are brillant and at the top of their fields (see Eric Foner and Peter Awn), others are awful lecturers and seem to be here just for the research opportunities. I feel that the main divide is between the tenured professors and the associate professors. Those who have been at Columbia for many years tend to be tremendous, and their classes are the most popular. Those who are younger and have yet to prove themselves are often terrible - they grade harder, give way more to TAs, and are less approachable. My word of advice: take the classes with the big-name professors. They really are the best classes here.
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