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«Course Evaluations Shamus Khan This is a representation of Shamus Khan’s course evaluations while teaching at Columbia University. First, a summary ...»

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Course Evaluations

Shamus Khan

This is a representation of Shamus Khan’s course evaluations while teaching at Columbia University.

First, a summary table outlines courses taught and overall evaluations. Second, for each course all the

comments on the instructor’s effectiveness are provided (the good and the bad).

Course Name/Semester Size (response Rate) Overall Effectiveness*

The Social World, Spring 2011 165 (92%) 4.69/5 Elites in Democratic America, Spring 2011 77 (63%) 4.56/5 Cultural Sociology (Grad), Spring 2010 17 (89%) 4.85/5 Contemporary Civilization, Spring 2010 19 (90%) 4.58/5 French Social Theory (Grad), Fall 2009 9 (100%) 5/5 Contemporary Civilization, Fall 2009 22 (100%) 4.51/5 Sociological Imagination, Spring 2009 67 (85%) 4.88/5 Contemporary Civilization, Spring 2009 22 (81%) 4.81/5 Contemporary Civilization, Fall 2008 22 (95%) 4.91/5 Contemporary Civilization, Spring 2008 22 (95%) 4.47/5 Statistics/Methods, Spring 2008 20 (73%) 4.13/5 Contemporary Civilization, Fall 2007 22 (86%) 4.24/5 Sociological Imagination, Fall 2007 85 (81%) 3.86/5 Average** 4.58/5 * The Overall Effectiveness is the weighted Median statistic provided in Courseworks Scale: 1: Poor; 2: Fair; 3: Good; 4: Very Good; 5: Excellent ** This is the average over all courses, not weighted by number of students Elites in Democratic America (3000-level undergraduate), Spring 2011 Overall Effectiveness: 4.56/5 Class Size: 77 Response Rate: 63% The professor is an academic dynamo. He knows his material extremely well and is a very talented lecturer. He also managed to make a large class setting seem a lot smaller and more personal.

Professor Khan made his subject enthralling.

Really good lecture, really bright, tackled tough topics and was able to clarify complicated ideas really well in lecture.

Shamus is incredibly intelligent and engaging. He consistently made me think of things I never would have considered before. I will miss having his class because it is one of those courses where I feel like I really take away something from the readings and lectures.

Professor Khan was an amazing instructor. He clearly has a firm grasp on the subject matter and all his lectures were fascinating. I usually don't like to take notes on my computer, but after a few classes I began doing so just because I wanted to make sure I was able to record all of his points, as each part of the lecture critical. I have learned so much from him this semester, and I highly recommend this course or any other of Professor Khan's courses to ANYONE.

Sometimes spent too much time on tangents or discussing unrelated thinkers or works.

Professor Khan is an extremely effective professor. i have had classes with him before and his methods of teaching are superb. I took a core class with him before, and he was just as exciting and thought provoking in this class.

Good Professor Khan offered stimulating lectures and was obviously invested in his students' success. The format of the class (lecture-sized and yet sometimes conducted as a seminar), however, left something to be desired. It is difficult to encouraged meaningful student participation (rather than simply answers to straightforward questions) from a group of that size. My only other complaint in regards to Professor Khan's actual teaching was that he did not seem particularly available outside of the classroom.

Professor Khan really wanted to engage the class in discussion, but he clearly conceived the class as a seminar, so he struggled to involve class as much as he wanted. He reads and thinks differently than I do, so I didn't always understand what he was trying to convey. Professor Khan integrated all these outside theorists into his arguments in class, which was really interesting, but he'd spend half of the class somewhat describing these things we hadn't read and not fully connecting them to what we actually had read.

He is a great lecturer!

Prof. Khan is great! The only thing I'd say about his lectures is that sometimes the theoretical abstraction he uses to back up sociological explanations can be dry and off point. Getting away from the texts and talking about old french thinkers can detract from the student's focus on what he/she read.

Shamus Khan, I'm sure that you want to know about your teaching style and effectiveness, but I have one thing to say about your class: you are funny as hell. I may not have come to every class (it was 9 am in the morning and I'm a lazy senior), but your perspective on serious social issues was always delivered with a side of humor and that's what got me out of bed on those cold winter mornings. Keep up the great work. And to be serious for a moment, you are a great professor, not just entertaining.

I took Khan for Sociological Imagination my sophomore year and I thought he was a great instructor. Something fell flat in this class. While he is great at teaching sociology, he isn't so good at teaching novels. I felt like the lectures on novels were just summaries of what happened in the book.

The questions he asked about novels were also very unstimulating. "What does Gatsby do next?" "What's Daisy like?" "What happens in this scene?" These are the kinds of questions we discussed in high school. No one wanted to answer because they weren't stimulating questions. Khan got frustrated when no one answered and assumed we hadn't done the reading. Khan's most interesting lectures were the ones where he tied the reading into larger sociological concepts. He taught it well and it was interesting. He almost never tied the novels into larger concepts and instead just gave summaries or character sketches. In a class on elites, I was shocked that we spent one lecture discussing both Distinction and The State Nobility. This is so important to the subject! We also barely discussed Veblen. Khan wrote him off as a sleaze who hit on his co-workers wives. I would have loved to discuss his ideas. It felt like he tried to dumb it down for undergrads by throwing in the novels. In brief, I would cut out the novels and just focus on sociology next time. The novels really added nothing. I would also cut down class size. People don't like to participate in such a large class, and it would have been great to actually discuss the material. At the very least add discussion sections. Also, if you're concerned that students aren't doing the reading you should ask them to tie the readings from each section together in their papers. The way it was set up, we only had to do one reading in every section. It was a great idea for a class, it just didn't work!

Although he clearly stated it on the first day of class, this was the first time Professor Khan taught this particular course and it became apparent as the semester progressed. The material and concepts we covered were insightful and I have a lot of respect for the professor's efforts (I almost want to use the courage) to study this particular group.

Going to class did not help me understand the readings any better...it honestly just confused me when I was writing the papers Class was good and material very interesting, but should be structured differently next time to ensure attendance, participation and completion of readings I think Professor Khan is a really dynamic lecturer with a good sense of humor and he made the topics really interesting and engaging Prof. Khan's material is interesting, and the class really made me think differently about inequality, to the point where I think it will impact how I focus my own work on the subject in the future. He has great energy, especially for a 9:10am class, and I appreciated the jokes and encouragement - it really made going to class worth getting up early (yes, I realize how ridiculous it sounds to hear an 8am wake-up call being referred to as 'early'). It might be me, though, but I had a bit of a hard time mustering up the courage to go to office hours; despite how fun the class is, he's a bit intimidating. I had a lot of questions that I probably could have come to him about, but I just didn't have the sense that he wanted us to utilize office hours. Could just be me, though.

Shamus Khan's lectures were very clear and concise. He presented new and very interesting material and was able to explain and simplify the larger questions the books/reading material presented.

If class attendance had been a formal requirement and attendance was taken the class would have been better. Also Prof. Kahn comes across as extremely arrogant- it doesn't make him seem particularly approachable of accessible. For someone who's scholarship focusses on elitism he talks an awful lot about his achievements.

Shamus Khan's vivaciousness that early in the morning definitely encouraged me to attend class consistently. I'd like to highlight that many lectures that could have been very dry and boring were made interesting and relevent to our various generations due to his youth, vivaciousness, and superior oratorical skills. I would highly recommend anyone even remotely interested in the subject matter to take the class, and I would even consider taking the class again to hear how he supports his arguments on texts with which he disagrees. I was surprised to not have a breakdown of the weight that each paper submitted would count towards our final grade, which I believe that this not only demotivated me, but possibly other students as well. Further, since there was not breakdown of how much participation would count towards our grade, there wasn't enough salience to either participate, or in some cases, even attend class other than for the week that Khan would cover the theme/subject on which they'd write their next paper.

–  –  –

The man can lecture. What else is there to say?

This was the first sociology class that I've taken, and, thanks to Shamus, it definitely won't be the last. His lectures were fascinating, well presented, and relatable. His course syllabus was tough, but reasonable. He really made me think.

Professor Khan is honestly one of the best professors I've ever had. Though I've always been interested in sociology, I'd never taken a course before and I'm so glad I took this class with Professor Khan. He's obviously brilliant, but he's also super approachable and surprisingly hilarious.

The thing I love about him most is that he takes these really


readings and turns them into real life situations that are so much easier to understand and more relevant to our lives as students. I get concepts that I didn't get from the readings because of how he explains them in class. He's completely unbelievable.

Shamus is the man!

Professor Khan is the best professor I've had at Columbia.

Professor Khan made this course extremely enjoyable. He assigned a wide variety of fascinating readings and discussed their content through insightful lectures that gave us a greater understanding of sociology's scope and complexity. Prof. Khan managed to be funny and earn our respect at the same time, diving into each unit with enthusiasm, good humor, and candor while remaining serious about the topics at hand. I think most of us emerged from this course feeling a great deal of affection for him and his lectures, which were sometimes disorganized but always compelling. I wouldn't be surprised to find Prof. Khan had created a number of aspiring sociologists simply by engaging us in the discipline. In fact, he may have made one of me.

Dr. Khan was such an amazing professor. I came to his class everyday from the most boring class in the world that put me to sleep every time. When I got to prof. Khan's class, I was on the edge of my seat. The only think I would change is if Prof. Khan would repeat the important definitions more slowly and more often. Sometime hearing it twice isn't enough to catch it all while I'm feverishly taking notes.

I LOVED THIS CLASS. It is BY FAR my favorite course I have taken at Columbia so far. Shamus is HILARIOUS and I have never felt so engaged by readings in any course. I think his grading technique is fantastic. The steady pace of the work every week with no surprises or exams made me keep up with the readings and significantly reduced my stress level. There was still a large amount of work to be done and was by no means easy but it was psychologically better than having to deal with midterms and finals. I definitely learned more this way than in other classes structured differently.

Could have spoken a bit slower, it poses much difficulty for note-taking when he speaks real fast and doesn't use slides or any outlines It's such a big class size that often people were too shy to answer his questions. He always encouraged participation, but it was always the same people answering questions.

Professor Khan was extremely enthusiastic about this class. He was extremely knowledgable about his course material and used every opportunity to pass on his knowledge to his students. He really liked teaching and it showed.

Khan is a FANTASTIC professor- I see why this class is so popular- it is ALL HIM. Presents very challenging material in a fun, engaging way.

Professor Khan was an awesome lecturer this semester, the only thing that I would say he should work on is speaking louder so everyone can hear him. When he is interactive with the class I find that it is not only an enjoyable class but the material is received better through his examples.

Very enjoyable lectures, especially towards the end of the semester when he wrote the lecture outline on the board. Sometimes difficult to get down all the notes.

Prof. Khan is the best professor I have had at Columbia University, his presentation of material is expert and makes every class a highlight in my day.

Absolutely fantastic lecturer. But, at the end of the day, I'm not really sure what I've learned. Other people in the class that I've talked to have all said the same thing. Khan is a great lecturer, in that he is very engaging and brings in a variety of interesting stories and ideas to the class. But as a teacher, a little confusing. Even at the midsemester, when he started writing the main themes on the board, it didn't help much. The ideas still came off kind of disjointed. I learned a lot of little things, but I'm not sure I have a good picture of what sociology as a discipline looks like or how these things connect to one another. I think Khan needs to connect the dots a little more for the class, even if it seems obvious to him. Just something to help it click for every student.

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