Mike Rossi

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Content: International Organization: Student Evaluations and Testimonials

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Aside from one semester in 2005 when I served as an Adjunct at TCNJ teaching this class, I had never taught this class before, and had no prior plans nor interest in designing one. But as part of my contract with TCNJ in 2010, I was given the opportunity to teach it with a new layout and curriculum. I marketed the class as a direct sequel to Intro to IR, as the main theories stemmed from principles of Liberalism and Neoliberalism. As such, specific elements introduced in IR, were reexamined with greater detail and scrutiny in this class. My first fear was trying to find a way to teach a subject for an entire semester that otherwise needed only a few weeks to cover. A second fear was making sure students would find the functions of international institutions interesting,  and how much time really is needed for certain subjects before the material gets redundant. I mean, there's only so much one can talk about regarding the United Nations.

I also found it necessary to use a textbook along with scholarly with scholarly articles. The students found the textbook to be dry, but at least a good source of reference material. I felt it oversaturated certain subjects for a class that was more broadly theoretical and thematic, but it served well for those interested in writing about a particular subject.

In the end, both semesters were great classes with a lot of student interest and enthusiasm. I didn't change much of the dynamics from Fall 2010 to Fall 2011 except provide more opportunities for short writing assignments and in-class quizzes to ensure they keep up with the reading and accumulate more participation credit. This might be reflected in the overall increase in student evaluations for Fall 2011, coupled also with the understanding that I would not be returning the following year. And in the end, the United Nations, particularly the functions of the Security Council, became a class favorite to focus on.

Statistics of Students Feedback

No Question Term Evaluation Mean
DisagreeNeutralAgreeØ
1 2 3 4 5
Instructor Questions

1 The instructor encouraged and motivated me to do my best in this course 2011 Fall 0 0 0 4 22 0 4.85
2010 Fall 0 0 1 9 14 0 4.54
2 The instructor's teaching style contributed to learning material covered in this course 2011 Fall 0 0 0 3 23 0 4.88
2010 Fall 0 0 1 7 16 0 4.63
3 The instructor clearly explained the goals and requirements of this course 2011 Fall 0 0 0 4 22 0 4.85
2010 Fall 0 0 1 8 15 0 4.58
4 The instructor presented background for concepts or skills developed in class 2011 Fall 0 0 0 6 20 0 4.77
2010 Fall 0 1 0 5 18 0 4.67
5 Where relevant, the instructor presented contrasting points of view on topics 2011 Fall 0 1 0 3 22 0 4.77
2010 Fall 0 0 1 3 19 0 4.78
6 The instructor provided valuable feedback on assignments 2011 Fall 0 0 2 3 21 0 4.73
2010 Fall 0 1 4 6 12 0 4.26
7 In instructor returned assignments in a timely manner 2011 Fall 0 0 0 5 21 0 4.81
2010 Fall 0 0 1 5 17 0 4.70
8 The instructor was accessible to students outside of class 2011 Fall 0 0 0 1 25 0 4.96
2010 Fall 0 0 1 4 18 0 4.74
9 The instructor promoted an atmosphere that was conducive to students sharing ideas and knowledge 2011 Fall 0 0 0 2 24 0 4.92
2010 Fall 0 3 1 5 14 0 4.30
10 The instructor used student questions and comments to help students understand course material 2011 Fall 0 0 0 2 24 0 4.92
2010 Fall 0 1 1 4 16 1 4.59
11 The instructor was well organized and prepared for class 2011 Fall 0 0 0 3 23 0 4.88
2010 Fall 0 0 1 3 19 0 4.78
12 The instructor communicated enthusiasm for the subject matter 2011 Fall 0 0 0 2 24 0 4.92
2010 Fall 0 0 0 5 18 0 4.78
13 The instructor was respectful of differing viewpoints expressed by students 2011 Fall 0 0 1 2 23 0 4.85
2010 Fall 0 0 2 8 13 0 4.48
14 The instructor was responsive to student needs and concerns 2011 Fall 0 0 0 1 25 0 4.96
2010 Fall 0 0 1 7 15 0 4.61
15 The instructor treated students with respect 2011 Fall 0 0 1 3 22 0 4.81
2010 Fall 0 0 1 9 13 0 4.52
16 The instructor challenged me to think 2011 Fall 0 0 1 2 23 0 4.85
2010 Fall 0 0 0 6 18 0 4.75
Instructor Question Mean 2011 Fall 4.86
2010 Fall 4.59
Course Questions
17 The course materials were well prepared and carefully explained 2011 Fall 0 0 0 3 23 0 4.88
2010 Fall 0 0 1 4 17 0 4.73
18 Assignments added to my understanding of the course 2011 Fall 0 0 0 4 22 0 4.85
2010 Fall 0 0 0 4 18 0 4.82
19 Where relevant,collaborative work with classmates added to my understanding of the course 2011 Fall 0 0 1 1 16 2 4.83
2010 Fall 0 0 2 4 9 7 4.47
20 Required readings were valuable and enriched my learning experience 2011 Fall 0 0 0 3 23 0 4.88
2010 Fall 0 0 0 5 17 0 4.77
21 The examinations or written work in the course reflected the content and emphasis of the course 2011 Fall 0 0 0 1 25 0 4.96
2010 Fall 0 0 1 5 16 0 4.68
22 Methods utilized for evaluating student work were fair and appropriate 2011 Fall 0 0 0 4 22 0 4.85
2010 Fall 0 0 0 7 15 0 4.68
23 I acquired valuable skills and knowledge in the course 2011 Fall 0 0 0 2 24 0 4.92
2010 Fall 0 0 2 3 16 0 4.64
24 I found the course intellectually challenging 2011 Fall 0 0 0 4 22 0 4.85
2010 Fall 0 0 1 5 16 0 4.68
25 I  increased my ability to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view 2011 Fall 0 0 0 4 22 0 4.85
2010 Fall 0 0 1 5 16 0 4.68
Course Questions Mean 2011 Fall 4.87
2010 Fall 4.69

Selected Comments from Students

Please indicate aspects of the instructor's teaching or of the course that have been most valuable to you

Fall 2011

"Dr.  Rossi's course was the best course I have ever taken and I am now a junior. This was the most encouraging course I have had in my 2 ½ years at this institution. I learned more in this class than I have in any other course COMBINED. Dr. Rossi's lectures were exciting, innovating, and extremely funny. His examples make it easy and fun to understand a dense topic."

"Dr. Rossi is an excellent teacher! I learned a lot in his class and am more interested in the subject than I ever thought I would be. He is very knowledgeable and expresses it so we can all understand. You can see his excitement for the subject matter and it made class worth coming to!"

"Prof. Rossi's enthusiasm and endless data was more than enjoyable. He is a great professor and I am sorry that he is leaving."
"Unlike some other classes in which I only learned the material for an exam or duration of the class,  I actually feel as though I learned a great deal of info I will take with me beyond this course."
"Dr. Rossi is an incredible teacher - he is engaging, intelligent, and hilarious. He is always eager to help out students and is also really patient."
"Dr. Rossi's informal, yet engaging, style of teaching made this class the most interesting Political Science class I have ever taken. As a Political Science major, I wish every professor instructed me the way Dr. Rossi has this semester."
"By far the best instructor I've encountered in my 4 years and 2 majors here. The atmosphere and enthusiasm for the material made the learning experience much more effective."
Fall 2010

"Prof. Rossi is a great teacher. His enthusiasm motivates me to learn more and keeps me focused in class. You can tell this is something he's passionate about, and his classes are very enjoyable."

"I was considering switching out of the Political Science Department until I had Rossi. He was honestly the best professor I've ever had ... His class was so interesting and I've learned more from him in one semester than I have from any other professor I've ever had at TCNJ."

"Professor Rossi is by far the most competent, fair, and knowledgeable professor I've had so far at the College. He challenges us to think while meeting us halfway and has been a pleasure."
"Far and away the most interesting, entertaining class I've taken thus far. Professor Rossi is engaging and informative and made me actually want to learn the material."
"Dr. Rossi engages the class in meaningful discussion and makes everyone contribute. He is incredibly smart and uses excellent examples in explaining theory."
"Extremely good background in the subject; helpful in understanding topics, prompt and organized. Extremely charismatic."
"Rossi related international organizations to everyday life which made it easy to understand and relate to."
"Loved lecture style - communicable, easy to follow, and examples were good and fun. Honestly the best lecturer I have had in the Political Science department at TCNJ"

Please indicate aspects of the instructor's teaching or of the course that you feel most need improvement

Fall 2011

"None. Dr. Rossi's course is perfection!"

"None. Dr. Rossi is one of my favorite instructors at this college!"
"Very repetitive. Often told the exact story every class, occasionally taught the same lesson verbatim for multiple classes. The lessons were always interesting but it was difficult to hear the exact same thing every class"
"This course does not need improvement in any area."
"The textbook"
Fall 2010

"More assignments. My entire grade is two papers, class participation, and a final"

"None. Strangely I like nitpicking."
"Class participation was highly valued when it was a lecture."
"More quizzes and short assignments to help understand concepts and add to grades."

Please use additional space to clarify any of your responses from the other side of this form or comment on your overall impression of the course

Fall 2011 "This course should be made a requirement. It expands so much on topics from [Introduction to International Relations] and provides students with a lot more background and useful information."
"This class was very informative and I definitely am leaving knowing valuable info about international organizations."
"This really was a great and stimulating course. I learned a lot and practiced analytic thinking. I'm really glad I took the class but I did not put enough work into it which is something I regret."
"Dr. Rossi was by far the best teacher that I've had here at TCNJ."
"One of the best classes and teachers I've ever had."
Fall 2010

"Dr. Rossi's class has taught me more than most of my other classes combined. It's a relaxed and informed atmosphere, and I highly enjoyed it."

"Perfect layout. I was always motivated to attend class."

"The subject matter is boring. Rossi made it much more fun than it should be."

 


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