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Content: Politics of Europe: Student Evaluations and Testimonials

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Having only taught this class one time so far at Rutgers, my understanding is that students definitely enjoyed it, and that my decision to begin the class with 1848 and carry it up to the present provided a good, and more importantly clear, overview of the development of modern European social and political systems. My decision to forego a formal textbook and instead design the class around a series of scholarly articles and book chapters also worked well with them, as they were able to formulate good research papers based on theoretical readings like Moore, Paxton, and Kalyvas, and more straight-forward history readings from Hobsawm, Evans, and Judt. Despite some early misgivings that I was giving them more work than they might have needed, the overwhelming majority of student reaction was positive and noted class lectures and online discussions were extremely helpful in explaining material covered in the readings.

Statistics of Students Feedback

As with other upper level classes, the student feedback is weighed against similar leveled courses in the department and across the disciplinary school. There was only one section for this course, so the means of section and course are identical.

 

No QuestionTerm Evaluation Mean of Section Mean of Course Mean of Dept. Mean of Level
DisagreeNeutralAgreeØ
1 2 3 4 5

1

The instructor was prepared for class and presented the material in an organized matter

2010 Fall 0 0 1 3 49 2 4.91 4.91 4.44 4.46
2 The instructor responded effectively to student comments and questions 2010 Fall 0 0 1 2 49 3 4.92 4.92 4.43 4.51
3

The instructor generated interest in the course material

2010 Fall 0 1 1 5 45 3 4.81 4.81 4.27 4.37
4

The instructor had a positive attitude toward assisting all students in understanding course material

2010 Fall
0 0 3 5 45 2 4.79 4.79 4.48 4.53
5

The instructor assigned grades fairly

2010 Fall
1 0 1 11 39 3 4.67 4.67 4.25 4.36
6

The instructional methods encouraged students learning

2010 Fall
1 2 2 7 41 3 4.60 4.60 4.06 4.12
7

I learned a great deal in this course

2010 Fall
0 1 4 6 41 3 4.67 4.67 4.10 4.25
8

I had a strong prior interest in the subject matter and wanted to take this course

2010 Fall
3 3 9 3 30 1 4.11 4.11 3.89 3.94

POOR EXCELLENT
9

I rate the teaching effectiveness of the instructor as

2010 Fall
1 2 0 9 41 2 4.64 4.64 4.21 4.30
10

I rate the overall quality of the course as

2010 Fall
0 2 2 9 39 3 4.63 4.63 4.09 4.22

Selected Comments from Students

What do you like best about this course?

Fall 2010

"The material was very interesting and the way the professor taught held my interest very well."

"Rossi teaching it."

"The professor explained the material in creative and efficient ways, class was always interesting. Plenty of opportunities for extra credit."

"Instructor is a master of the course material. Energetic. Holds students' attention and intrigue."

"Rossi never failed to amaze me. I was actually awake and rather not bored. He excites everyone with his surplus of knowledge and his humor, and I still learn!"
"Rossi. He is an amazing prof. You must work hard and earn your grade, but he helps and makes it all understanding."
"I love the frank manner you lecture that is informing and somehow keeps me awake."
"Prof. Rossi presents complex material in an approachable, accessible way with appropriate injections of humor."
"I really think Professor Rossi does a great job teaching the course in a relevant, interesting way. I anticipated that this class might be very similar to one I had already taken, but was pleasantly surprised by the course's depth and pertinence to my area of study."
"The nice combination of actual learning and anecdotal information. If you don't laugh at least once everyday you have issues."
"Everything"
"Dr. Rossi! By far the best professor I've had at Rutgers."
"I was first off already very interested [in the course]. But Rossi really heightened my desire to learn more."
"That it started in 19th century Europe and not just post-WWII."
"Rossi presented the material in such a way to encourage analysis and critical thinking. He also was open to focusing lectures on what interested the class in relation to European politics."

If you were teaching this course, what would you do differently?

Fall 2010

"Nothing!"

"Less papers and more multiple choice tests."

"Nothing."

"Make papers shorter and more frequent."

"More primary source readings."
"I don't study political science and I could have used more general definitions and info. I also had to do a great deal of outside research."
"The only thing I would do differently is [teach] more fascism. But I don't think everyone find fascism as interesting as I do so that probably wouldn't work."
"The readings were a bit dry. I would assign more articles from newspapers and other modes of current media. Also, more on the EU and how it operates.
"Have a smaller class size."
"Different teaching method. I felt sometimes the Prof. made things difficult for no reason even though they could have been explained more clearly and in simpler terms. No participation points."
"Give out participation points for insightful comments and questions in class."
"Nothing!"
"Smaller class"
"Add pictures and other things to spice up the slides."

In what ways, if any, has this course or the instructor encouraged you intellectual growth and progress?

Fall 2010

"Had no interest before, now have immense interest."

"He makes you care about what he teaches."

"Rossi can put on a clinic on how to teach well. Great class."

"I have a much better grasp on political science as a whole and a much better understanding of how Europe plays a part."

"Great professor! I know such much about Euro Pol. Before I knew nothing."
"Well, I usually don't do well when it comes to history, but this class encouraged me to actually retain European history."
"The course demanded participation and this active engagement in the material so I've found myself more interested in EU politics."
"Professor Rossi is extremely approachable and amicable. His passion for the material created enthusiasm. Wonderful teacher, great course."
"Dr Rossi is the best instructor anyone could have!."
"Although I enjoyed the class, I felt that there was a much greater emphasis on this history of Europe over politics, which I was not necessarily expecting when I signed up for the class. Also I feel that though the grading was fair, it was also tough. My suggestion would be to opt out of at least one assignment. I do not feel it should be made that difficult to do well ion the class. Other than that, Professor Rossi was a great professor and lecturer. Thanks!
"He is knowledgeable, funny, smart, understanding, and witty. Makes foreign terms and concepts easy to understand.
"The first day of class, Rossi told us that this would be a difficult and demanding course - it was. But he also promised that we would walk out feeling we actually learned something - I did. He's challenged me in many ways.  I owe him a lot. He's been absolutely amazing."
"He is simply the best professor at Rutgers. Challenging, approachable, relatable, fair, and easy to listen teach. Professor Rossi has all the aspects I want when I become a college professor in the future."
"He was always able to make the material interesting and related it to students well."
"He has stimulated my curiosity in politics by assigning interesting readings and lecturing in a way that engages the class. Also, his grading system allows for students to be assessed according to their initiative (participation points, and optional essays)."

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