Anthony Donoghue

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Sep 2020

Professor Donoghue is very friendly and engaging, and when students asked to slow down, he was very receptive. Anyone with a knowledge of basic algebra should be able to pass this class (Professor Donoghue emphasizes that it is a reasoning class, not a math class).

Apr 2018

It's not a hard class, but do NOT rely on this professor. Decoding what he says will leave you more confused than when you started. Just read the textbook and do the homeworks. Take this class only if it's a necessity for your major!!!!!

Jul 2015

This was a pretty terrible class. The material was boring, the professor was bad, and the TA barely spoke English. It was at 8:40 in the morning, which made it extremely hard to focus, since it was pretty dry material that Anthony's infrequent jokes didn't help much. It's clear that Anthony knows a ton about statistics, but he in no way knows how to break it down for low-level classes. He was constantly stumbling over his words, messing up simple concepts, and writing things wrong on the board, which made it extremely difficult for someone with no stats experience to get what was actually going on. He also mainly used PowerPoint slides to teach, which meant that he sped through the lesson way too fast, since he didn't have go even write down one step at a time of any example problem he wanted to show. The one day the projector broke and he had to slow himself down and write problems out on the board was the one day I actually understood something in lecture. Anthony also had real trouble engaging and controlling the class. His efforts to be a nice guy made it impossible for him to rein in the people starting to leave 5 minutes before the end of lecture (he usually got desperate and, not knowing what to do, just looked around wildly and declared that he guessed class could be done now), and also made it impossible for him to get anyone in the lecture hall to answer any question he would pose (leaving him awkwardly standing at the front as we were silent). I ended up just having to re-teach all of the lecture material to myself outside of class, which was really time-consuming and didn't work very well. At the end of the day, I Pass/Failed the class because I wasn't able to teach myself enough of the material to be able to do well. For anyone who isn't required to take this class for their major, I would give it a hard "don't take."

Feb 2015

This class was incredibly frustrating. The first four weeks covered material that I could have learned about by watching a semi-intellectual sitcom, whereas the rest of the semester moved at high speed. He very quickly covers or even completely skips over the very complicated formulas that deserved two weeks to discuss. The lectures were mumbled and filled with ranting, and whenever he worked out a problem on the chalkboard, he wrote small and scribbled, without properly explaining anything about it. I ended up teaching myself all of the materials, as he was never available and the TA's were completely unhelpful. You actually saw students in the class pulling out wikipedia in class to teach themselves the material while tuning the professor out. He once re-scheduled a make-up test without telling me that he changed the date, causing me to wait in the STAT office for an hour for no reason. He briefly apologized. The textbook is well done, easy to understand if you are willing to spend several hours a week teaching yourself. The project took hours of data collection and analysis. He poorly explained the first part, so it was entirely possible to get to the second section of the project without having the information needed to fill it out. The grading was clearly done by a brief skimming of the material, and they docked me 10 points that I later got back for failing to notice information that I put in bold all-caps at the beginning of the second page- making it painfully obvious they picked a grade without looking at the assignment.

Jan 2015

Prof. Donoghue is kind and approachable. He encourages participation and student questions. He brings the material to life with really interesting examples and, occasionally, videos. His lecture delivery could use some work, as he can be a bit difficult to follow, but all in all, he means well. I had two main problems with this course as it was offered in Fall 2014: 1. The size - There were 160 students in the class, and it was by far the largest section of Stat 1111. (The other sections had about 60-80 students). Prof. Donoghue said on the first day that he tried to learn every student's name, and he seems like a professor who would really shine in a smaller class. I think that this semester, Prof. Donoghue's effectiveness as an instructor was hampered by the class size. For one, our class was so big that we were placed in a room that is not typically used as a classroom. The makeshift projector screen was small and difficult to see from many parts of the room. As the semester progressed, attendance dwindled down to embarrassingly low levels. I would say that less than a third of the class attended regularly. Some students imagined that, as a result of the sheer size of the class, they were basically anonymous to the professor. People would regularly walk in late, walk in to turn in their homework and then just leave - this is not only distracting, but incredibly rude. 2. Homeworks - HWs are graded based on both completion and correctness. Students who gave the homework their best shot might still have gotten a low score if their answers were incorrect. Homework was originally 25% of the grade, but then the professor learned that some people were cheating. As a result, he made homework just 15% of the grade, and made the midterm and final each worth 5% more. My advice to the professor: Rather than assigning textbook questions, write your own homeworks. Heck, have one of your TAs do it. As long as the answers are out there, and some students have access to them while others don't, it is unfair to grade homeworks according to how correct they are.

Dec 2014

This class is just time consuming. It isn't hard to get a decent grade in, per se, because the math isn't hard and because you have homework assignments that bring it up no matter what. I didn't study for the exam and got a C, but with the HWs I was able to pick up my grade to a A-. The class gives you a chance to think in a really interesting way in terms of statistics, Professor Donoghue really cares about how you do and what you're taking away from his class, and it's a fair class. Those are the positives. The homework is quite time consuming. Like others have said, even with the time-consuming hw assignments, it is beneficial because you're really learning the info (which is good because honestly I never understood Statistics that much better after hearing Professor Donoghue's lectures). Either way, it's a solid fair class, but requires more time than you'd probably like it to.

May 2013

This is a fantastic class! Because homework/project are such a large percentage of your grade, it is a fairly easy A with a little bit of effort. Homeworks provide a good opportunity to learn the work, so I didn't mind that they were a little time consuming. Professor Donoghue is engaging, and he really cares about his students. It's nice that he will always email back right away. He teaches statistics in away that is both straight forward and interesting. Highly recommend this class!

Nov 2012

Here's the thing. This class isn't hard per se, it's just time consuming. If you want it, you will get a good grade and like any other class at Columbia you will have to work for it. Do not be fooled by the idea that this class is going to be easy because there is no math. This class is manageable because much of the content is common sense and what math there is, is fairly basic. It really does teach you a new way, or a new approach to thinking in terms of statistics. If you're going to be open to that and, perhaps a little uncomfortable until you get the gist of it, then I'd say you'll be fine. If not, stick to what you know and forget the liberal arts degree thing. The homework's are not hard, they are tedious. But do them, they are a significant portion of your grade, they are relatively straight-forward and they are great study guides for the midterm. Donoghue will know your name by the first few weeks, and it is nice considering how many of us are in the class. Most professors wouldn't care to know. He is a sweet man but not a very good lecturer. The lectures are posted online and he reads straight from the slides minus a couple Irish jokes to lighten the mood now and then. Verdict: It's time consuming but manageable. If you know that you already have a course that's going to be difficult for you and you know you're going to need to spend as much time on it as you can then do not take this course.

Oct 2012

This course is very useful and enlightening. Before taking this course, I was blank to the statistical field and afraid that I couldn't follow up. It turned out that I was just over-concerned. The content of the class gave me a well-rounded picture of statistics with clear emphasize and allocation of contents. The class is just accordance with the intro level, yet giving you a bigger picture and more in depth related knowledge during the class for your future study, if interested. Since this course requires fewer maths, it was not demanding and hard in the calculation. All required equations would be provided and the aim of this class is not testing your calculation skills, but the critical thinking and reasoning. The atmosphere of class was very live and open. The case study and the sample questions were quite helpful in understanding the concepts and statistical way of explaining some matters. The professor wanted us to understand what he taught, thus he didn't rush up to meet the deadline, but very patient with everyone, yet we did finish all the stuff in time. Btw, the professor is super nice and approachable!!! He's the one you cannot afford to miss! I was totally surprised that he remembered my name just in the second day of class. He cares about students and flexible with the due dates of projects, the attendance and the class organization as long as it is right and better for our learning and understanding. Professor Donoghue is willing and happy to discuss with students and respect students' diverse ideas. Almost everyone of us felt sad at the end of the semester to say goodbye. I benefited a lot from this course that my critical thinking was fostered, my professional statistical knowledge was initiated and I got great fun and pleasure. I strongly recommend taking this class if you are still skeptical about the data presented to us and would like to know the critical methods to do research and projects.

Aug 2012

This review is long but it’s worth your time. I’m here to set the record straight about this class. There are a few things upfront that you need to understand: 1. It is the intro level statistics class. However, math classes require more time than an average humanities class. Don’t like doing problem sets? Don’t take the class. Don’t take any math class. This is by far the least work I had to do out of calc I and III, ode, and linear algebra…side note: no I’m not a math genius, I wasn’t even a math major/minor, I just like learning new concepts and attempting to get my full $50,000 dollars worth out of this damn school each year. 2. This is Columbia. It is completely fair to give a decent. Don’t like working hard? Maybe you should have gone to a state school and majored in basket weaving. 3. The class focuses on big topics. Are you interested in understanding what they’re reading in NEJM, JAMA, etc? If you don’t know those acronyms, you probably don’t give a fuck about the content of the class and there is an 80% chance that isn’t the right class for you. You will become one of the people who endlessly complains that the workload is too much and you don’t see the point in the class. Get over it; take the higher level if you’re so smart. The workload: -Completely manageable, don’t listen to the haters below -Some of the questions on the problem sets can feel a bit tedious. However, it’s nice knowing that you’re getting the right answer. Would you rather waste 2 hours trying to solve a linear algebra problem only to get it wrong and an F on your problem set or 2 hours doing a stats problem set that you’re fairly confident you got over a 95% on? -Don’t be a lazy lion. People complain about the projects but we have weeks to complete them. WEEKS!!! Skip one frat party and ensuing Sunday hangover and you’ll be able to finish the project in a few hours…it’s easier than writing a paper for a class. The professor: -He is one of the friendliest professors I’ve ever met. You can email him or the TA with any questions that you have on the problem set. For all you gunners, this allows you to ensure that you get a 100% on every problem set. -He cares about his students. Are you a premed? Are you freaking out because you don’t have enough letter writers who know your name? Take this class. If you go to class and contribute occasionally not only will you essentially not have to study for the midterm or final, you’ll likely receive a wonderful LOR at the end of the semester -He has the student’s best interests at heart. The reason why so many people felt overwhelmed at the end of the semester with the project and last problem set was because Prof. Donoghue was nice enough to extend the due date THREE times (per the students’ pitiful whining requests at the start of every class). Name any other professor at Columbia who would do that… Overall: -Questionable attendance policies? No. This is college. Do what you want. You’re free! Just know that Prof. Donoghue knows every student by name and if you’re on the cusp of a B+/A- at the end of the semester, going to class may just serve its purpose. -If you’re a freshman, welcome to college, you’re no longer the valedictorian and sometimes you have to do work. Get over it. Now you’re competing with 8349384 other valedictorians for the A in the class. Again, get over it. -If you’re a senior, beware, senioritis, especially if you already have a banking job lined up may overwhelm your ability to do any work. Don’t take this class if you feel like carefree chilling on low lawns everyday -Sophomores and juniors, welcome home. It’s a great class to add to your schedule. Just set a time each week when you sit down and do the problem set and it becomes part of a natural routine. I actually did mine on Thursday afternoons/evenings before going out, and then I didn’t even have to think about it during the weekend.

Mar 2012

I agree with the previous review and am mystified by the rest - perhaps the homework assignments changed significantly this semester? But really....that thing about the problem sets being quick and easy was complete bullshit. Well, they are easy, but they're also time-consuming as fuck and incredibly tedious. Professor Donoghue is great and all, but for some reason he thought it would be acceptable to assign us a project (longer version of a problem set) AND the most incredibly time-consuming problem set that were due on Monday and Wednesday of the same week. Think ten pages of writing and at least eight different graphs for just one of them.....WHO DOES THAT???? I'm hoping he sees this by the end of the semester and never tries doing that to us again. HAVE MERCY, GOOD SIR. So take this as a public service announcement in case you are fooled like the rest of us by the older reviews. Once again, the professor's actually cool - his adorable accent is a plus - but the workload isn't. (So ignore all that advice you see down there and don't start on them the night before they're due.) P.S. No one's been able to figure out if we're actually supposed to go to class or not. #strangeattendancepolicies

Feb 2012

Apparently I'm the only one who isn't a fan. This is not a math class. Don't mistake it for one. All I want to clarify is that the whole mess about problem sets not being long? FALSE. I'm on hour 4 of the problem set, which is due tomorrow, and I'm not even halfway done. I go to class, but we don't go over the material much. We just talk about bogus studies and why they are bogus. I very much regret taking this class. Take stat without calc. Nice guy--and cute--but the only reason I go to lecture is because we have these godawful $40 clickers that he uses to take attendance. They're frustrating. He sends an email saying you don't have to attend, but attendance is still a part of your grade. Logical? Oh also the book is a piece of poop. Maybe the class will get better? Who knows. Updates to come at the end of the semester.

Dec 2011

This class isn't revolutionary (it is an intro, after all), but you'll learn a lot about statistics, how to interpret and analyze data, and why everybody should have those tools at their disposal. Donoghue far one of the humblest, most approachable, most down-to-earth professors I've had. His lectures integrate practice problems with practical applications, like news clips and psych studies. He constantly had us laughing and really cultivated a sense of community in a class of 60+ because he took the time to learn everyone's name. During lectures, he was always asking the class what topics we wanted more explanations on, even giving individual students the chance to take the spotlight and explain concepts in new terms. He made himself endlessly available in person and by email, too; he was always fielding questions and sending out explanations and clarifications on the material and on assignments to the class. I'd forgotten how nice it was to have a teacher who was passionate about teaching and connecting with his students before this class. Also, lecture attendance every day is optional, so if you want to do the fairly straightforward homework, fairly projects, and studying for exams on your own, it's ok by him. And if you aren't into that sort of thing or happen to struggle with stats, in my opinion, the combination of the clarity of the textbook, his availability, and the pace of the curriculum make Intro to Stat Reasoning one of Columbia's most manageable courses. Some below didn't love his lecturing style and I could see that, but the class is designed so well that I never found it to be a problem.

Dec 2011

Professor Donoghue is a great guy. Very approachable and easy going. But he is not good at teaching the material in his lectures. Many a time he would be lecturing and seem to be lost himself and a student would have to correct him or guide him to correct explanation. I learned very quickly that you don't have to go to his class to really succeed in it. I would not have taken this course if I had known the lecture classes were not going to be helpful at all. I even went to a lot of the classes to just to see if he could clarify points, but I ended up dicking around on my computer instead because listening to him wasn't helping at all. I would not recommend taking this course.

Sep 2011

The other review is crap, glad to see so many people disagree with it. If you understand what this class is about (which clearly the other reviewer did not) this is one of the most important classes you may take. Dealing with uncertainty in both mathematical and real world terms is a necessary human activity. Donoghue deals with the ideas about how we can and should do this in elegantly simple ways. The class is not complicated but if you get it, it is profound. I would draw an analogy to evolution. The idea is incredibly simple, understanding the implications and ramifications is less so, but neither of these facts gives us access to how important and fundamental the idea is. Take this class, if you show up and are thoughtful you will get a tremendous amount out of it. The professor is extremely nice as well. He learned everyone's name by like the second class in a room with like 60 people and optional attendance. Only a professor that actually cared would bother doing this, and the odd thing was that he acted like it was totally normal, and just was calling on people by their names until people were like, do you know all of our names, and he went around the room and said hello to us addressing us by our first and last name correctly. Also his accent is great and makes listening to him a treat. Finally he makes statistics very relevant and is constantly making insightful analogies to seemingly unrelated topics like Bob Dylan lyrics or 1984 or Huxley. It makes the math part of statistics seem a lot more interesting and relevant. Take this class, you will not regret it, and if you show up and are decently intelligent, do very very well to boot. I never write reviews but I felt like the other one was so unjust I had to write this.

Sep 2011

This is a shockingly good class if you can understand what it is fundamentally about. Clearly the other reviewer could not, and I am pleased to see most disagreed with her. Below are a few of the reasons to take the class. The professor is extremely nice (he learned everybody's name by like the second day in a 60 person class with optional attendance). He did not do this b/c he is a freak with names, he did it because he cared about connecting with his students. Having a professor like this is always a good thing. Second -- the class is not unnecessarily complicated. It is true that the fundamental ideas put forth in it are not terribly difficult to understand, but internalizing them and seeing their ramifications are what is really important and this is what the class is about. I would draw an analogy to evolution. The idea of evolution by natural selection is extraordinarily simple and can be boiled down to a few sentences, and having a whole course explaining it would in some way seem unnecessary. This does not mean, however, that the implications of the idea are simple or that internalizing the worldview that it gives us is not important. Just as you can have a course on evolution (a fundamentally simple idea) so too can you have this class, for it gives you access to a way of dealing with uncertainty and probability (things we must deal with as humans living in the world) in both mathematical and real world terms. I would add that the latter is often forgotten in statistics classes, though it is ultimately probably more important, but Donoghue treats it very thoroughly and thoughtfully. Third -- his accent, you simply can not beat it. Fourth -- If you pay attention to what is going on it is not difficult whatsoever. In fact, I don't really think he wants it to be, he just wants you to show him you get the ideas, and as I suggested those ideas at a fundamental level are pretty basic. Fifth -- the assignments are straightforward, there is no guesswork, though you do have to be thorough to do well. Sixth -- He puts statistics (which he admits, in and of itself is not thrilling material) in a broader perspective (he makes insightful analogies to 1984, Huxley, Bob Dylan to name a few) thereby making it way more interesting than it would be if taught by someone else. I could go on but there is not much need, if you are not convinced by now you probably won't be. If you are sensible (and it is unfortunately quite clear that many people in the class were not) there is a lot to be gotten from this class, I would highly recommend it. I never write reviews but when I saw that the other one was all there was for this great professor I was inspired to write this one.

May 2011

Don't take this class. I know, I know, there's no calculus, it's easy blah blah blah but don't take it. If you decide to take it because (like me) you need to fulfill that stat requirement you've been putting off, or it's the only class that fits into your schedule, be prepared for: > half the semester to be wasted explaining concepts such as "mean," "median," and "mode" which you probably learned in elementary school, and definitely needed to get a high enough score on the SAT to get into Columbia (on a side note, people in my class who didn't know these things: HOW DID YOU GET IN? and how can I sign my kids up for it in the future. Give a girl a hand here.) > the second half of the semester to be devoted to everything else in statistics that you may NOT have known, crammed all together > a book which refuses to give you formulas and equations, instead offering ambiguous prose definitions which don't actually help you when faced with solving a problem. > more writing (hw, projects) than I've done in 70% of the lit seminars I've taken > a teacher who acts as if this class is the only one you're taking and dUH the most important one. this being said, the homework is relatively easy, the midterm was easy (although, maybe I'm an idealist, but I thought a math class wouldn't require filling two blue books with straight writing)