Janet Lee

Oct 2016

Janet Min Lee was the best professor I could have had for my first literature class at Columbia!! She makes class fun, engaging and educational and if you take notes during class (the Greek terms, the ideas we discuss, and her hilarious diagrams/cartoons on the board), then you will do well. I got an A- mainly because I am not the best writer, but I was able to ace the midterms and final. Overall, Janet is a fair grader and excellent professor. Take her both semesters! You will not regret it!

Apr 2016

Everything the person below said is pretty much completely on point. Janet is amazing. She teaches very clearly and focuses on the parts of the texts that are important and interesting. She lesson plans very well and almost always makes sure that we arrive at a *light-bulb moment* conclusion without making you feel too over guided. On top of that she is sweet. smart and funny. Our class had a great dynamic and she often felt more like a friend than a professor. If its any indication the whole class stayed for the second semester. While the class is not strictly easy, it is also not overly hard. The workload/prof demand is enough to make you learn and appreciate Lit Hum without hating it.

Dec 2014

Janet ROCKS! She was hands down one of my favorite professors during my first semester at Columbia, and the best English professor I've ever had. She's a fashionable, petite, cynically funny woman - you WILL fall in love with her within the first couple of weeks of class. She does a fantastic job of making sure that we analyze the themes of the texts that we read - this sounds like something all lithum teachers should obviously do, but many of my friends have complained that their teachers focus on less helpful things in terms of preparing for midterm/final exams (like learning a bunch of Greek word roots?!). In general, I feel like she really pushes us to strive for deep and complex analyses of the texts - she demands this on the analytical essays you will write and although it may be difficult to achieve her expected level of analysis, she forces and motivates you to improve your writing which is indeed the best thing a teacher can do. She always keeps class interesting and shows her interest in and passion for literature: she has no inhibitions about pointing out all the sexual jokes/references in Lysistrata; she acknowledges the driest/most cumbersome portions of the texts we read (the catalogue of ships in the Iliad, the choruses in the Greek plays, ALL of Herodotus and Thucydides) - but at the same time has the skill and will to show us the beauty and complexity even in these least palatable and seemingly useless passages; she makes a real effort (but doesn't take out unreasonably huge chunks of class time) to get to know her students personally and ask how we're doing in general, etc., and she studied at Columbia herself, so she understands all the toils (both related and non-related to LitHum) that we're going through. She is not an "easy" teacher, she will want you to participate daily in class and contribute to discussions in some way (but she's even pretty reasonable about this - she explicitly states that she counts reading passages out loud as participation), and she will want to see you put in effort into writing your essays (GO TO OFFICE HOURS one week before every essay deadline), but if you want to learn a lot and truly enjoy LitHum in spite of the overwhelming workload, you must take Janet's class.