I canâ€™t imagine having a teaching assistant who is more helpful than Borhane. He is extremely intelligent and presents ideas in such a vivid and jargon-free manner that sometimes listening to him can be quite addictive: â€œSo itâ€™s true what they say, that itâ€™s always interesting to talk with an intelligent manâ€ (BK 279). Granted, all graduate students in the philosophy department are smart in different ways. Borhane stands out with his talent in improvising interesting examples and analogies that elucidate complicated philosophical ideas and their distinctions. For the knack of explaining things clearly usually comes hand-in-hand with the ability to identify inaccurate (if not false) statements, going over your drafts with him line by line can be immensely rewarding. I would highly recommend visiting him immediately after the essay topics are out; Due to high demand, his magic can be affected by the 15-minute time limit he sets on â€œpeak weeksâ€ (a.k.a. the week before ___ is due).
Besides processing apparent genius, Borhane is also one of the friendliest individuals I have ever met. He is also very patient to students who take this course as their first philosophy course. There were times when I heard three different students in a row asking him almost the same question (some essays topics were more popular than others). Despite of that, he responded each with equal patience. In addition, Borhane is highly responsive to emails. The average time he gets back to students is about 35 minutes. He is also willing to make appointments with students who cannot make it to his Friday morning office hours. And yes, he frequently extends his office hours on â€œpeak weeksâ€.
In terms of grading, I personally think he is very fair. Since the definition of â€œfairnessâ€ varies from student to student, there might be people who hold different opinions. I would suggest paying close attention to his comments (which are very thorough) to get a sense of what he wants, or simply visiting him during office hours. Usually clarity and concreteness are valued and originality is appreciated.
Final suggestion to future Science and Religion students: READ THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV.