Allen Durgin is hands down the BEST professor I have had at Columbia. Coming to Columbia, I had little to no knowledge of the gender and sexuality discourse, and will admit I was a bit hesitant about taking Allen's class. Despite my doubts, I decided to stay in his class and I can confidently say that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. As the semester went on I realized how passionate, enthusiastic and excellent Allen is at teaching. NEVER in my life have I encountered a professor who cares more about their students. Allen is extremely approachable and if you seek his help, he will go above and beyond to improve your writing and understanding of the discourse. There are very few professors who care as much about their students success and progress in University Writing as Allen does. Aligning with the reviews below, Allen's class is far from easy. You will have to work to succeed in his class, but the blood, sweat and tears are absolutely worth it. Allen truly loves teaching and will improve your writing in ways you could never imagine. My recommendation: if you have the opportunity to take Allen Durgin's class, TAKE IT. Allen will bring your writing to the next level and teach you valuable skills you can use for the rest of your time at Columbia and in whatever career you decide to pursue. Besides being a fabulous teacher, Allen is a great guy. He genuinely cares about his students and will do whatever he can to help - whether that be a simple frustration with your research essay or a problem at home - he is always there to help. You will leave Allen's class with a transformed and newly polished writing style, but most importantly, an ally on campus. I can promise you will not regret taking Allen's class.
Professor Durgin is legitimately my favorite professor at Columbia, for a lot of reasons. Let me be clear that this class was far from easy. He will make you work on your craft and he won’t let you get away with bullshit. If you’re the kind of person who is interested in getting away with bullshit, yet have somehow made it to Columbia, I can promise you that you will be writing a review that looks a lot like the one below mine. If not, though, read on. The evolution I witnessed in my own writing and, I would venture to say, my concept of my abilities and worth as a person were substantial. This is EXACTLY the kind of class I envisioned myself being a part of when I accepted the admission offer at this school. Durgin is charming, funny, interesting, kind, and incredibly passionate about the craft of writing. He will meet you at your level of interest, wherever that level is. I could not have chosen a better or more fulfilling UW experience, in my opinion. Tips: do the seemingly meaningless busywork during the progressions. It seems like BS at the time, but it adds to your understanding of the progression goals in meaningful ways. Go to his office hours. As much as possible. You will be rewarded for it hugely, and you’ll emerge from his class with a great friend and ally on campus. Take Durgin. You’ll thank me later.
Awful professor! Change sections if you can! His class is a huge waste of time. Most of the time he does not even teach (usually spends class time talking about his gay dating life, his experiences with porn, or marijuana) and when he does decide to teach, he just reads off of a paper. A lot of the classes were spent watching drag queen videos on YouTube and then he would quickly read the "progression goals" off of the prompts online the last 5 minutes of class. You won't learn anything about becoming a better writer. He is not the type of Professor that belongs in Columbia. Feedback on your essays is useless; none of it is constructive and basically just grades you based on whether or not he likes you.
Professor Durgin is a mixed bag. He's very passionate about the subject of writing and will do everything in his power to help you succeed. If you go to his office hours he will talk you through your essay and ensure that you walk away with a good idea, usually like 5, (more importantly an idea he likes) that you can pursue. The ideas are also genuinely interesting and will make you see the relations between individuals, narrative, and world in a whole new light. That said, his style of writing is very humanities, gender studies,that iffy dimension of philosophy and thought. So if you're not into the kinda bsey nuances of aesthetics, representation, and language it's going to be a rough semester. On the other hand, if you can stick to a text and analyze the shit of what it means for someone to wear white glasses or how sounds can be reflected off of mirrors in the form of images, you're good. Little bit of advice. The way he keeps his grading consistent and feel not like bs is that he grades very harshly on how close you keep to the text and exhibit. So for all the progressions stick very close to the language and arguments of your exhibit don't insert your own narration and expand the scope of your text. Stay as specific as possible. So if you're looking for an easy Uwriting class this is not it.So SEAS kids stay out. If you're genuinely interested in the humanities and academia in a gender studies/philosphy field, I cannot reccomend anyone better than Dr. Durgin. Also he's generally a great guy.
Dr. D is a great professor to have for university writing. I always found his feedback helpful. The more feedback you can get from him, the better your writing assignments will be (so go to office hours often). He really helped me to improve my writing. A word of note: His area of expertise is gender studies. I had him for contemporary essays, and a lot of our readings were about gender and sexuality; however, we always had other readings on which we could complete our assignments.
Dr. Durgin is knowledgeable, witty, and makes class an enjoyable experience for all. He's a fair grader and gives constructive, meaningful feedback on writing.
Professor Allen Durgin will make your University Writing class possibly the best class you will ever take at Columbia. Under its non-serious first impression, he will make you learn things that will be a treasure for the rest of your life - not only as a student but also as a person. JUST TAKE UW WITH HIM.