Way too much workload for a 3 credit class. stay away. half the class dropped and I should have too.
I am taking his elections class in Summer A, so only 6 weeks, in an intensive format during the summer. I have some strong feelings about this guy which is why I'm writing this review about 4 weeks into the course. I wouldn't say he's as evil as all the other reviews make him out to be -- during live classes, he can really be quite pleasant, and he is a very decent lecturer. He has a lot of interesting things to say about the topic, which he is clearly passionate about and has a lot of experience in. He challenges his students with a rigorous course, but not to an unreasonable extent. HOWEVER. I was very impressed with him up until I encountered some issues, in which I found that he can be very inflexible, and when not in a large class setting, he can be very self-important. Even when asking questions in office hours, or after class, whenever it's one on one, he's very unapproachable. I had to miss class for religious reasons, and he did not make any exceptions on the in-class quiz for me, and would not extend the deadline, and automatically made that quiz I missed on of my automatically dropped quizzes. Moreover, when I encountered technological issues when trying to submit one of my assignments, he was once again, very inflexible. Honestly, I would be a bit less scathing if this class had been taken in normal settings; however, during a pandemic, in an intensive summer class, entirely online, when most of us are going through awful mental health burnout, his absolute lack of sympathy is quite frustrating. Take this class during a normal semester if you want something interesting but challenging, quite rigorous (as he holds his classes similar to law school courses), but you have to be willing to stick to exactly every single one of his rules, and do not expect much understanding or empathy coming from him.
THIS IS FOR ANY FRESHMAN WHO THINKS THEY ARE INTO POLITICAL SCIENCE: If you are a human who regularly listens to NPR, the Daily, took AP gov, or literally just has a BASIC understanding of American politics this is gonna be a boring and pointless class. Similarly, if you are interested in learning/thinking about the world with a remotely critical lens, this is not the department for you. Try history, WGSS, CSER, etc. I truly do not understand why Miller has goodish reviews. White men trying to be sassy and smart while they state basic information is so triggering— and he is exactly that. I do not trust anyone who has good things to say about this class.
This is my first CULPA review as well; however, the bad reviews on this guy are a joke. He is one of the most knowledgeable individuals and teachers that I have had. The bad reviews are definitely from underdeveloped students who can't understand humor or what a good professor is. He comes to class every day, using memes, to make it enjoyable for all. We had a mock congressional session and he spends time every class answering questions from the students. I took this as a freshman and I recommend anyone to take this class as well. Great Professor. Easy A.
I have never written a CULPA review before but as someone who was in the Fall 2020 class that received some very negative reviews, I would like to strongly disagree with the comments made about Professor Miller. This was one of the few virtual classes I've taken that was both interesting and manageable. I'm almost certain that the negative reviews were mainly from the first-year students in the class who seemed angry that their writing was being critiqued, all while constantly interrupting the lecture with repetitive questions. Just as an example, in a given lecture there could be 5 separate questions about the due date for something that was clearly marked on the syllabus. Just something to take into account when reading the reviews for Intro to American Politics.
This class was not intolerable, just annoying. Prof. Miller is the worst sort of lecturer - monotonously loud, unfunny, and one gets the feeling probably kind of a narcissist. (Example: an opening joke on day 2 - "Not many men have written a declaration of independence, but I once got a divorce.") Loves to hear himself talk at the expense of a deeper look at the material. If you're someone who generally retains information better from a professor who puts delivery over content, you'll like him. But if you prefer a lecturer who can be nuanced and detailed, sometimes at the expense of fun, stay away. It's an easy class, and there isn't much work required - you'll probably do fine if you take it. And, to his credit, he was accommodating and helpful during his office hours the time I attended. But I can't help but think it would be a far more interesting course were it taught by someone a bit more dynamic. It won't kill you but if you have a choice I'd wait for someone else.
I would not recommend Professor Miller. Wait for Intro to American Politics to be taught by another Professor if you want to take the class that badly. Professor Miller has clear favorites within lectures and calls on these people during the question time in the beginning and allows them to share long dialogues that take up class time. Professor Miller is unhelpful and unfriendly in response to emails and is overall unapproachable. He does have office hours but does not seem to be happy to see students during these hours ... If you take this class make sure you get a good TA- this is essential as they alone grade ALL your work for the class. Professor Miller's lecture style is very unique- the slides are mostly photos/ one or two words (yes words) so be prepared to really listen to what he is saying and do a lot of your own research as the lectures do not offer that much information.
Michael Miller is the only person I can think of that can take a topic as broad as "American Politics" and make it all about himself. From joking about getting arrested to refusing to make his class content widely accessible, you aren't going to get anything but angry with this class. The content and workload are not difficult by any means - it would just help to learn something that is actually useful as opposed to Miller's theoretical approaches to reforming our government.
Hilarious, knowledgeable, nuanced. Would recommend it (at least for Intro to American Politics). Will keep you engaged throughout the lecture with memes.
His class is fab. His exam is very thoughtful. He's organized and his class is interesting. He's the most organized professional professor I've had yet at Columbia. Glad he's here. He's like an actual teacher.
if you're taking literally ANY class except Intro to American politics, dip. He's rude, unhelpful, self aggrandising, and demoralising. There are other amazing polisci professors, don't waste your time + keep your sanity.
I genuinely don't understand how so many people could have such positive experiences with this professor, to be perfectly honest. I do think it's likely because he's a liberal centrist that feeds into the messed up narrative that white liberals love to cling to that the American government will be able to save us from itself, and that the real issue that exists today in the world is not, in fact, colonization, imperialism, and racial capitalism, but rather the fact that us leftists don't "reach across the aisle enough" to a political party which actively seeks to oppress and kill oppressed people and marginalized groups. Yes, the issue is that I am not tolerant enough of racist homophobes, not that racist homophobes are given respect, a platform, and wreak havoc on the world by upholding white supremacy through violent actions and microaggressions. I have some very complicated feelings about this man. At a point, due to my depression, it was very hard to make it to this 8:40 lecture, while I knew that I would be gaslit into thinking that racism in government isn't the issue, but rather our unwillingness to respect different ideas. In one of our discussion sections, he genuinely had us speak with a local Republican party member from Wisconsin (no hate for Wisconsin, of course, just want to indicate this person isn't from NYC) who didn't believe in climate change, and even at the end of that conversation, he still told us we "needed to reach accross the aisle". He sought out favorites who aligned with his beliefs,and it was at times interesting but also very draining to hear this man's take on politics that genuinely posessed zero nuance or respect for people of marginalized identities. I learned very little about how the government worked in the United States because the whole time I was in this class, I was fielding subtly or explicitly bigoted blanket statements made by this man, or defending basic human rights for all people in my discussion section. My TA wasn't great, but that really isn't that big of a deal to me honestly, PhD students are criminally overworked and underpaid and so if this required TA position isn't the top of your priority list, so what. I wasn't in class for this, but multiple people gave accounts of him saying things like, "If you haven't gotten arrested yet, you should try it sometime" and also, when he was talking about marginalized groups and social movements and their push for rights, he imitated being handcuffed and like pressed his head against the desk in the lecture hall like he was leaning against a cop car, and screamed, "Help, I'm being oppressed", or something similarly problematic and racist. It was very easy to feel gaslit by the course material and his attitude towards things such as social justice, and the way he spoke about Bernie Sanders (this was before all hell broke loose in this election that I took this, btw) ws like he truly didn't respect him or respect people's desire for a president that actually gave a crap about their citizens. This is just some of the microaggressions that made me dread coming to class, and going to my discussion section. All in all, he's a very problematic guy, and I don't know why everyone keeps recommending him to each other. This class GENUINELY made me stop pursuing the Political Science and pre-law track, because of how much I couldn't stand how problematic he was, and my fear of poli sci being that cold and far removed from any concept of compassion for other human beings. 0/10 recommend. Do not take this class.
This class is not for the feint of heart. Professor Miller is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about this topic and will make sure it will be engraved into your brain. The lectures are long and packed with information but also very interesting. He designs the course to prep you for law school. He will cold call you for the case briefs/summations so it forces you to be on your A game. This isn't an Easy "A" course. But with that being said, if you are passionate about American elections or law, I would highly recommend his class. You learn so much from his interesting take on this course.
Miller always ensures an engaging lecture, even at 8:40am. He challenges what you find in a normal government textbook (which he has us read) and brings refreshing takes on them, that too, non-partisan takes, and he also cracks good jokes here and there. While the beginning has an emphasis on a lot of US history, he covers topics and links them to the past and present to see where they fit in the political history and current political scene. Recommend this course overall, you'll definitely leave after having learned something new. As for the less nice parts of the course, the discussion section was pretty large and not terribly engaging - mostly just chat in groups about assigned reading topic then share in class. Grading is all done by TA's, so if you get a harsh one, you're at a disadvantage, but the best way to combat this is TA office hours. In addition, sometimes it feels like Miller was just a lecturer and not truly a professor - he minimized questions that students could ask him and not TA's, including about course material. Understandable given it's a huge class but still off putting. - then again, it could just be him preparing us for the real world or something, but wish he was more approachable. The exception is he lets students ask anything they want in the first five minutes, but his answers are often condescending and belittle students. For assessments, two midterms where he gives five essay questions in advance and randomly draws two, and for the final everyone answers one surprise question and the other one is drawn from four possible options. There are weekly readings from two textbooks, and there is a paper as well.
Professor Miller was an amazing professor! His lectures were interesting and engaging complete with memes and funny videos. The exams are very easy - he gives you five essay questions about one week ahead of time and two are randomly chosen on the day of the exam. If you attend lecture, the exams are super easy - you can literally just copy and paste from your notes. There is reading from the textbook for class, but I did not find it necessary and made As without reading it (Although if you are not American and/or do not have any background in the subject matter then I recommend reading it). There is also reading from another textbook for the weekly discussion section which is usually about 15 pages and is necessary to receive a good participation grade. There are also 3 simulations throughout the semester for which you have to prepare a "memo" and receive a participation grade for. Overall the class is easy if you show up for lecture and put in a reasonable amount of effort.
People really love Miller. I think he's funny and a great lecturer, but the class isn't particularly life-changing. It was kind of like APUSH 2.0. Lecture is very helpful to go to, but it's not mandatory. The discussion section was almost like a completely different course, which made it feel somewhat useless at times. However, I think that this is a good option for someone trying to fulfill requirements toward a political science major. He's definitely an interesting lecturer and person, but just don't get too caught up in the hype. His exams are extremely fair (he gives the prompts 1-2 weeks in advance and randomly draws), and it's almost impossible not to do well in the class if you study notes and go to section.
Michael Miller is hands down the best professor/teacher I have ever had. His lectures are witty, stimulating, and thought-provoking. His Intro to American Politics class is a favorite of mine: it is both an interesting topic and he just sells it all so well. Non-partisan teacher, too. Literally convinced everyone I know to take this course. It changed my life and way I think. I would donate my kidney for him-- not even a joke.
perhaps I'm just mentally challenged in the area of statistics but this is ONE HELL OF A RIDE. to be fair, professor miller does warn students that this class is going to be super hard. discussion sections are useless because it's 20 people all doing their own thing on STATA. one positive aspect of the course is that you definitely learn a lot. It's the kind of class that's hard, and doesn't give you an easy-A, but in the end, you are skilled in the topic. by the end of this class, I promise you I had recurring nightmares of failing the class, that's how stressful it was. I remember Butler being full of students from my class at 3 am in the mornings as we would stare at each other with a pitiful gaze... oh my... why take this course then, you may ask. if you want to be an academic in political science, if you want to truly understand political quantitative analysis, take this course. compared to other methods courses, I'm positive you'll learn more. If you're looking for an easy way to get the methods requirement over with, please, save yourself.