James Crapotta

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Dec 2010

Basically, he's super friendly, flamboyant, and enthusiastic. He probably the most animated professor i've ever had. When he explains something, he also runs around the room, gesticulating and hopping up on the table. It's actually a bit scary sometimes because he's not exactly young and his eyes sight is infamously bad. I never went to office hours but from what I heard, he's always willing to answer questions and explain anything you don't understand. I would say, however, that he doesn't tend to dominate discussions more than necessary. I wish he's let students talk a bit more. Also, i felt that we had to write about the same topic over and over and over, which was really boring.

Dec 2010

For me, the enthusiasm of the professor made the class. His passion for the language and engaging character made the course's dry textbook material more interesting and accessible. He promoted interesting conversations and was open to the ideas and creativity of students. Particularly, the critical thought and creative use of language he promoted in the class discussions on the required films and short fictions brought Spanish to life in a mature and applicable context. He graded fairly and created a fun classroom environment. I would recommend him.

Feb 2010

I don't even know how to describe how wonderful this class was. Professor Crapotta is by far one of the best professors I have ever had. His love for teaching inspires his students to work hard, care about the course material, and simply enjoy learning. I enrolled in this course because I needed a class for my literature requirement. Little did I know that it would be truly a joy to attend and participate in class. I had no knowledge of opera before I took this class and most definitely did not expect to enjoy listening to it. Now, I have a new appreciation for the art and wish that I could take it over and over again. The class is a fascinating look at how opera develops from an initial literary text and how music transforms and develops the meaning of these works. If I could give one piece of advice for anyone thinking about taking this class or any other class with this professor, I would say do it. It will not be an easy A, but it will be by far one of the best classes you will ever take at this school.

Jan 2009

The sub-title of this class was called: "Hispanic Cultures in the Age of Globalization." Professor Crapotta is a very enthusiastic, energetic man who truly feels passionate about the Spanish language and culture. He utilizes many different ways of teaching in order to present the different material (interviewing natives, group work, presentations, videos, online work, etc.) At times, it is a bit overwhelming because there is so much to cover and not a lot of time to do so. Therefore, sometimes he has you reading a lot of material while trying to catch up on everything. At times, the reading can be excessive, but they are somewhat interesting. A lot of your grade is based on your participation, so make sure to ask questions and offer input during each lesson. Also, DO NOT BUY THE BOOK THAT HE SUGGESTS YOU BUY (Gramática básica del estudiante de español) -- although it is a helpful book, it is not necessary to buy -- we never use it in class and you can find all that information online somewhere.

Jan 2008

I really can't honestly recommend him as a teacher for this course. He seemed genuinely excited about the information concerning Spain, but that was about the only thing I can praise him on. Sometimes he said incorrect information about Latin America, and sometimes he basically just omitted it altogether. Given, this is a class that's in the process of being reworked, but I definitely wouldn't take it with Crapotta if I were you. Also, he's overly critical of all writing things you do--on top of the fact that he makes them 2 pages each instead of the department-dictated 250 words.

Jan 2008

Personally, I liked Crapotta a lot. He's energetic, clearly passionate about his field (Golden Age of Spain, Don Quixojote, etc), and knowledgeable beyond belief. I think he gets the short end of the stick from the department and the students. The department give him WAYYYY too much material to teach in 3 hours per week and the students feel frustrated to learn it. Being an upperclassmen was slightly frustrating because the midterms were a total regression to high school: remembering DATES of battles, rulers, etc and then putting them in chronological order. Lots of 2 pg papers, the first few with a chance for revision. Crapotta tries to help you and wants you to do well. He cut down our workload, and was good about giving people the chance to come in and talk to him about anything from grammar to how you feel in class. He's not the easiest grader (nor the hardest), so I'd say his course is a good choice.

May 2007

Professor Crapotta is one of those professors you either love or hate. There is no middle ground. I enjoyed his class immensely, but I know people who stand outside the sign-up sheet in Milbank warning against him. He is kind of a hardass with pronounciation and if you don't participate willingly he gets annoyed. My advice to anyone in this class is to be polite, prepared and willing to take a risk. FYI-- he kind of has a temper, so save your attitude for someone willing to raise your grade.

Jan 2007

The good news is that he teaches you vocab that you can use everyday, from political language to theater and art. But while the professor can be engaging, clever and funny at times, I often found myself watching the clock.

Dec 2006

Professor Crapotta was terrible. Every class he would find a way to make political references that were absolutely opinionated and unnecessary. Also, he seems to have a large chip on his shoulder against Columbia students. He adores the Barnard students in his class, but if you go to Columbia do not take this man's class.

Jan 2004

I had mixed feelings about Prof. Crapotta. He had a big personality, was entertaining, (and loves to be entertained, don't forget that for ANY assignment; make him laugh and pay attention to your grammar and accent and he's yours), but seemed distant at first. Don't be scared; by the end of the semester, I grew to love him and the whole class. We learned from every possible source of Spanish, and the class is more work and time than you probably expect from a Spanish class, but it's not busy work, and it's not wasted. You'll get better and more comfortable with Spanish, and he'll have you speaking more fluidly by the end of the semester. Smile, pay attention (not hard except during grammar days), laugh, and make him do the same during your (many) presentations (mostly fun skits). I used to hate working in groups; now I miss my class. In short, Crapotta is great if you just match his personality.

Mar 2003

He's so funny and entertaining that a lot of the time the hour will fly by. He does stuff like "Soapboxes" where you get to stand up and lament about your problems. In presentations, he's generous about not having all the words memorized, but wants the presentors to be entertaining. He loves opera.

Apr 2002

Not recommended... there's nothing wrong with him, I just know that everyone in other sections had a much more enthusiastic time. He's very good if you get behind, but his personality doesn't make the class worth it. Not inspiring. Do something inspiring, it's good for you. You have the power... choose something else, please. If not, remember that this is my personal opinion and you might enjoy his class.

Jan 2002

Good, funny, interesting, STRANGE teacher but I'd definitely recommend him. Watch out for Carmen though ("she" is quite the unusual character). Even still, he is very understanding and makes class a dynamic experience.