Professor Mansfield is one of the nicest professors you will ever meet. She has such a calming presence and is truly angelic. I had her for both Molecular & Mendelian Genetics and Development, and in both courses she was so clearly passionate about what she was teaching and helps make everyone in the class be excited about the material. The content in combination with her teaching made this class my favorite class I've ever taken at Barnard.
Developmental biology is an amazing field for anyone interested in genetics and molecular biology, but it also touches upon evolution and environmental effects. This course is also great for anyone hoping to learn to read scientific papers better. The material is very detailed but also interesting, and Prof. Mansfield is very clear about what she expects you to know. She emphasizes the concepts and understanding the material on a deep level as opposed to memorizing specific examples. Overall, she is just a really wonderful and extremely clear professor.
There is a textbook for the course but Prof. Mansfield will never test you on anything you didn't go over in class. The textbook is useful for when you want to look at something in greater detail for your own intellectual curiosity, but you won't spend hours a week reading the textbook or anything like that. You can definitely do well in this class by just studying the lecture material really well.