Winter 2018 - For a core IDS class, I was heavily disappointed. Professor Apter covers key concepts necessary for development studies, such as dependency theory and modernization theory, however his delivery and lectures are in desperate need of clarity and structure. At the beginning of the course, he has powerpoint slides for each lecture, however, midway throughout the quarter he stops presenting from slides and provides no slides, notes, bullets, etc. These lectures were very confusing and essentially just consisted of tangents over tangents that left the class very confused as to what the objectives of the lecture were. There were many times where I had only a few sentences of notes because the majority of the lecture were filled with him rambling about who knows what. He is a nice person, however, as a professor he really needs some sort of structure to his class so students know what they are expected to learn. There was no study guide for the midterm or final so essentially you had to find anything that seemed important enough from the readings or lectures and regurgitate that. Midterm and final were of similar format, with you having to define a few terms out of a small word bank and then 1 essay for the midterm, 2 for the final. Discussions talked about the readings, some of which were important, others not so much. This was a theory-focused course and the readings were quite dense at times. I am highly disappointed with this course and it was my least favorite of the IDS core classes. I have had courses without slides before and they have been excellently structured so it is possible to teach a class this way, however, this was not it.
IDS 100A Prof. Apter is the biggest disappointment to any IDS major. He is a conceited, very vocally biased anthropologist who has managed to say the words "Bush, Cheney, or Republicans" in every single lecture in a negative context. Biases and political rants aside, he is just simply ignorant; he couldn't draw a basic supply and demand curve and doesn't know a single thing about economics, despite his best attempts to sound educated in the subject He is incredibly disorganized in lecture, with no powerpoints, and regularly yelled at us for taking notes on our laptops. He speaks so fast and incoherently (with political rants spewed throughout) that it is impossible to understand just what the hell he is talking about. He loves talking about himself and his useless "research" concerning African sociology and anthropology; he has a lot to say about what aid programs fail to do, yet he himself has not done anything at all for the development world and makes you feel as if IDS is a total joke. In my four years at UCLA, Apter is by far the worst instructor I have ever had and I am actually ashamed to say he is a part of the IDS program. Not only is he a babbling idiot who contributes nothing to helping the world, he regularly hates on all others who dare to go against his socialist beliefs. One last note, he will call out students who are even 1 minute late and constantly remind us that "this is the most important class you'll ever take and also the hardest".
I took History 164E and IDS 100A with Apter. DO NOT TAKE ANY CLASS WITH HIM. Not only is he actually a terrible lecture but he is also a horribly rude person. His lectures are all over the place, no powerpoint, no real theme to take notes on. He goes off on side tangents about his "research" in Nigeria or about how much he hates republicans. He criticizes international development like it is a joke (clearly to the wrong audience, we are all IDS majors...); and hates on international aid but does not offer any alternatives - if you look up the "research" he has done in his career you will see this. He can't even draw a supply and demand curve (anyone who took this class in Winter of 2015 will tell you that), the most basic principle of economics! That is completely ridiculous and there is no excuse why he should have such a lack of knowledge. And then, of course, he pretends that he knows so much more about economics than we do, and attempts to use fancy words in order to make himself feel smarter than us. He also has this really annoying habit of yelling at people who walk in right AT 9:30 or even at 9:31, because this class is "the most important one you will ever take and you are being disrespectful by being late". Well i'd like to see his fat a** walk from Veteran to Public Affairs and see if he got there on time. I learned absolutely nothing of value in this class, and if you have the opportunity to take either of these classes with a different professor, DO IT. His History 16E class was no better (taken Spring 2014). The best part of that class was I enjoyed one of the textbooks he assigned, but that was it. (learned more from the textbook than I did in lecture - the book is called The Fate of Africa). Overall he is the worst professor i've ever had at UCLA, and I started off as a south campus major taking classes from Lavelle and Dearicott, which is saying something.