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I DID NOT TAKE 185A this thing wasn't letting em post without selecting something. When I took her first class in spring of 2009 on Gender and Development IDS 191, I was uncertain about the focus I wanted in development. My regional focus I knew was Pakistan, but the country has so many problems, my main question was: Where can I start. Professor Nandani’s course was able to answer most of my questions. After three weeks I knew I wanted to aspire to be just like her. Empowering women in rural Pakistan has become my passion. Professors Nandin’s course lectures helped me realize my passion in the field of gender and development. I was able to critically reflect on readings for the course and could apply them to case studies. One of the major reasons as to why no professor has been able to inspire me the way professor Nandini has is because she teaches with passion. Her main goal is to make sure that when we leave UCLA we are fully equipped to take on our responsibilities as developers. She simplifies concepts for us in such a way that the concepts never leave our minds. They form the core development frameworks that I keep in mind whenever I have carried out research. She is an incredible mentors and advisor. I can practically talk to her about anything, and will always leave the room feeling empowered, strong, inspired and purposeful. I am currently doing an independent study under her guidance on “Women in Poverty in Pakistan”. The purpose of this project is so that I find a focus on an area within the field of gender and development. Despite her busy schedule professor Nandani has taken out the time to help me in my project because she believes that we as IDS students strive for something meaningful and can bring out about change. In my case she believes in my endeavors and recognizes the sincerity and commitment I have towards eliminating poverty on Pakistan. It is my wish to have Professor Gunewardena as an advisor in grad school. Unfortunately, UCLA does not have a development program.Professor Nandani has an understanding that a lot of professors who teach IDS courses don not have. This has a lot to do with the fact that she has so much on the ground experience but also because she herself has roots in a developing country, Srilanka. She genuinely feels for the injustices and inequalities that exist in developing countries while understanding the cultural and social limitations that exist.
I will recommend taking all of her classes. Professor Nandini is a very fair grader and her exams are constructed so that she tests our core concepts... she is not interested in tricking students and making us write and write for hours. There are a very few classes at UCLA from i which i have actually "learned" soemthinhg... so if you are interesting in learning and being inspired at the same time TAKE HER CLASSSS!!!! SHE IS AWESOME!
I took Professor Gunewardena in Winter 2009 for an IDS 191 senior seminar on Gender Issues in International Development. Professor Gunewardena was one of the most dynamic professors I had at UCLA. Her classroom discussions were unparalleled. She gave her absolute best to us each time we met and always respected our intelligence and saw to it that everyone participated. And she took the time to learn all of our names!
The course was very well structured and I felt as though the readings, weekly assignments and the senior thesis though they were all very time consuming were of the caliber that I had come to expect at UCLA. But what impressed me most beyond the excellent readings, lectures and discussions, was Professor Gunewardena's depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in International Development combined with her optimism and compassion. It's so easy to fall into the the trappings of pessimism and anger in this line of academic inquiry as one reads about all of the injustices that have taken place and continue to take place in our world. Professor Gunewardena has the rare gift of inspiring her students with knowledge, passion, compassion and hope. And for that I will be forever indebted to her.
I took IDS 100A and IDS 191 with this professor (the drop-down menu on this site won't let me choose it). I wish I were able to take more courses with her because she is intelligent, insightful, extremely socially conscious, and a very effective professor. She really gets her students to not only learn the material but to also go beyond what we learn in the classroom and prepare us as professionals in International Development. She does so by equipping us with the knowledge, tools, and analytical type of thinking that is required in the field. I would recommend her as a professor to anyone who is willing to put in the effort and truly learn and grow as a student. Her courses are very manageable if you do not slack off as she expects insight from her students. Professor Gunewardena is the type of professor that pushes and inspires her students. I admire her very much!