I took Russian 25 as a GE class with Professor Lenhoff and found it to be enjoyable. From a South Campus perspective, I found the workload to be manageable, though the reading was perhaps a bit intense towards the end. Take the class, DO THE READING... and you will learn and gain a new appreciation for good works of literature. This is not the easiest (nor the hardest) GE class I've taken, but it was worthwhile.
Winter 2022 - Unless you really like Russian literature (and I mean already know you like it, not just think you like it in theory) I would not take this class. The readings pile up super quickly, so if you like dedicating many hours of your personal time to reading Tolstoy, you will love this class. The main issue I had with this class was with the final essay. The entire grade is two tests and one essay. Prior to the essay you will have submitted no written work to Professor Lenhoff and will have no idea what she wants. She provides no guidelines other than a loose choice of prompts (no rubric or guidelines other than font and length) and the TA seemed to really have no idea what she wanted either. The essay was pretty much a shot in the dark. For the tests she really just wants you to regurgitate her lectures, for which she never provides slides or notes (missing class is a death sentence). I found that my "interpretations" were somehow always "incorrect" and since the texts are primarily obscure Russian stories, there is no help to be found anywhere on the internet. I think someone with experience in Russian lit or an english major might enjoy this class more than I did, but if you are a STEM major looking for a random interesting GE, this is not the class for you.
Taking this class my first quarter at UCLA was a huge mistake. Not only is writing about Russian literature is hard, the professor does not tell you how to improve your writing and expects you to get everything together for the final paper. I don't know - maybe she is a lot easier in her upper div classes - but Rus 25W was absolute hell and it ruined my GPA.
Winter 2022 - Really great Professor! I enjoyed this class and would take it again. Her lectures were very engaging and easy to follow. She always made herself available to students who needed extra help. She promptly responded to emails and was very clear with her explanations. I think that the most important thing in this class is to take good notes that organize each book based on its characters, setting, style, theme etc. since it is very easy to get mixed up in the novels we read. Some things to note: 1. It is time intensive. We read the following books and short stories in the class: Captain's Daughter by Pushkin Queen of Spades by Pushkin The Nose by Gogol Terrible Vengeance by Gogol Ivan Shponka by Gogol Petersburg Tales by Gogol The Double by Dostoevsky A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov Anna Karenina by Tolstoy Lefty by Leskov Lady Macbeth by Leskov Small Mistake by Leskov The Man on the Watch by Leskov 2. Exams: while they seem to be relatively simple they are actually a bit deceiving. You don't have a lot of time to answer the questions even though they are asking for straightforward things such as characters, setting, theme, etc. There isn't that much time to think, you just kind of have to know it. There were 2 midterms in the class. For each midterm we were given 1 hour and 15 minutes. 3. Lecture Notes: Oftentimes the professor will emphasize what is important. You should write it down because I guarantee that it will appear on the exam. I do admit, everything that is said in lecture is of vital importance. Even though attendance is not required, you must attend lecture and discussion to do well in the class and understand the material.
*Took Russian 25 Compared to other professor, Lenhoff is less than mediocre. She quotes wikipedia in lectures. Her analysis of the plays are basic plot outlines. She has her favorites in her class and makes it clear. If you say anything she does not agree with, she becomes dismissive. She looks bored when people answer questions in class. Sometimes she just say that she does not have enough information on the material. Her lectures are all over the place. She goes on tangents about her own personal life. The material is great (Russian plays), but the class is not critical. You have to copy what she says in lectures on your assignments. Sadly, this was the only class I could take to finish off my Russian minor or else I would have avoided her. If you like being told what is right and wrong and not be allowed to have a thought to yourself, you'll love her. If not, well try not to waste your time. Sidenote: Her husband is the department chair so clearly she gets away with a lot
Fall 2022 - This class with Professor Lenhoff was the worst that I have taken at UCLA. Lectures are dull as she reads off a piece of paper and as much as she voices that she wants to help her students, her actions do not match her words. It is either her way or the highway which is an absolute struggle, especially in a history class, with many alternate perspectives that could be correct, however, if she does not agree, it will not be counted as correct. She does have an absolute love for Russia, to a fault, where she has solidified her point of view so dramatically that she expects the answers in exams to match her opinions. Her grading, similarly to her teaching, is very harsh, with little room for error, and she has no interest in helping her students to pass her class. I appreciate this class purely because it helped me in terms of perseverance because it was solely me helping myself in this class, with no assistance from the Professor.
I took Russ 120 last Spring and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although a bit restrained, I always was quite fascinated by her lectures. I did not have any prior experience with Russ Lit, nor do I speak Russian as many of the students in the class seemed to--perhaps its my ignorance that allowed me to take interest in this class, but I did. I lived almost all the books we read, even though I didn't finish a couple of them. I received an A in the class withoout too much duress. Slacked off until the midterm and then crammed, same thing with the final and final paper. I don't know... I really liked it.