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She's a pretty incredible teacher and a great lady. It's a real shame she's left and everyone here will be deprived of the experience of her awesome classes.
I audited several of her classes while she was here at UCLA because she's really just that much of an interesting and engaging lecturer. Her slides and lecture material are entertaining. She's very knowledgeable about the material and interested in imparting it to the students and getting them to engage in the class. She's a quick talker but very clear. And she's funny and quite a snazzy dresser as well.
In the large lower div lectures she gives 5 15-min identification quizzes per quarter, in addition to a midterm and final. In the smaller upper div classes she requires papers and - notably - several group presentation projects. Her classes aren't easy: she goes to quite a bit of effort to ensure her students do have to do significant work to get a good grade, but I always got the sense that most students enjoyed the classes and her teaching anyway (except for some in the lower div classes; there's always a crowd in those lectures that's only looking for an easy grade.)
I really, really wish she hadn't decided to leave UCLA. I'd have kept auditing her classes forever if I could. I was lucky enough to attend her last lecture here in spring of 16', which is the only reason I know some of the why and how she vanished from UCLA. (I'm really surprised not a single one of her students from that class left a review here.)
This last class just happened to be on the very next day after the shooting incident that occurred here at the engineering school. She spoke a great deal about that topic, along with, to my shock, announcing she was leaving UCLA. I wasn't shocked for nothing: UCLA is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and she'd recently gotten tenure here, and she told us she was leaving this job with no firm plans at all for a new one.
She said she was leaving due to recently realizing that she wasn't happy at UCLA and in Los Angeles, and would prefer to work in a smaller institution with smaller classes, as that is where she feels the best learning environments are. While I'm sure those things are true, I got the very strong impression that these were by far not all of her reasons.
As I mentioned, she spoke for the majority of that last lecture about the topic of the school shooting on campus, encouraging students to think about the issues arising from incidents like these and particularly about issues of safety, being more aware, and how to try to take some steps to get better safety measures implemented in schools to either attempt to avoid these events or deal with them as they're happening. She noted things such as the lack of internal locks on our classroom doors and the difficulty of opening windows to escape. Either in this class or a previous one I attended, she'd mentioned that she was at UNC during the 95' shooting incident there and heard the noise and panic, so this is obviously a personally significant topic to her.
Notably, she said that this - a student who's mentally unbalanced becoming irrationally angry at a professor (or classmates) and resorting to weapons - could happen to literally anyone. She said that she herself at a previous job had to personally go to great effort to help with the very difficult situation of a mentally ill grad student because that university's administration would not (and seemingly could not) do anything. And she told us how right here at a meeting of the UCLA art history department she'd recently proposed instituting safety and emergency policies for the event of a school shooting; and the response of everyone at that meeting was to simply laugh at her.
If you've bothered reading this far, you can probably see what I'm getting at here about what are likely her real reasons for leaving UCLA. I for one am deeply sad the university lost such an exemplary professor over these circumstances.
In case she ever happens to read this: UCLA has installed internally-locking locks on most of the classroom doors sometime in the past half a year, though it was probably just because of the unfortunate event in the spring and not due to any one staff member's opinion. And I've seen the occasional leaflet recently hanging off departmental cork boards here on the topic of what to do in the event of an active shooting. I guess it's better than nothing? Better late than never? Something like that.
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