Fall 2019 - Pretty clear, straightforward class. Your grade consists of three papers and participation. The papers aren't too hard, especially if you go to your TA for help (I had Kyle Scott and he always gave me great advice for my essays). Participation does matter, so you do have to talk sometimes during discussions, not just show up. Again, I had Kyle as a TA, so he considered anything from asking questions during section to giving your own take on a philosopher to going to office hours as participation. There are also pass/no pass quizzes that go into participation that were pretty easy. Dr. Gallagher posts all the possible questions on the slides and pretty much all the answers were on the slides too. As long as you pass three out of the four, you should be fine. Dr. Gallagher posts readings that you're technically supposed to read before every lecture. However, she explains everything really clearly during lecture so I personally don't think doing every single reading is necessary, just make sure you do the reading for the prompt you're going to write for your papers. She posts slides that have quotes and page numbers on them and I found that super helpful as a guide for writing my papers and citing stuff. I honestly found discussion more interesting than lecture, just because we were able to discuss and debate the content. Basically, lecture's to help you understand the content in a concise, straightforward way, discussion's then a place for you to give your own interpretation. Overall, I really did like this class, would definitely recommend taking it.
Spring 2019 - People say Dr. Gallagher is a bit on the boring/dry side which is fair but she's also very clear and able to emphasize what she wants you to know. It's more that she can be somewhat repetitive and can have very long trains of thought, but nevertheless many of the topics should be at least decently interesting to the average person. Among her strengths are that her lectures are extremely organized and, again, she emphasizes the main points that she wants you to know in lecture. This is absolutely critical. If you can force yourself to sustain that attention in class, you can save yourself hours of reading outside of class. What I ended up doing, actually, was to focus my energy on getting everything I could from her lectures and THEN doing the readings AFTER lecture instead of before lecture as suggested because then the readings were a breeze and I could ensure that I was making the connections and reviewing the points she wanted me to know. The class grading is structured as follows: Weekly quizzes: 10% - drop lowest 2 out of 9 weeks Section attendance / participation: 15% - note that both actually count Midterm 1: 20% Midterm 2 :20% Final exam: 35% Quizzes were simple, 2 questions long and were there just to check that you did the bare minimum. People essentially almost always got 100%. For attendance/participation, she has a clustered grading scheme where absences are punitive. In other words, it's set up as "0 or 1 absences" "2 absences" and so on as well as outstanding vs excellent vs good vs satisfactory vs unsatisfactory participation. It's somewhat convoluted and she sends an email at the end about it but essentially 1 unexcused absence will not harm you in any way whatsoever, but 2 unexcused absences with "excellent" (outstanding not allowed for 2 unexcused absences) participation automatically sets you back to an A- grade for participation. Midterm exams were split into Part 1 and Part 2 sections, with Part 1 being multiple choice/short answer. I felt like these were quite straightforward and they were pretty lenient on grading. Part 2 was an essay with a prompt that they gave you beforehand. Going to office hours / review session is very helpful in getting a sense of the direction you want to take - otherwise it's easy to get off track and write an essay that may not meet what they're looking for or falls into some major philosophy traps. Final exam has an additional Part 3 essay section where you aren't given the prompt beforehand and you must take an ethical stance and defend it on the fly for a case that she sets up for you. I personally felt that the final's Part 1 multiple choice was trickier and I regretted not reading the slides in more depth, something I didn't expect to have to do given that I had already put in a significant amount of effort into knowing each author's arguments quite well and her main points. However, I also ended up doing much better on the final than I had anticipated despite my concerns, and so did others. Averages for the exams were as follows: Midterm 1: nearly 87 Midterm 2: 88 Final: 89 (I asked her, as she didn't send a follow-up email as she did for the midterms) All in all, Dr. Gallagher is a super fair professor and if you ever need help, she will be very patient in ensuring that you have your questions properly answered. This is definitely a decent class to take to fulfill your philosophy/linguistics GE and I also loved having Maddy as my TA :).