Class taken: Pub Pol 10A To be perfectly honest, this guys personality just bugs the hell out of me. If I'm sticking to the criticism of the class and his teaching, the books are interesting, and the policy memos are graded difficultly but actually teach you a valuable skill. I cannot say the same about the rest of the class. I usually went (just because I had class right before and after) but spent the entire time on bbc or cnn. Because after a half hour explanation of what inflation is, I figured out that everything you need to know can be learned from high school econ and you know, not living in a cave. Stoll's just smug, and assumes a great level of idiocy in his students. Except on the policy memos, where he expects you to be perfect... Don't let it keep you away from the minor though, once you start picking your own classes its good!
Fall 2019 - Overall, this class was enjoyable and provided a great introduction to public affairs. Professor Stoll was very passionate about the subject matter and tried his very best to make the class interesting and engaging. Grading Breakdown: The class is broken down into 2 policy memos (45% of grade), 2 midterms (40% of grade), one op-ed assignment (10% of grade), and discussion section attendance/participation (5%). This is a pretty fair breakdown and offers pretty good distribution across assignments. Lectures: This class was very lecture based with lectures focusing on public policy basics and sub-topic breakdowns (i.e. lectures on heath policy, economic policy, crime policy, etc). This provided a great introduction to future studies in public affairs. I will say, however, Prof. Stoll did get sidetracked often and sometimes only got through 3 slides in one lecture period, focusing instead on a class discussion or going over class logistics. We would try to play catch up but never fully covered all lectures. He also sometimes failed to show up for lecture and his slides were not the easiest to follow. Exams: The class consists of two midterms (no dedicated final exam although midterm #2 is week 10) that include true/false, m/c, short- and long-answer sections. In my opinion, the exams were fair and covered key concepts and gave case studies/scenarios that needed to be resolved. Exam grading was on the slower side but fair. Prof. Stoll was clear on what would be covered and the TA's held review sessions in discussion. Essays: The class consists of three total essays of relatively short length (500 words (op ed), 4 pages (each memo)) that were interesting to write in my opinion. He does change up the essay prompts so ymmv, but the first two essays we got to choose our topics while the last one was on Social Security. We had a long time to write each one and the deadlines were spaced out, but this is one of the main weaknesses of the class. Prof. Stoll failed to release assignment specifics (i.e. rubrics) until like 3-4 days before the due date and communication between the TAs and professor was weak. They often didn't know the specifics and failed to provide examples or even specifics on formatting. Also, your specific TA does not grade your papers, making it hard to know what is expected of the assignment. I definitely recommend working with classmates for peer review as the TAs are not helpful in that regard. Discussion Sections: Personally, I found the discussion sections to be the worst part of the entire course. Instead of focusing on diving deeper into the subject matter explained in lecture, we would review writing tips for the writing assignments, repeating the same key points each week. Even though my TA was very helpful and knowledgeable, he (and others) seemed to not communicate well with the professor, unaware of class logistics (i.e. due dates, assignment specifics, etc). Use caution with this and make sure to listen to everything the professor has to say. Conclusion: Despite these negative marks, this class still was wonderful. I enjoyed learning about the subject material and finding the policy areas I am most interested in. A good grade is doable if you take the time on the essays and review the lectures before the exams. If you are on the fence about pub aff, take this class! You will learn a lot about the field.
I took Public Policy 10A (Intro) with Professor Stoll and it was pretty chill. There are three policy memos and two midterms but they're all quite manageable. The reading for this class is to the point (not dense) and Stoll's teaching style is very down-to-earth. He often engages the class in discussion (tying policy theories to current events) and he's pretty funny. If you put enough effort into this class, you will do well. Final grade: A+