English courses stimulate students


Rebecca Vicente

Whether students are aiming to get into the Zicklin School of Business, the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences or the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, they will inevitably end up taking a wide variety of courses.

Business students, for example, can take courses in communications, ecological research, psychology, sociology and other disciplines that they ordinarily would not select. The requirements to get into Zicklin are rigorous and demanding, requiring many interdisciplinary courses for student.

There is something to be said for the amount of variety offered here. In high school, students are largely unable to choose their classes and the classes offered are the standard English, history, math and science gamut that satisfies the common core requirements.

At Baruch College, English classes, in particular, are engaging. Some professors in introductory English classes do not coddle students in any way; if a student’s writing is horrible, the grade will reflect it. Some students get Cs on their first papers, but end up with an A in the class by working through writing prompts, practicing and incorporating the advice professors give about writing.

It is exhilarating to have educators who have little difficulty telling students that their work is bad. In some way, it demonstrates that they care enough about Baruch students to hone their skills rather than inflate their egos and their grades with a decent grade that they did not earn.

Discussions are intellectually stimulating as well, particularly within some English classes. Students are assigned articles from The New Yorker and some short plays, like Glengarry Glen Ross. Professors foster discussions about these short works with questions and encourage students to participate and feed off of one another’s ideas.

These discussions, along with the mandatory speeches in communications and the various presentations required in business classes, help students become comfortable with organizing and discussing their thoughts with others in a public setting.

Other professors are just pleasant and interesting to talk to, even outside of the classroom. Beyond that, professors just seem incredibly intelligent. The depth at which some professors analyze a text in English classes and allude to both earlier points in the work and to points in other, similar works is astounding. Professors also draw conclusions about future plot events and character motivations, which shows keenness and interest in the works, traits that are highly valued in an academic standard.

It is also noteworthy to discuss the vast array of literary works, including ancient Greek epic poems, Indian tales, Chinese poetry and Japanese haikus that students are asked to read in English classes. Students are asked to write about these works by reflecting on their meaning and comparing and contrasting them. English classes at Baruch allow for a student’s analytical and critical skills to flourish.

In addition to the superb professors and intriguing material that make Baruch’s classes so engaging, the students themselves are intelligent, pleasant to be around and motivated to get the most out of their education as possible. They make group projects enjoyable and push others to try harder in their own studies as well.

One cannot simply point to any single component as the sole reason for Baruch’s engrossing English classes. The classes are not stellar just because of the engaging professors, interesting material or mature, likeable students. All of these factors join together to form a wonderful learning environment.

The professors may be challenging and the work in some English courses may be difficult to grasp, but the overall benefit to a student’s education attained by working hard and making the most of it cannot be understated. If students do not participate in class, ignore their professor or shirk group work, they miss out.