Student Comments
Spring 1998

What follows are ALL the hand-written comments by students from their evaluations of Eco 350k, Spring 1998.


"I think Harry did a great job and he deserves his own building for an office. He motivates me to act and question stuff I never questioned before. I doubt I have ever learned so much from one class, he is truly gifted in his ability to both understand and instruct the material, a virtue few possess."

"This is the best economics class I've taken. I actually learned what was, and is, going on in the world both politically and economically. Other classes focus on theories and how things are supposed to work, this class showed me how they actually do work. Dr. Cleaver is an exceptional professor, he taught me to look around and think for myself. He is the most thought provoking Prof. I've ever had. The only criticism I have is that the last section of the course is a little rushed. I would've liked to spend more time discussing the issues."

"This course is designed for the die-hard intellectual. Only those who are willing to consume large quantities of information and process it (rather than the standard regurgitation) will survive the rigors of Cleaver's educational schemata. I enjoyed the thought processes, and questions raised by this course. If I had the cash, I would gladly register for it a second time. Kudos to Dr. Cleaver."

"I don't have any comments or suggestions --This was the best course I've had at UT."

"Course was excellent. Interesting to see so much Marxist analysis on so many subjects. Ignore those who say too much reading. Reading IS almost excessive but that much reading gives you different perspectives on some issues, which is necessary. I would put more articles from capitalists in order to show motives. Often their own readings can be more insightful than Zerowork, because it's from their side, and they are not always coy. Thanks for providing another avenue to explore economics at UT."

"I found it very difficult to keep up with this class. The assigned readings seem to continuously pile up. I felt like there was absolutely no way to keep up with the readings in order to participate in class discussions. I felt that Mr. Cleaver has a great amount of knowledge and a firm grasp of relative information necessary for the class."

"Although I found this class to be highly informative (and entertaining!) it would have been helpful to have had specific reading assignments for each class. It was difficult for me to keep up with readings (but I did think that most articles were interesting and helpful.) This was definitely one of my most interesting classes this semester."

"I really liked this course, because it made me realize the problems the world is facing and made me think for myself about them. But, I have to tell, that it was a huge workload, considering that we have other classes. I also have to accept that it was worth it, because I feel I got a lot from this course. It made me enrich myself. I want to thank you Dr. Cleaver, because you made me change my mind about many issues and because thanks to you I'm more judgematical."

"A very interesting and thought-provoking class; the material will be very useful as I go on to study international law. I suggest that the course grade be comprised of more than three test grades. Perhaps you should include several small writing assignments to keep students reflecting upon and understanding the material better. In addition, more analysis highlighting the key concepts would be helpful. I became so overwhelmed by all the details that I couldn't always determine the main idea. For some reason, the Peso Crisis and Immigration were the most comprehensible topics; please continue to use them."

"I would love to take this and only this class in a semester. Too much to study and too little time to think about what has been studied. The TA's grading really sucked, students in class compared "A" exams to "C" exams and found no real brilliant differences. And my difference in preparation and intellectual grasp on various sections was not at all reflected in the grade. I think the TA should be required to sit in on lectures --the night he administered exams was the first time he seemed to have anything at all to do w/class other than grades. You are an incredibly awesome Prof. so overall I have zero regrets for having taken the course."

"This course has too much information and should be divided into two semesters. Cleaver should do a presentation for half the class and then a discussion about the presentation for the other half."

"I really enjoyed this class. Professor Cleaver is a very intelligent person who really knows how to get the class involved. He has really opened my eyes to many of the problems in the world today. I feel that I have definitely benefited from this class not just in a classroom sense, but for gaining knowledge about the world, in an economic and even deeper sense."

"Professor Cleaver helped me see things in a very different light. Grade-wise I wish I had done better but I do believe I came out of the class knowing so much more than when I came in. The subject matter can be difficult but I found it interesting."

"I feel that the tests could be modified or replaced with other types of knowledge testing. Also I feel that Harry could have organized formal groups to participate in discussions and/or case studies of the material. There could have been less reading and more projects based on research of topics discussed. Overall, I felt I benefited from taking this course and ultimately I see things/the world around me in a new light. Dark as it may be."

"Dear Cleaver: I have truly enjoyed your class. You have opened my eyes to a lot of what is currently going on in the world. I felt the class was structured well with the handouts. However, I felt the reading required an excessive amount of time. All of the articles you had us read were pertinent to the discussions. Maybe you could highlight, or underline, as you did in some articles, the important information. All of the articles were good. I just saw a lot of redundancy that may be avoided. I truly enjoyed your class and good luck with future teaching."

"The amount of reading for this course was excessive. If the reading was limited, then the students would actually read it and benefit from the class discussions. And even when some students read all of the material, it was rushed, and undigested. And therefore of no real use. But this course offers a unique opportunity to see economics on a global scale with a good view of the policies that shape it."

"This class costs too much. Some of the articles could be weeded out to save everyone's time. Maybe there should be more, smaller tests instead of having to take two hour tests outside of class. This really screwed up my work schedule."

"I enjoyed the course and instructor very much, but I have a couple of suggestions. The material was excellent because it was informative and interesting. However, it seemed too much to me. There was an overload of information that caused at times a loss of interest and actual disdain for the material. The tests cover entirely too much material to be specific. Either shorten the readings, or broaden the test questions. Another solution would be to turn this into a writing component course because it would be extremely interesting to write on all these topics without just regurgitating facts, but making coherent arguments. I enjoyed the course and instructor, but would like to see some modifications in material or testing procedures."

"This course was beneficial in that it made (incited) me explore world events and happenings as related to our society. It also prompted me to indulge myself in foreign affairs from the perspective of those involved. Cleaver was very much on the level of the students which helped us to be interested and to participate."

"Great class, Dr. Cleaver, but too much reading. Cut back a bit on the packets."

"I really enjoy the outline handouts. It helps the class run smoothly, and keeps the students following. I would like to suggest not being so intent on the computer. Sometimes questions are missed by this focus. Overall this was a wonderful class. Very thought provoking and informative."

"There was entirely too much reading in this class. I had more reading in this class than in all of my other classes combined. We started discussing future packets before anyone had finished reading the previous packet. There was not much assistance in preparing for tests or direction as to what to focus on. The overheads weren't that useful and just made it harder to take notes. We often got on tangents, while sometimes interesting, were not related to the course or the tests. The tests were long and questions complex to answer in the time given. The professor was often unreceptive to people's questions and he often either ignored them or failed to thoroughly answer them. The material was presented in a very one-sided manner, instead of letting us draw our own conclusions based on underlying information."

"1. There aren't enough periodicals in the library on the subjects of this course. 2. Dr. Cleaver is a person with great intelligence & communication skills. I WISH there were more profs at this university (or any other for that matter) like him. 3. I will use the material I learned in this class for the rest of my life. 4. The course packets are *amazing*. I wish I had more time to read them. 5. Is it possible to limit the class to 20 people? We could have more class discussion."

"Key concept of this course is: Grassroots good, Big govt. bad!"

"Although my comments concerning the course could seem average, I understand that it is a very subjective course to bear on. However, I felt that the most important aspect to improve is to emphasize from the beginning the objective of the subject. To be more specific, I think that he has to work more throughout the semester in the inner connections of each crisis. Because so much material and also with so much history background needed, the course turns into a senseless study of the world economy. I think that the course, in order to be satisfactory, it requires students with historical background. So it would be great to ask for that requirement. In that sense, it could be less reading regarding starting causes."

"The atmosphere in the class was tense. Mr. Cleaver should take less intimidating approach to create an atmosphere where students could feel more welcome to express their opinions and views. I personally enjoyed the course and liked to be exposed to Mr. Cleaver's alternative approach to political economy."

[from a graduate student who sat in on the course] "Harry, As a mere 'tourist' in the class I will restrict myself to some written remarks. (1) I think the Power point presentation is not such a good idea. It makes everyone feel as though they were watching TV. This leads to passivity, etc. just like watching TV does). (2) You may want to consider giving less detailed handouts. I think people often view them as a substitute for reading anything. (3) Since the mass of material on each topic is so vast I think covering fewer of them is in order. Sometimes there was a "gappy" quality to the readings since important articles, etc. had been excised. The bibliography compensates for this, but it has the effect of further entrenching the students' tendency to read nothing. (4) You may be interest to know that many students in the class made comments like: 'This is the first economics class I ever took that was interesting.' So even though no one reads, they are at least getting something out of it."