Student Comments
Eco 357L, Political Economy of International Crisis
Spring 2005

These are all the written comments made by students in their course evaluations: the good, the bad and the ugly.
The originals are available to anyone who wants to see them.

"I am so fortunate. If I go astray, others are certain to notice it." - Confucius

Professor Cleaver's courses are great, especially on a P/F basis.

Course is very unique and informative. An experience that cannot be gotten from any other class in the economics department. Exams however should be more in depth and allow students to express their independent opinion and point of view.

I have learned more in this class than I have in any other here at UT. The lectures are a little slow for 10am, but professor Cleaver has a lot of interesting things to teach.

Even though I know there are time restraints, I wish the material was broken down even a little more - especially the economic factors. The reading was excessive, though I know it is needed for such topics. I wish there was a more pronounced connection between each of the crises - I know almost all of them are interrelated, but I want to know how. I do feel this course was superb though I am not making a very high grade. The topics were well chosen - since though they have historical origins, they still effect the world today.

There's no real reason to come to class since everything is online, and the tests were basically off the slides so I would say do more of an outline w/respect to the slides. And do away w/the discussion board. It's more of an annoyance than anything and you really don't learn much.

This is the 2nd class I have taken w/Cleaver& I enrolled in a 3rd for Fall '05. By far, Cleaver is the best professor I have had at UT. He's opinionated - and not afraid to express those opinions. However, those opinions are extremely well educated & thought provoking. Therefore he forces one to stop, take notice, and form an educated opinion of their own. This is a skill that's so rare - if not extinct - in our current mainstream education. It's classes such as the ones he offers that make the damned experience of education truly worth it to me as a student. Critiques: 1) stop juggling the pocket change - takes away form otherwise enthralling lectures, 2) be wary of writing off students as lazy or uninterested - sometimes we're harried, working full-time & going to school full time. Certainly not characteristics of laziness.

Sometimes a little intimidating in regards to students voicing their opinions. I wish the participation grade was spelled out more clearly. But I have learned so much and feel much more knowledgeable about the world. This class has been by ar one of the best classes I've taken so far.

I wish there was some other way besides doing a mountain of reading for each crisis we covered, but besides that, I did learn a LOT from this course (mostly because of all the reading). The biggest problem I think I had in this course was putting all the relevant information on the tests w/in the time frame. Like you said, the people who know the most have the most trouble on the tests b/c of the time constraint. I don't know of a better way to test knowledge in this course, but sometimes I felt paralyzed b/c of time & not b/c of a lack of knowledge.

The thing I think this course needs most is more structure. At times it was difficult to know what to do for the course. Also some sort of review of the material before tests would help students focus on the most important part of the high levels of readings.

I learned so much in this course and it is by far the best economics course I have taken at UT. The economics department needs more courses like this. Cleaver is an excellent teacher. The reading is a lot, but I knew that coming in. I very much have enjoyed it - the only thing is participation. It is easy to post on the discussion board yet never come to class - and I think that both should count just as much.

The course was interesting but I thought that we moved too quickly from one crisis to the next. Although the prof commented on how schools are forcing too much info for students to memorize - we still have excessive reading assignments.

Cleaver: excellent professor, eco 357L excellent course of immediate import and relevance to everyone, not just students. Cleaver is fair, competent and interested. He deserves a raise.

Sometimes the prof came off as intimidating, which made ppl not want to speak in class. There's way too much reading.

Prof Cleaver is one of the most brilliant members of the UT faculty. The course structure and the excessive exam questions were very difficult despite me knowing the material very well however.

I've learned more in this class than any other, but I feel I would be more inclined to do the readings if they seemed like a surmountable amount. Also, open up the lectures more for more class involvment = less students asleep.

Reduce the readings to maybe cover the most important of the material and place other supplementary readings in another file on Eres. Also just have Eres as the primary source of readings & not your webspace.

This course has broadened my perspective of how not only crisis, but policy effect our daily lives. Cleaver decodes the rhetoric of news and government and presents a series of interconnecting phenomena all tied through a cause and effect of business, politics and social movements. Cleaver and the course are a credit to the university.

I learnt a lot in this course, the load was extremely excessive but also the subjects and themes to cover were a lot. The course is given in such a way that you are motivated to look deeper. Great professor.

The exams were way too long. It was hard trying to complete 4 essays in 50 minutes. I suggest he narrow the exams to 3 essays and the students will have more time. As far as the material in class, he knew what he was talking about and that made the class valuable.

There were simply too many readings. In order to read everything, it meant studying less for my other classes.

A well thought-out course, where the professor actually gave his opinion on the material. About time. This was a course worth more than $1.98 in library late fines.

Good class. The instructor has a lot to offer for the class not only in terms of providing analysis but also giving personal insight from his many years of being involved in the discipline.

My only complaint is that at times I felt as if he let his personal political views get in the way of the facts he was trying to get across.

I felt like the class was not well organized. It would be helpful to have a clearer syllabus as well as more specific discussion pertaining to grading/expectations/etc.

Please communicate course requirements to students more effectively. Please be clear about test dates.

I enjoyed the class and the material. The only problem I've had is with the grading of the discussion board, but I understand there is not a lot that can be done about that.

It would make a difference if we could recognize that those who disagree w/any part of interpretation should not be made to discuss it. I don't care to, and I did the bare minimum. But where there are questions of epistemology, there can't be discussion and there certainly were questions.

I thought the class did a very good job of bringing in multiple views on the issues discussed in class. I did not like the online participation points because I didn't need to ask any questions.

Very hard to find TA for office hours.

Try and tell the students more of what you expect from them. It seems you just run through your lecture every day.

Professor Cleaver is clearly knowledgeable about he subject and while he may come off as biased, the information is there and you form your own opinion. I like how he stresses participation and provides extra material in each subject.

Great course, however, the readings were a little long.