Student Comments
Eco 357k Introduction to Marxian Economics
Fall 2001

The following faithfully reproduces all written student comments from the semester course evaluations for Eco 357k, Fall 2001 -- the favorable, the indifferent and the loathing.

I am a senior. This is probably the best class I have taken here at UT. There are lot of professors who care about what they are teaching but of all the teachers I have had, you have shown the most interest in actual teaching us. Thank you.

I can honestly say that in the duration of my college career, I have never had such an insightful and thought provoking class.
I enjoyed most of the reading material but I feel that RCP was a little long and dry while covering the first couple of sections.
The structure of the class was organized well. I especially liked that prof welcomed our thoughts and concerns and allowed the class to talk about things which related to the course material.
Only objection: it appeared that any time a student had an opinion or thought, we have better be prepared to back our thought. Although this is generally good, it might be a little too demanding of students who are just learning the ways of Marx.

I believe that people should take this class even if it has nothing to do with their major, just because it's going to give you a different aspect on how to view things and life in general around you. Although Cleaver's views might be a bit overly pessimistic at times, they are for the most part valid, well thought out arguments. It was for me really refreshing to take a course like this that is not so typical of every other course we had to take where the only objective in the course is the grade. Bottom line, Cleaver is quite an opinionated guy that sometimes likes to drive his point of view at all costs, but if you have an objective mind (open) you can really get a lot from this course and come out of it. Actually having learned something about life in general as opposed to other courses where you just cram for tests.

It is sad to say it took me so long to take a class w/a professor of this caliber. Dr. Cleaver has taught the class so much in a small amount of time you would think he's a capitalist...far from it. I feel Dr. Cleaver is one of those people in the UT community that gives students something to remember. He takes our education seriously and is the most committed professor I have had at my 6 yr. trek at UT. Cleaver keeps it real.

Since I have been at the University of Texas, this has been by far the BEST professor I have ever had and the most interesting course I have ever taken. I have never seen another professor who is so passionate about what he does and how he teaches a class. His open-minded liberal type of thinking has turned this class into a discussion section rather than a lecture type class. In a class such as this, there is no "right" or "wrong" answer and Cleaver makes sure this is very clear. Often times, if subjects came up that did not pertain to the class, yet Cleaver felt they were important, we would use the entire class discussing that one subject. Cleaver seems to realize that the college education is more about life and less about what is actually learned during your classes. When we proposed our student manifesto, Cleaver welcomed this manifesto with open arms and was willing to accept alternative projects. Often times, in office hours, he expressed interest in our personal life, rather than what is gong on only in his class. He welcomed argument from other students and made us think on our feet. BEST PROFESSOR I'VE EVER HAD!

This was one of the most valuable courses I have taken. I really enjoyed it and it has opened up a whole new world for me. But, it just affects me to be a negative person, to be angry and not to be constructive. It creates students against capital and not for anything. Also, Dr. Cleaver did not respond too well w/people that disagreed. That was NOT cool. We are here to learn, or unlearn the other stuff. So, if we disagree, we should not get yelled at. In any case, it devalues the whole concept if the philosophy demands that people can't even have their own. Contesting opinion.

I learned a lot in this course, especially that I do not really want to work ever in my life. I think this course was very valuable to me in understanding how the world really works. I believe our class as a whole learned the lessons of this course and we demonstrated that w/our resisting the imposition of work as a whole. I applaud Dr. Cleaver for teaching Marx and opening the eyes of his students.

1. Clearer datelines for papers and exams.
2. *some group projects and more research projects. (Break the monotony of the class)
3. Set some rules and regulations on discussion forums.
4. You've been an interesting instructor, thanks. Made me think about my environment more.

This class has opened my eyes to so many things, which has been a valuable and sometimes depressing experience. Dr. Cleaver shows an amazing amount of knowledge in the subject and a genuine interest in teaching it. The difference in the level of knowledge between Cleaver and his students is sometimes problematic. Student involvement in the class is key to making the most out of this class. If you have a problem, bring it up. Great class, great professor!

Dr. Cleaver is a rare instructor. He actually cares about what he teaches and presents it in a way that the information can be applied or at the very least contemplated, agree or disagree. The class isn't easy, but the hard work isn't just the senseless torture with pointless little details and extraneous assignments heaped upon you by the professor. This class is cool!

My favorite part of this course were articles relating to current labor practices. I would have liked to have more current events discussed. I realize there is pants load of Marx to be read. But I feel your average student has been indoctrinated to the point where its relevance for today needs to be stressed.

Highly though provoking material. Cleaver does an excellent job of teaching the material without mincing words and diluting the concepts. He knows the material exceptionally well. I enjoyed this class with the exception of the extremely high demands on my time to read loads of info.

The organization of such new ideas was well-presented; You seem to enjoy not only the class itself, but the intellectual progress of your students. Perhaps, given the length and difficulty of the exams, it would be better suited for the TA not to grade them; the workload is extensive, but we could not argue that any of it was superfluous; I liked the incorporation of mainstream literature into the rubric of Marx's ideas; however, I think some class time needs to be utilized for discussion of these novels (one or two classes a piece.)
Overall, this class is eye opening and very beneficial. Those who cite a high workload are lazy or bitter, and those who complain about the course's difficulty are missing the whole point of the class. Well done, enjoyable, and you indeed a credit to the profession.

Prof. Cleaver was unsympathetic to people who shared opposing views. He was aggressive to these people. I think it would be more inviting for people to participate during class if he is more understanding and encouraging to people who want to oppose him the class would be much more interesting.
However, overall I have gained a huge amount of knowledge and I did all the studying and readings with pleasure. I am sure that I will be able to apply what I have learned in future.

One of the most thought provoking classes I have taken at UT. It will definitely stir questions that dwell long after the class is over.

Dr. Cleaver's class is a true learning experience. For an economics class it was a blast. It is well worth all the learning. It would be fun to take it pass/fail. Tests are difficult regardless of how much work you put in. As far as an educational value this course is well worth it.

I generally enjoyed the class even though I didn't really attend, the notes on the web were a lot of help. Please other instructors to do the same.

A great class to take, will change your entire perspective on life around you. Be prepared to work though. If you're not interested in the course material, it's hard, but easy if you are interested, and Cleaver tries his damnedest to get everyone into it. Relatively hard tests but he provides the resources to get through them.

Very inspiring course material depending on class direction. Cleaver leaves it up to the class to redirect the course, somewhat, but the tests don't reflect class-initiated discussion. Other than my grade and the heavy workload, the class has been thought provoking to say the least.

I thought the freeness of the discussions, and all the course material available over the web were the best things. He is also a great lecturer, which made it interesting when I came to class.

I think you should have maybe have one more short book for the third test.

Dr. Cleaver practices what he preaches. I suggest anyone who is interested in learning about Marx to take the class. As a non-economics major the class was still approachable, however, many felt Cleaver got stuck on abstract (and obscure) economic concepts. My class was able to apply Marx in a practical and real way. Because of that the class was great. P.S. Cleaver reminds me of David Letterman.

Professor Cleaver is by far the best and most intelligent teacher I have ever had. The coursework is heavy but not excessive. I have learned more from Professor Cleaver and this class than any other to date. His knowledge and understanding of Marx along with what seems like EVERYTHING else is incredible. I recommend this course to anyone who wants to understand capitalism.

I was incredibly burned out when I took this course so the workload (very high) almost made me drop the course. It is by far the best course I have ever taken. Cleaver is an awesome lecturer (you actually want to go to class) and he got me really interested in a whole new area of economics. It is a lot of work though, so take it when you have a lighter load.

The information learned in this class has changed the way I look at things. I thought that Cleaver was a great instructor. Although his knowledge was sometimes intimidating.

Questions on the tests asked to provide too much information in too little time.

I loved this class! Class was often open for discussion and debate, and everyone benefited. Online discussion was a great avenue for added analysis.
Suggestions: more post-Marxist discussion (a class period summarizing: -deep ecology, feminist, anarchism, syndicalism, etc.) to stimulate further reading.

This class rules. Take it. Regardless of your political views whether you are better equipped to survive in a capitalist environment after this class.

This was a excellent course with a curious amount of information that relates real life. Great course for more intellectual students and people with an open mind. Understand teacher in all aspects of his class.

Great course. I would like you to put a movie, book, and music list on the web that relates to Marx w/brief descriptions of each.

I really enjoyed this course. Totally different from other courses I've taken.

Cleaver is a good professor. Tests are very comprehensive--hard if you don't know material well.

So you can read 500 papers a week? Well then this class is for you. Extensive reading, studying but once you finish the course your will understand the world we live in. You learn what Marx is really about, not what most people assume. Great class and great teacher, just in prepared to spend a lot of time reading.

This probably was the best class I've taken at UT. I have not always agreed with what was presented in class, and there are many issues related to social dynamics or relations between the "haves" and the "have nots" that this class hasn't accurately described for me. Nonetheless, I have benefited greatly from Cleaver's interpretation of many of these issues, and any questions I had about the material could either be talked about in class or afterwards. I wish more of my professors were as enthusiastic about the material they taught and cared as much about student participation and understanding as Cleaver does.
I would prefer more frequent written assignments of say, 2-5 pages. Three or four of these throughout the semester (as opposed to one) over the subject of our choosing related to the course would help me more than just one longer assignment.

Mr. Cleaver has an excellent teacher and knew exactly what he has talking about and was very passionate about what he said.

Great course. I think before primitive accumulation, we should have studied all-the exhange value and use value of labor force, it would make the rest of the course material much easier to follow
-also some importance should have been given to current economic policies and government structures from the perspective of this class
-overall, awesome class!