StudentsReview :: Harvard University:: Professor Cheryl Vaughan Course Grades, Reviews and Ratings
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Harvard University

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Review Cheryl Vaughan   Better survey, only slightly longer.

Professor Cheryl Vaughan
Harvard University
Overall D+
7 ratings,  [AVG: 53697 min, 46 sec]
Workload: Easy/None Responsible Grading: F

Enjoys Teaching D Arrogance: Extreme
Speaks & Writes Clearly D+ Respect for Students: None
Sensible Lectures D Appreciates Creativity: Hates it
Organized course D+ Student Feedback is: Ignored
Instructor Effort D
Mostly "training"
Grading System:
Course Requirements:
Unclear or random
Assignment Instructions
Unclear or Misleading
Exam Design:
Designed to trick
Exam Coverage:
Unknown or Unclear
Grades Reflect:
Nothing; no meaning at all
Final Grade Verification:
Grade is grade - no change
Gets class involved C-
Competent with material F
Friendly/Sociable D
Adds to content F
This instructor is:
Strongly Disliked



BIO E-30 
Overall: F
Boring initially, but over time, it more closely resembles an exercise in futility.  She seemed to be targeting the most brilliant students in the room (indicated by GRE scores, prestigious academic/intellectual memberships, & occupation) by assigning extra work to them so she could force them to drop out(emailing frequent hints to that effect to wear down these students); leaving only the most “agreeable” to enter the Master's program to which she holds the keys (and she never lets you forget it!).  I did not learn anything I did not already know about the actual subject matter.  I found her arrogance overbearing, comments patronizing, and I was very disappointed with her zest for bullying as she gleefully took every opportunity to inflict greater harm on struggling students, rather than helping them as any high-quality professional would.  External perfection coupled with internal vacancy amounts to a winning combination in her book.  More energy is invested in avoiding her emotional triggers than learning the material!  When students are forced to spend every waking moment completing assignments for her (neglecting other courses and responsibilities), there is a problem.  When students who can barely string together the most basic concepts pass every assignment while those with exemplary credentials fall short of earning a D-, a situation exists which threatens the integrity of the entire MLA program.  Such nastiness is virtually unheard of at this particular top-tier institution and does not reflect what students in other courses can expect.  This is an excellent school with one bad instructor— it happens.  The instructor is apparently oblivious to the animosity she solicits from her students.  Several classmates burst into tears while discussing the overwhelming workload and unreasonable expectations and these are students who are accustomed to rigorous academic programs! 
Should do to do well...
Don't take it if you can possibly help it.  If you must take this course, take it in the fall from the other professor instead.  Even if you do everything the way she wants you to, her frequent mood swings and nebulous instructions on assignments leave most students feeling lost.  Only about 1/3 of students last until the end of the semester (fewer actually pass).  Don't fool yourself; she is not being hard on you to drive your development.  Rather, it is a concerted effort to crush your spirit for her own amusement.  If you take a chance here, drop out at the first sign of trouble because it only gets worse from there! 
Should know...
Be male, (if you're a woman) be dumb, feed her ego, & devote your entire life to completing her assignments.  Never question anything she says (even if she IS mistaken about something).  It is better to enter this course with an empty mind and a full wallet (so they can milk you for tuition again when you have to re-take it) than a solid foundation in molecular biology.  Never discuss potential weaknesses of your own(illness, disability, family problems, job loss, or other hardships) within earshot or you will be targeted for elimination.  If you received a scholarship, never mention it.  Highly intelligent students seem to intimidate her and she responds with hostility toward those who demonstrate the greatest degree of competency.  If she gives you a wide-eyed stare in response to your attempts to earn participation points, watch out!  Grade assignment is purely subjective and there are no checks or balances to ensure fair grading in her class. 
Student Competency: Unusually High
Student's Grade: F
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: C-
Assignments and deadlines for graduate students were very reasonable.  However, a large rift developed between students familiar who had worked in molecular biology labs and those who didn't.  As mentioned previously, prior, detailed knowledge of epigenetic research techniques should have been listed as a prerequisite.  Most of these techniques were glossed over in the text book and explained in an extremely fast, brief manner during lecture.  Partial understanding or any creative manipulation of subject manner beyong the rote was denied partial credit. 
Should do to do well...
A student must be prepared to answer exam questions *verbatim* from the Instructors' lecture notes, and do so in no more than two sentences, no matter how complex the question.  Students should *not* expect any partial credit if they do not give the correct, verbatim response, or if they present any ideas or insights, even within a reasonable (5 sentence) block of writing. 
Should know...
Students must be extremely well-versed in the basics of the subject matter; having laboratory experience with PCR, various immunoblot assays, and PEV helps.  The course guide should recommend lab experience and/or a strong command of these lab techniques as prerequisites. 

This is not an introductory course, contrary to what the literature indicates.  For exams, students should memorize all lecture notes - the entire contents of each lecture - verbatim in order to do well on exams.  No partial credit is given for understanding a basic concept. 

Student Competency: Average
Student's Grade: C
Liked Instructor?: Disliked
Overall: F
Boring, confusing, misleading. 
Should do to do well...
It is unclear why Cheryl Vaughan would have some favorites over others.  She seems to like brown nosers.  If you signed up for a course with this intructor save yourself time and drop it immediately. 
Student Competency: Unusually High
Student's Grade: C
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: F
This class taught me to avoid Cheryl Vaughan, and she's the only cruel and horrible professor at Harvard that I know of. 
Should do to do well...
Never sign up for a class with Cheryl Vaughan! 
Student Competency: Average
Student's Grade: C-
Liked Instructor?: Strongly Disliked
Overall: F
The professor points people out in class and purposely makes them feel bad.  For example, on one instance a student showed up to class late and later asked a question, she pointed out that the student was late for class and told the student to ask her outside or after class.  Cheryl Vaughan seems irritated and defensive when asked a question that she does not know the answer to.  I observed many instances where she cut people off when they were asking questions or were commenting about a particular topic.  Perhaps she felt insecure and needed to change people's questions or comments to answer her own questions and make her own comments to appear competent.  She openly shows who her favorites are and who are not.  Cheryl Vaughan doesn't seem to want the people she doesn't like to succeed and wants to make sure that everybody else in the class knows it as well; she talks down on struggling students and points them out in class.  I witnessed an instance where Cheryl Vaughan discussed a student's exam in class and urged that person to drop the class.  In all my years of academic life I have never witnessed such unprofessionalism!  I did not learn much from the course, because I was distracted by her cruelty and constant interruptions.  She is a cold and unapproachable woman. 
Student Competency: Average
Student's Grade: B
Liked Instructor?: Disliked
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