Professor profile for Burton Pierson

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Student reviews of Burton Pierson

Review from a student who took BIO 370
I'll have to agree with everyone that this guy is crazy. People with no time on their hands should not take this guy or the workload he puts on you will end up making you cry. In his class you'll have to be good at a) memorization and b) brown nosing. The latter will earn you some points, I think, especially if you show up at every "office hour" he has.
Review from a student who took BIO 325
He is one of the worst professors I've ever taken..for example, on a test, I got a problem wrong because I did not write his answer word for word even though I had all the concepts correct. his class is worthless piece of
Review from a student who took bio 212
Pierson is a nice guy...he really does care about the students. BUT his class is very difficult. You could compare it to Edminstons 211 class though it is not as hard as her class. He was Edminstons TA for many years so they teach the same way. His lectures are very confusing. He talks so fast and you have to write things down quickly. You will be very confused after class I guarantee!! He stresses word for word memorization. Also on test and quizzes he will throw in a random definition from the book. So that means you will have to learn exact defn. from his notes and ALL bold face terms from the book WORD FOR WORD!!! His test are all short answers and definitions. by all means...DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!!!!!
Review from a student who took Bio 325
WORKLOAD: most I've ever had to do for a class. He says you should spend 12 hours a week outside of class on the course material, and he wants you to write it down. If you come in with a problem (or if he asks you to come in) and haven't done 12 hours, he tells you to go home and make time to spend the hours making up that lost time in the following weeks. TEACHING/LECTURE STYLE: he talks extremely fast, and encourages you to bring a tape recorder. I find it impossible to get everything he says word for word ('cause you can pretty much count on anything he says to be on a quiz or test) without recording and filling in the blanks later. iPod w/ iTalk works great. I'd say in class, just make sure you get down any drawings he does, or any diagrams he puts on the doc cam that aren't in the book. Expect to bring your textbook to class. Sometimes he has you highlight and add stuff in it and uses it in place of PPT slides for some things. I don't know if it's just because we're close to an election, but he is very political, and sometimes uses the classroom as a platform for it. I'll leave it at that. He holds 3 hour long "office hours" on Friday afternoons which basically another lecture session. If you don't go, you're pretty much screwed. He tells you a lot more there than he does to the whole class, and you'll be the only ones with any idea what material will be on the test/quiz. He also works through the homework problems. I'd bring a recorder here too. TESTING STYLE: He has quizzes every week, which I have to study for more than tests in any other class. You're under an extreme time crunch, and he starts counting down toward the end. If he sees you studying in the 10-15 minutes before a quiz/test he makes some sort of comment about how if he's about to go in for heart surgery, he doesn't want to see the surgeon still reading the manual. I had 3 hours to take the 1st test (as opposed to 50 minutes) and I still didn't finish. He wants definitions word for word the way he says in class, and he'll throw in some bold-faced terms from the text too. Be able to explain all processes in great detail, diagram experiments, remember names and dates, recognize what techniques are necessary to solve a particular genetics problem and work it out VERY quickly - he says you should work out every homework problem enough times to where you're doing it straight from memory on the test/quiz without thinking about it. Expect to know every ounce of his slides, spoken word, random articles, "Rosalind Franklin show", and the text. HOMEWORK TIPS: The first day of class (Wednesday), he assigned 60 problems due in office hours on Friday 2 days later. We're not talking about simple multiple choice either...answers took between half a page and 3 pages to write out. He encourages buying the Solutions manual, and doesn't mind if you copy word for word, but I can't learn anything that way...but I find between that and studying, I don't have time for much more. Do do the homework though, he will pull some of his quiz/test questions directly from it. The homework is heaviest during the part of the course that deals with dominance, pedigrees, probabilty type stuff - but straight text/lecture memorization is emphasized like nuts after that. OVERALL COURSE DIFFICULTY WITH THIS PROF: He wants to give lots of A's and he's willing to work with you on stuff, but he's very intense, and will stress you out to the max. If you are inspired by extremely high stress situations, or you are very good at straight memorization, you might do well in this class. If you think he's BS-ing on the first day of class, he's not. If you think you can't hack it, get out of there ASAP while you can still get your $ back.
Review from a student who took BIO 370
Upper division students beware! If you have a tough workload, or are about to take the MCATs, don't take this guy (unless you're a masochist). Why? 1)Weekly 2-3 page essay quizzes 2)Lectures mostly consist of reading text verbatim 3)12 hours per week of memorization FOR THIS CLASS ALONE are recommended by Dr. Pierson (I am very serious) 4)Tests include frequent questions about seemingly useless information (i.e., "What was the exact date Darwin's ship set sail?") And yes, he is (kind of) a nice guy, but that does not balance out the fact that his class's workload is at least the equivalent of 2 normal UD classes. So watch out, unless you have plenty of free time on your hands and you'd like to spend it all studying.
Review from a student who took Bio 213
This guy is pretty crazy. Although he has a great personality his class is extremely hard. If you take him you will be expected to memorize things from the book word for word. The course load is extreme and it's not even worth the time and stress. If you're really good at memorizing stuff then you should take him. But if you're interested in learning don't take him.
Review from a student who took bio 325
TO AVOID. DO NOT TAKE HIM. Pierson is a nice guy but his lecture and way of teaching.... oh God, even if you do whatever he asks you to do to get a good grade in his class, you are not going to make it. You feel overwhelmed in his class this because you write a lot( 2chapters in a week), quiz every week,only 2 exams and a final. you don't get your quizzes back on time. he wants you to memorise the book, Tests are way too long, not only that but he expects you to write his definition word to word on the test don;t even add or cut someting you will get no point. He is the worst teacher ever. He makes jokes frn time to time but they stop being funny when you realize you are going to fail. He should stop teaching. Best advise of the year: don't take him.
Review from a student who took BIO 370
AVOID THIS PROF!!!!! This was his first time teaching evolution. Like the others have said, he is a nice guy, but a HORRIBLE teacher. Tests and quizzes are memorization word for word! An example of our first test: The date that Darwin left on the Beagle, who was the Captain, Where were the Galapagos located (he wanted 900 km West of Ecuador) etc, there is no multiple choice, just blanks where he wants everything just as they are in his notes. I tended to leave class more confused and depressed then when I entered. I would stringly recommend NOT taking him.
Review from a student who took BIO 325
This is the most terrible professor of my college career. He is unorganized, unfair in grading, and the bottom line is it does not matter if you know this material. He is terrbile, don't say oh these people just complain. I came here just to complain about this prof, I get good grades and I am not quick to dislike a professor. Please do everyone a favor and don't take his class so they fire him. That just gives you a taste of how terrible he is.
Review from a student who took Bio 325
BAD PROFESSOR. The tests were too long. Tested random knowledge. AVOID!!!!!1
Review from a student who took BIO 212
He really does love his students, he really does. However, I'd hate to say this about Dr. Pierson, sometimes he will seem like he is imposing his beliefs on you (which he feels very strongly about). Ok, workload...lots of studying. You will be memorizing things literally word for word. No exceptions. No replacing an "in" with "about" with your definitions. He will stress this in the beginning very strongly. There is very little structure in his class; I believe he teaches a later Genetics course, so he taught us some more advanced topics. This means that towards the end of the year, he will be rushing to cover material. That means that you won't have to memorize word for word at the end. However, his lectures will be whirring past you. You will struggle to keep up. I suggest a tape recorder. He's kind of overzealous about his students' learning, insisting that we, the class, are Nobel prize winners. Weekly quizzes which consist of memorization, largely from the notes but he will occasionally throw you off with asking for a definition from the bold face terms in the textbook. They can be difficult, so watch out. Two tests, largely pulled from previous quizzes. Likes making the students draw diagrams a lot. Office hours are important. You will definitely want to attend his main ones at least, without fail every week. To me, this was vital to my beginning grades.
Review from a student who took BIO 325
He's a nice guy and he really does want people to do well in his classes. If you put in the effort it is fairly easy to make an A in this class, but it does take a lot of effort. While his test want random facts and word for word definitions that he only gives once, at least you can be sure that he won't try to trick you and give you problems that are insanely hard. Everything on the tests and quizzes is straight from the lectures or homework. Of couse this means that you realy don't actually have to understandanything, just memorize it, this may be better for some than others My biggest problem with him is that he spends too much time talking about his personal beliefs and trying to get all of his students to become as extreem left-wing as he is which takes up to half of the class time some days. His grading system is more fair than most profs. He gives an automaatic 5 point curve on every quiz no matter what the average was and if you got perfect grades in this class the way he averages things would give you a 105. From what I've heard from others, it is actually easier to get an A in his class than with many of the other genetics profs. I suggest not to take him if you are really conservative or if you really hate memorizing.

Grades given in courses taught by Burton Pierson

When teaching BIO 325

grade: a b c d f drops
percentage: 22% 25% 22% 13% 10% 9%

  All professors who have taught BIO 325

When teaching BIO 370

grade: a b c d f drops
percentage: 23% 30% 21% 4% 6% 17%

  All professors who have taught BIO 370