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Professor Ratings & Grade Distribution Data for William Penn

William Penn
Professor (2008 – 2014)
Michigan State (MSU)
English
Rate Professor
 
2.1373**
Overall rating
Rated by 102 students
3.41
Avg GPA
across 6 classes
Spring 2014 Schedule
Add to schedule TR 12:40pm-2:30pm
Add to schedule TR 10:20am-11:40am
All Classes
ENG 223
ENG 228
ENG 310D
ENG 328
ENG 423
ENG 428
ENG 489H
ENG 490

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Most Helpful Favorable Professor Review
Most Helpful Critical Professor Review
5*****
ENG 228 - Intro to Fiction Writing
Penn's definitely a hard ass, that's for sure. But if you can get through that, he's the fucking man! Helps you out so much with your writing, and is just a bad ass dude.
Professor rated by: English Student on 12/22/09
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
-3 Helpful
1*
IAH 207 - Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)
Penn is horrible. The class is unbelievably unorganized. At the beginning of the semester he told everyone not to take notes because there wouldn't be an exam. He then gave an exam that was so difficult that the curve was 50%. He is creepy and misogy...
Read the full review >
Pros: -Easy Class
Cons: -Everything else
Professor rated by: Student on 3/28/13
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
+29 Helpful

Student Ratings 1 - 20 of 102

 
IAH 207
Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)
1*
Pros: -Easy Class

Cons: -Everything else

Penn is horrible. The class is unbelievably unorganized. At the beginning of the semester he told everyone not to take notes because there wouldn't be an exam. He then gave an exam that was so difficult that the curve was 50%. He is creepy and misogynistic. Picks on the attractive girls in classes. Penn presents a facade of being liberal minded and claims to love women, homosexuals and people of all race, but then progresses and perpetuates detrimental stereotypes about all three. He claims to love gay men because they "dress well and appreciate art." He refers to women as "puntas" and cougars. The things he teaches in class are insane. He argues that meaningful interaction is defined by whether or not it is intellectually enriching. When one student challenged this by discussing how he works with autistic children who find his interaction with them meaningful despite gaps in understanding, Penn responded by saying that this student's action was a meaningful action, not interaction, because the autistic children couldn't gain anything intelligent from it. He supported this by stating that "everyone likes to be petted, to recieve affection, but those children aren't gaining anything. They can't understand meaningful thinks like philosophy." Continued to argue those who suffer from autism are "too stupid" to have a meaningful interaction. The TA's opening hate him and disagree with what he says. If you can endure stuff like this, the class is an easy 4.0 and he lets you watch Zoolander. Easily the worst class I've ever taken.
Professor rated by: Student on March 28, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
IAH 207
Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)
2**
Pros: easy grading
Cons: super unorganized
Penn is over the top liberal and doesn't accept any other views or ideas. If you dont believe the same things as him then he makes fun of you. He thinks all his students are lazy and dumb and mocks students everyday. even our ta was very confused and had trouble dealing with him
Professor rated by: Journalism Student on April 16, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 223
Intro Creative Non-Fict Writ
1*
Cons: EVERYTHING
Dear Koofers,



Is it possible to give negative ratings? Because this loser deserves it. This is a hell of a statement from me, considering that I'm no fan of the Republicans or anything, but wasn't he a bit... elitist himself? I mean Bush wasn't great, but if you can think for yourself like me, you'll see that Obama is EVERY BIT AS BAD. No, I don't hate Obama because he's black. I'm sure anyone that thinks that has never talked with a black person themselves.



Quit raping us of our tuition Penn. What about the old egghead democrats? This perfectly describes you.
Professor rated by: Electrical & Computer Egr Student on September 5, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 223
Intro Creative Non-Fict Writ
1*
Pros: None
Cons: Arrogant fool.
Hates conservatives and Republicans, squelches all ideas but his own. Don't take this class, or take it an complain like hell.
Professor rated by: Student on September 5, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 223
Intro Creative Non-Fict Writ
2**
This man is an ASS. He is an arrogant, judgmental, bitter, pessimistic ass. The worst thing about it is he takes grading to heart and will not grade you solely on merit, improvement and hardwork but grade you based on how much you kiss his fat ass, how much you agree with him and on whether your writing fits his taste. I regret taking his class. This man is so goddamn negative and bitter that sitting in his class changes my mood and depresses me. He rains on your parade and has favoritism towards certain students and he LETS IT BE KNOW IN A WAY. And if you write political shit with witticisms and humor, he'll like it. Then he has these wannabe-political journalist groupies in his class that sits by him, agree with everything he says and degrade those who don't agree with the professor. I am an english major and the lowest I ever got in a writing course was a 3.5. yet he gave me a 2.0 that I believe is not only because my writing style don't fit his tastes but because he thinks I'm a liberal, positive and opinionated young woman.



And you should listen to how he talks about his Native American heritage. As an African-American, I am proud of my black heritage but I am not gonna bring it up every moment in a creative writing class and compare it to other people's lives!



Fuck this depressed, old fart. I'm surprised he's married because I would not want to deal with someone this pent up with bitterness and bad nerves.



The only reason why I gave this fat ass a 0.5 was because he is a good writer. That only kept me from giving him zilch. Fuck this class. If you take pride in your talents and don't want to waste $76 on a course packet that we don't learn shit from, RUN!
Professor rated by: Student on December 2, 2008
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
IAH 207
Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)
1*
Pros: Easy Grading
Cons: Doesn't use Angel

Unorganized

Rude/Mean

So Politically Incorrect

Hypocrite
Professor Penn managed to offend everybody in the class at one point during the semester. He's so closed minded and even told us that he doesn't believe in "communication", whatever that means. He also doesn't believe in technology, so you really have no way to gauge your grade unless you attend office hours. He laughs off serious topics such as suicide and mental illness. He's very stubborn and will embarrass you if given the chance. I had an INCREDIBLE TA, Aly Hanan, who thankfully did all the grading. If it was up to professor Penn, almost everyone would have failed. My best advice is to avoid him at all costs, but if you end up in a class of his, sit towards the back, avoid eye contact and don't talk unless you have to. Just buckle up and try to get through it.





Short & Simple: He's awful. Do everything you can to never cross paths with this man.
Professor rated by: Psychology Student on June 1, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 428
Advanced Fiction Writing
1*
Penn is easily the worst professor I've ever had, Creative Writing or otherwise. Any of the people who gave him anything over a 2.5 on this site were clearly part of his suck-up posse. Penn is racist, sexist, ignorant, and downright offensive. Though he can write--from the one story of his I've seen--he is clearly self-obsessed and spends every single lecture he can verbally masturbating. Rather than tearing down students' work in order to encourage them to do better like Diane Wakoski does, Penn merely insults his students' writing like a bully on a playground. He does it to impress his posse and feel superior. I can't believe I not only paid for the class, but also for the piece of shit course pack we used literally twice. I don't know how this man got tenure. Someone should do something about this asap.
Professor rated by: Student on November 22, 2010
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
IAH 207
Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)
1*
Pros: nothing
Cons: Penn is very rude, a lot of work, a lot of reading, Penn is not smart, horrible class
Penn is very rude. All he talks about is his political views and sex. He explains nothing in lecture, and believes his views are the only good views. He always talks about his wealth. Nobody cares.... In order to do well in the class, you have to read everything in his course pack. All the stories are horrible. He said we were going to have no exams at the beginning. We had a midterm everyone failed so he did a 50% curve, and now a final everyone will probably also fail. Class is boring. Nobody ever went. He rambles about nothing. He is a smartass. It is a horrible class. TA's are just as bad. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS! You wil hate your life.
Professor rated by: Biomedical Laboratory Diagnost Student on April 28, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 228
Intro to Fiction Writing
3***
Here is the deal, Professor Penn is an asshole. He is okay... I mean like he does tear your work apart and offer good critiques, but like he is not a good professor. Like, I never felt inspired by him, or like I really wanted to write something good. I also felt like a lot of people take fiction writing for a genre class and really just want to learn, but he treats you like you should already know. And he does picks favorites. Period. The girl that sat next to me sucked at writing, and got her papers torn a new one, never followed the assignment which he hated, and still did better than me because she reminded him of his daughter. Which, whatever.
Professor rated by: English Student on April 16, 2012
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 228
Intro to Fiction Writing
3***
Pros: you learn about your own writing
Cons: he's somewhat self-righteous and a pretty big asshole.
The amount of work he asks you to do outside of class is pretty extensive if you take his advice. However, he doesn't grade all of what he asks you to do so you don't necessarily have to do it. He doesn't give a final, but he accepts absolutely no bullshit and holds your writing to very high standards. He does issue grades based on participation and level of improvement as opposed to what he thinks your individual writing samples should be graded, though.
Professor rated by: Teacher Education Student on April 25, 2011
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
IAH 207
Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)
5*****
Pros: He's great at lecture.
Cons: Get's off topic a lot sometimes.
Reading over a lot of these comments I was not surprised that people hated him. I personally really loved the class and would recommend it to those who are not easily offended or weak minded. He is strong in his opinions and will say things to piss you off so that you are forced to think about it more. The TA's even in the beginning of the semester said he will intentionally say things that upset you to get a rise because it's what get's your attention. If you are over sensitive and can't get over yourself and open your mind a little more, then do not take this course. Find something that will suit your feelings to ensure you don't get upset. Maybe there's something about friendship and how everyone needs to get along and not have their own opinions.
Professor rated by: Pediatrics Student on April 17, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 428
Advanced Fiction Writing
5*****
Best Creative Writing professor at MSU. I thought I was learning in other Creative Writing classes, but I really wasn't. He is extremely harsh about your writing, but if you are really interested in being a good writer, you need to be able to take it.



He likes to go on long tangents and rant about random stuff - at first I found it really annoying but then I got used to it and it was just funny. He seems really intimidating at first, but stand up to him (respectfully) and he will respect you back.



Getting a 4.0 in his class is nearly impossible, though. The man has high standards.



Also, although he might say ridiculous cold shit sometimes, the man secretly cares a lot about his students. :D
Professor rated by: Student on August 19, 2009
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 328
Readings in Novel & Narrative
5*****
If you can stand reading a paper in front of the class and then sitting back and taking criticism on if from them and Penn then take a class with him. After this class I definitely improved my writing and also my reading skills. Depending on the paper and the feeling of the class he may allow a re-write or two. He talks a lot but is just really trying to get people to talk back to him. I see him called out in other posts for playing favorites, but honestly he was just talking to those people who would talk back to him. I wasn't really one of them but still got a lot out of his class. If you can watch your work take a beating and are willing to work to improve he is a great prof.
Professor rated by: Student on December 15, 2010
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 310D
Lit English 1900-Present
5*****
Penn was my study abroad prof in London. He is unique to say the least. I didn't have much trouble taking his class, but I've heard from other people that he's a lot tougher in the normal MSU setting. If you are a person who is easily offended, then I wouldn't suggest that you take any classes with him. However, if you want a challenge and can handle Penn's interesting way of explaining his own personal philosophies about life and literature you should definitely try to get into one of his classes. This guy has a lot to say and if you have a flexible sense of humor, you will love him.
Professor rated by: Student on January 11, 2005
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 223
Intro Creative Non-Fict Writ
1*
Pros: Comedic value
Cons: Closed-minded

Small brained

Hater

Blind

Uneducated

Clueless

Childlike

Ivory tower

No accountability



Yet another effete, elite prof who has absolutely no clue about reality because he's never had a job in the real world. Would last about 1 min in a competitive workplace, so he hides amongst kids to prop up his ego. What a liberal turd and discredit to MSU. Incredible that public funds support this ignoramus. Ironic that such a closed-minded hater who stifles free speech and thought teaches 'Creative' writing.
Professor rated by: Student on September 5, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 223
Intro Creative Non-Fict Writ
1*
Pros: Nice Dresser
Cons: This guy is one of the reasons college tuition is sky-high.
I believe Pink Floyd said it best...."When we grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who would hurt the children anyway they could

by pouring their derision upon anything we did

exposing any weakness however carefully hidden by the kids.

But in the town it was well known

When they got home at night their fat and psychopathic wives

Would thrash them within inches of their lives!"
Professor rated by: Student on September 18, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
IAH 207
Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)
1*
Pros: He's funny at times.
Cons: This class is a disorganized mess. All you get from this class is that Penn hates Republicans. The material is boring, and is of no benefit to anyone.
Don't take this class. It's a failed experiment. I was very excited to take this class considering the planned topic of Comedy and Identity. The course amounted to this: Penn saying we're all pathetic; he has to curve the midterm by 40% for students to pass.



Don't waste your time.
Professor rated by: Urban Planning Student on April 30, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
IAH 207
Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)
1*
Pros: Sometimes funny
Cons: Rambles on, Off Topic, usually unfunny,
This class was so bad. I don't know where to begin with how awful it was. No online presence, he talks about how technology has ruined culture, and he's extremely self absorbent. He talks about how money shouldn't matter, and then makes you buy a book he wrote for 80 bucks. The guy is a complete joke.
Professor rated by: Computer Science & Engineering Student on May 3, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 423
Advanced Non-Fiction Writing
1*
Pros: Easy If you are an ass kisser and NOT WHITE
Cons: Worthless waste of money.

He make syou buy his books and they are TERRIBLE. That is the only way he can sell them. He hates Republicans and believes the world is cooling...uhnmm warming!!! He is so confused. They need to drug test him.
Unbelievably bad.Don't waste your time or money.
Professor rated by: Student on September 3, 2013
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
ENG 228
Intro to Fiction Writing
5*****
I thought I was going to hate professor Penn at first, but it turned out I really liked him. I was not part of his favorites, but I found the way he taught to be quite a learning experience. He knows his shit and if you take him, you will learn something about writing. Yes, he is an asshole, but he is good at teaching!
Professor rated by: Student on December 9, 2010
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
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