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Professor Ratings & Grade Distribution Data for Arthur Versluis

Arthur Versluis
Professor (2008 – 2015)
Michigan State (MSU)
Religious Studies
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4.1333****
Overall rating
Rated by 30 students
3.27
Avg GPA
across 5 classes
Fall 2015 Schedule
No classes for this semester.
All Classes
AMS 470
AMS 490
AMS 890
REL 101
REL 205
REL 275
REL 290
REL 490

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Most Helpful Favorable Professor Review
Most Helpful Critical Professor Review
5*****
REL 275 - Magic and Mysticism
If you're looking for a class about Harry Potter, avoid this one. If you're looking for a class that involves you not showing up and expecting to 4.0 everything. do not sign up for this class.

Versluis is a very good instructor; in fact, I would be...
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Professor rated by: Student on 4/24/10
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+1 Helpful
3***
REL 275 - Magic and Mysticism
Don't take his REL 275 class on Magic and Mystician unless you're really interested in complex theories about esotericism and gnosticism. If you don't know what that it then don't take the class. I'm a James Madison Student so I thought I could handl...
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Pros: nice, knowledgeable guy
Cons: made us buy a book he wrote, very dense material
Professor rated by: Student on 1/20/18
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+1 Helpful

Student Ratings 1 - 20 of 30

 
REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
5*****
If you're looking for a class about Harry Potter, avoid this one. If you're looking for a class that involves you not showing up and expecting to 4.0 everything. do not sign up for this class.



Versluis is a very good instructor; in fact, I would be hard-pressed to find anyone on this campus that has such a vast knowledge of so many topics. The guy is extremely intelligent and will go out of his way to help you if you're a serious student. He has office hours and will make time to meet with you at a time that is convenient for you if need be - again, if you're a serious student. He keeps his classes small enough so that he can typically learn everyone's name, and he takes attendance. It is IMPOSSIBLE to keep up with this course if you miss class...so don't miss class. It isn't a difficult concept.

The papers are not difficult. He lets you choose your own topics and the direction you want to go with those topics. Quizzes are tough, yes, but read the material and you should do fine.

I would definitely recommend this class. I learned a lot that I never would have learned anywhere else (this is the only class like it offered in the United States). If he refers to something you're not familiar with, WRITE IT DOWN and check it out later on...he's trying to help you learn, not teach you how to eat solid food or go potty on the big kid's potty. You're adults now.
Professor rated by: Student on April 24, 2010
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
3***
Pros: nice, knowledgeable guy
Cons: made us buy a book he wrote, very dense material
Don't take his REL 275 class on Magic and Mystician unless you're really interested in complex theories about esotericism and gnosticism. If you don't know what that it then don't take the class. I'm a James Madison Student so I thought I could handle complex reading, but nope. Most of this stuff went over my head and I somehow managed to get a 4.0 but I have no idea how. I didn't understand anything that was taught and had to blunder my way through essays. I also have virtually no religious background so that was probably an issue too. But this class is definitely for serious religious studies majors, but if you do take it then take it online. Having access to books during online tests made it a lot more manageable.
Professor rated by: Student on January 20, 2018
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AMS 280
Major Themes Amer Studies
4****
I have to disagree with the comments below and say that Versluis' quizzes are NOT easy. Basically, the only way to do well on them is memorize the reading. The catch-22 is that the reading is incredibly boring and there's a lot of it.

On the whole, Versluis is a really nice guy. He's really compassionate and WANTS to help you do well. You'll find that he's a tough grader, but don't worry too much about it. If you can show that you understand the general concepts of the class, Versluis will surely take that into consideration when grading you at the end of the semester.

The reason I haven't given Versluis a 4.0 is because until the very end (when I did suprisingly well on a paper and really got a taste of how good this guy is), I thought the class was really unfocused. We studied new religions, but I couldn't really see a point to our studies. Instead of answering some overlying question like "Why do new religions form" or "What are the cultural/sociological/political implications of new religious movements," Versluis made the class' aim to literally just absorb all this info about new religions. That was really frustrating for me, because I couldn't see WHY new religions were important. Sure they are interesting and kind of incredible, but why does that matter?

Versluis IS really enthusiastic about the topic and the class is sure to be small (15-20 people) and at MSU that's kind of refreshing. But I'm not sure I would recommend the class to someone who doesn't have an interest in new religions or hasn't taken Versluis before.
Professor rated by: Student on May 10, 2006
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
3***
Pros: Pretty generous with the extra credit- you just have to go to an event related to the class and write a reflection on it.
Cons: SOOO much reading that was really dense and sometimes extremely difficult to follow.
The material in this class is definitely challenging. Most of the readings we had were way over my head. I tried to pay attention in class and take notes though, so the quizzes weren't very difficult, although you must read because he always puts at least 1 or 2 questions (out of 8) that you would only know if you read the material. Versluis is a little strange, but he is really excited about the material and he tries to make it interesting. For me, every class was a struggle to just pay attention though.



For the honors section, we just had to read an extra book that was an interesting and easy read. We never had to write a paper on it or anything, just discuss it in class (he would let the regular students out early and we would stay until the end of the period).



I took this class because of Dan Brown's books. I thought we would talk about some of the stuff Robert Langdon encounters, but we don't or at least these things are just briefly mentioned. The class starts in ancient times and goes through history looking at the different magical or mystical groups that emerged and their ideas.
Professor rated by: CE-Civil Engineering Student on May 3, 2011
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
3***
Pros: He is a knowledgeable, old-school guy. He can tell you lots of interesting anecdotes about ancient history, etc.
Cons: This class was very poorly organized, with a huge weight on three multiple-choice, online exams, with extremely tricky questions. The reading assignments swung back and forth between childishly simple and excessively scholarly.
Dr. Versluis is the kind of guy you would rather have as an advisor than a professor. He is cool to chat with, even to the point where he lets people feel good about saying pithy generalities. However, this class was not very enjoyable, since 90% of the students didn't to their readings, so his attempts at class discussions always fell flat. He didn't seem very good at utilizing the little time we had (this was a hybrid online-in person class) so I felt like I learned a tiny fraction of what I should learn in a 3-credit course. Still, he's cool, so he gets 3 out of 5.
Professor rated by: Computer Science & Engineering Student on February 9, 2014
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REL 101
Exploring Religion
4****
Ok. Here's the thing- he should never teach a large lecture class. He admitted to us repeatedly that he didn't like large classes and that he didn't handle them well. He didn't have a schedule and we had to come to class every day to find out what was going on. I don't normally mind going to classes and I very rarely skip class, but he made it very difficult to come to class. The lectures were long and tedious.



With that said, he was a pretty easy grader and provided lots of extra credit (which was ALWAYS on Fridays when I worked, but whatever). He tells you almost exactly what's on the quizzes (which will ask a few very out there questions that we didn't go over in class and were very hidden in the readings) and is always open to questions.



I really want to rate him lower, but I can't. He is a good prof- but please DON'T take a large lecture class with him!
Professor rated by: Student on December 21, 2010
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
2**
Pros: -Passionate

-Knowledgeable

-Polite
Cons: -Material is scattered

-Paper descriptions are incredibly broad/unorganized

-Exams/quizzes cover an outrageous amount of material with super narrow specifics.
The class was semi-interesting. We never learned enough about any one subject to really hold my interest though. Versluis just wanted to cover as many subjects as humanly possible. He seems like a nice, understanding guy, but that doesnt really help in retaining class material. I did fairly well in his course but i lost more and more interest as the semester went on. Honestly, id probably avoid him in the future b/c he attempts to cover way too much material, and would have his students reading enormous amounts of texts, all of which may or may not be covered on exams.

Professor rated by: Student on December 12, 2013
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
5*****
Had to be the best class I have ever taken at MSU, and quite possibly my favorite professor as well. There is a little bit of a work load but you just have to be willing to put a little effort forward and you will do just fine. Versluis does everything in his ability to keep students captivated with the material and makes sure everyone understands what is going on. I have never before had a class that had absolutely blew my mind every time I had attended, but this class did it, and it was necessarily the material, but Versluis ability to tie everything together when you would least expect it. I would suggest this class to everyone whether or not you are required to....absolutely amazing.
Professor rated by: Student on May 17, 2010
Helpful Rating?
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REL 380
New Religions
4****
Pros: He is a very interesting professor and loves what he does. If you are interested in religion going to class shouldn't be an issue. I learned a lot in his class and the books are interesting to read. I recommend this class if you are interested in studying new religions, if you are just looking for an easy 4.0 this class isn't for you.
Cons: He has no power points and doesn't post anything on the course website. You just have to take notes while he lectures.

He doesn't have a set grading scale so you dont know you grade through out the semester.

MUST READ BOOK MATERIALS
Professor rated by: Psychology Student on November 23, 2012
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WRA 130
Writing: Amer Radical Thought
5*****
Versluis is a good professor. I found his grading to be a bit hard at times but he spends a good amount of time on editing and you will be a better editor when you finish the curse. He is very lenient in what you write and doesnÂ’t really care how long the papers are. We had five, three-page papers the whole year and he gives you ample time to complete them. The reading is usually fairly short and interesting and he pulls a lot of stuff from the internet so you don't have to buy it (which is nice). Overall I would recommend taking his course.
Professor rated by: Student on May 3, 2007
Helpful Rating?
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
3***
Pros: Dr. Versluis is very passionate about Magic and Mysticism and clearly has an abundance of knowledge on the topics.
Cons: He is not always clear about what points he is trying to make so note taking can be frustrating.
A fun class to take if you have any interest in this topic. Attendance is mandatory, but you'll enjoy the lectures most of the time. There are no said-exams, just quizzes that break up the material. Keep up with the reading and you'll do fine. There are also two papers to write; Dr. Versluis is picky on them, but they're not impossible.
Professor rated by: Physiology Student on May 29, 2011
Helpful Rating?
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
2**
I definitely don't reccomend this guy. Besides the class being completely over my head with obscure references to random unknown writers, he made it really hard. The quizzes were very hard unless you really memorize the readings and the papers were so vague I had no idea what to write about. I e-mailed him to ask when the final was because he had it listed as a sunday on the course website and he wrote back a dickish e-mail that made me feel really stupid. maybe it was just the class that sucked, but i don't reccomend him either.
Professor rated by: Student on April 13, 2010
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
3***
I wouldn't suggest taking this class unless you are really interested in this stuff or if you need it for your major. I didn't really know what he was talking about half the time. Mainly i took it because the description sounded interesting and i needed credits but its mostly about obscure writers and topics which were difficult to understand. Versluis is a good professor though, he really knows what hes talking about--i just didn't love the class itself.
Professor rated by: Student on March 21, 2010
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REL 275
Magic and Mysticism
3***
Tough grader, I thought quizzes would be easier, attendance is mandatory. I wish I knew what he wanted for papers its pretty vague and you have to run with that. He doesn't have a set grading scale - I don't know what's up with that. He doesn't sit to the syllabus very well either.

*If I could do a redo I would not want to be in this class and I was SUPER excited when I got in in the first place.
Professor rated by: Student on April 7, 2009
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WRA 130
Writing: Amer Radical Thought
5*****
odd class, i didn't really unterstand all of the books we read, kinna went over my head, but the papers were really easy, only 5 and then no final!! he is big on going to class, but you on't really have to participate! you do need to ready, he gives pop-reading check quzies things but they are not worth much! he is an interesting guy, good stoires but he is odd
Professor rated by: Student on January 18, 2005
Helpful Rating?
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REL 101
Exploring Religion
5*****
I loved him! I wish I could have taken his class again but I have way too much going on in my schedule!! He really cares about how well you do and really tries to help you out!! If your a girl, flirt with him!!!! I'm not joking, just look pretty one day and go talk to him afte rclass, it will help!!!! Oh and the material of the class is really interesting!!
Professor rated by: Student on May 7, 2010
Helpful Rating?
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REL 101
Exploring Religion
5*****
Pros: I have no idea what his grading system is because I failed EVERY quiz he gave us and somehow ended up with a 4.0 overall in the class? Not complaining. He has bleached blond hair and appears to be an Urban Cowboy. Interesting guy.
Cons: The reading are incredibly boring. The class is just the same.
DONT BUY THE BOOKS THEY ARE ALL ON GOOGLE.PDF
Professor rated by: Business Student on April 6, 2015
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WRA 195H
Writing: Major Top Amer Thght
5*****
He was SO awesome. He knows so much about everything -- you'll learn so much just from listening to him. Try to keep up on the reading assignments, he does some little pop-writing things in class. He has a rough draft with every final, and that helps SO much. He's just awesome, you're lucky if you have him.
Professor rated by: Student on January 5, 2005
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WRA 195H
Writing: Major Top Amer Thght
5*****
A nice guy overall and very intelligent. He made the class entertaining and related many of the topics we were learning about back to current events. However the papers are hard and he grades even harder, you have to work you ass off to do well in here but it's worth it to take the class.
Professor rated by: Student on May 4, 2005
Helpful Rating?
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WRA 195H
Writing: Major Top Amer Thght
5*****
This guy is outstanding. I took a radical Amercian thought class with him, and he totally opened up my mind to a whole bunch of new shit, especially in an election year. This guy knows what the hell he's doing, and if at all possible get class with this guy, he's outstanding.
Professor rated by: Student on November 9, 2004
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