Black, Michael  

Biological Sciences

3.40/4.00

68 evaluations


BIO 111


Junior
B
General Ed
Jan 2016
Professor Black is extremely knowledgeable, but he should not be teaching a lower-level GE. Basically, he went too into depth. He reads off his slides and adds some detail, but he goes way too fast. Knowledgable, but not an easy GE - I struggled to get a B-.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Feb 2016
Dr. Black is honestly a really cool and smart guy, but this class is ridiculously hard. He expects you to already know a lot of basic bio information which I really didn't because I last took bio my freshman year of high school. There are clicker questions so you can't miss class often. Overall, it's not a bad class and the time goes by pretty quick but not an easy GE at all. I beat the average on every test and still got a B and I always went to class.

BIO 121


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2016
If you have to take this class you have to take black. I struggled with the information but I am confident that the only reason i passed was because of him. He is charismatic and super smart and loves to answer questions. awesome dude

BIO 151


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2003
Dr. Black is an excellent professor, and lecturer. He conveys information concisely and clearly. 151 is a tough class, so you have to put in the time, but it always helps to have a professor who actually cares about you. Definitely try to register for Dr Blacks class.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2003
Dr. Black is an awesome professor. He has a great sense of humor, which makes the class fun. He's not one of those professors that you fall asleep while listening to. He is great at explaining things, and is always willing to clarify and help you understand things you don't get. He uses powerpoint for his lectures, which makes it easier to sit back and listen instead of madly rushing to write everything down. There is a lot of material to cover, and it's a challenging class. But if you study a little every day, and talk to Dr. Black about things you don't understand you'll be fine. His tests are very fair. He hates to see people fail, and will try to help them pass by curving the scores a little.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
Professor Black was great. He made class fun and interesting even though we did go over a lot of material. You can buy a notebook with all his powerpoint slides at El Corral which made notetaking easier. I thought his first test was the easiest and his second the hardest. The Final isn't cumulative. He has these online quizes you take for easy points but REMEMBER to take them. I'd definitely recommend him.


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
dr. balck was awesome! he explained hard material very clearly and was able to help out when you needed it. he is a very flexible and reasonable professor and you can arrange a lot of extra office hours if you need it. he really is great, take him before you leave!


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Aug 2003
This was a very difficult class, but the teacher was awesome. It was my fault for taking the 8 o'clock class so early, and that I did bad because I was always so tired for the class. I still felt he was a good teacher despite the bad grade, I was happy just to pass the class. He taught the material well, and he overall is the best teacher for this class.


Freshman
C
General Ed
Dec 2003
This class is very difficult. If you are planning on taking this class don't take it at 8 in the morning. If you actually do wake up at that time, then you get to class and fall asleep while taking notes. If you know someone else in the class, then you might as well get the notes from them. The tests are tricky because you really need to read and understand the question before you can answer it. The tests are curved though, and there is always an extra credit problem. The online quizzes are easy and everyone always gets a 100%, so don't forget to take them. Professor Long is a cool guy who tries to make everyone laugh and stay awake. He really knows the material and will give lots of examples if people ask for them. If you don't understand something make sure you ask because it will be very helpfulto a lot of people.


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Feb 2004
Dr Black is very professional in his delivery of content. In lectures he will often tell you more than you need to know. Don't take this class early in the morning. He WILL put you to SLEEP!! If you are able to memorize information easily and can keep yourself awake through some of the most boring lectures ever, then take Dr. Black for Bio 151. If you dont think you can handle that, I would recommend taking the class from someone else.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Feb 2004
Professor Black did a very good job of explaining hard to understand concepts. I didn't even need to take the class and was expecting to be totally lost, but he explained things very well.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Jul 2004
OK for all you people who are saying this class was really hard, wait till you take the rest of the series. 151 was ridiculously easy compared to 152 and 153 so take advantage of the fact that 151 is majorly concept based, which is a lot easier to learn than straight memorization of charts, facts, diagrams, etc like for 152 and 153. Black is an awesome teacher and i took it at 8am, and i personally found his voice to be very pleasant to listen to and i never fell asleep, even at the 8 am friday lectures. He sells his notes at the bookstore, so you just have to fill in a few blanks so that helps keeps you awake too. But be warned: dont make the mistake of just simply filling them in, make sure to take extra notes too. he LOVES to test you on the experiments he briefly mentions in class so be sure to understand those completely!


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Aug 2004
Very informative, his tests are very difficult and he tries to trick you on purpose so make sure you know the information well. He will never ask you a question that wasn't covered in lecture, make sure not to miss lecture though because sometimes he will give you answers to test questions, especially for Friday lectures. Study the notes well, for me it helped to read the chapter before going to lecture because then i already somewhat understood what was going to be covered in class. Definitely recomend him, he loves to answer your questions and is good at explaining himself and has a good sense of humor.


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Aug 2004
Dr. Black was a great teacher overall. I do not agree with the last evaluation, I thought BIO 151 was much harder than BIO 152 or 153. Still, this class is an easy A if you study. I would defiantly recommend him for BIO 151.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2004
Black was a way cool professor. Take him for Bio 151 if you get the chance. Although he wears tacky Hawaiian shirts, he presents the information well. His powerpoints are very organized and colorful. He also has a strange quirky sense of humor to lighten up the lectures. His tests are definitely tricky and conceptual. Memorization alone will not earn you an A. He wants his students to pass, however, and will offer opportunities for extra credit. He has review sessions before each test in class and out of class. The online tests are a piece of cake, even though most of the material on them are not tested. But, all the same, no one can argue with free points.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Feb 2005
This guy is soooo nice and an excellent teacher. He doesn't have a montone voice and understands a student's point of view. He is very helpful when you approach him. His tests are fairly easy if you know the material. I would definetely recommend taking an SI with this course to help you remember all the material better. Take Black!!


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
Feb 2005
He is a great tacher!! I would definitely recommend him. The class is very hard and so are the tests, but he explains everything in great detail, so if you want to pass his class just study!


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Jun 2005
Dr. Black is an excellent teacher. His lectures were interesting and he was always available for office hours. He came to the Muir dorm before each test for office hours, too. He has lecture notes you can buy online or print out...they are very helpful. I would definately recommend him!


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Jul 2005
This guy is wicked smart and he's a cool guy. There wasn't a lot of work outside class and he'll write a letter to your parents if you do well (and they eat that stuff up) The class is really interesting and he teaches at a fast enough pace so that you won't get bored, but if you get behind or don't go to lecture you might be hopelessly lost.


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Oct 2005
Good professor. Very welcoming to students who come to office hours, he will make sure you get your questions answered. Not an easy class but information filled and it prepares you well for other classes in the bio and ag science areas. Tests are tough! I failed the first one but he has a policy of averaging the first and second tests and the average will replace the first test grade if its higher! Very nice, because it really does take that first test to familiarize yourself with how he tests.


Senior
B
Required (Support)
Nov 2005
If you can, take him before you graduate! he is great and very friendly. He wants to be the students friend rather than make them feel stupid. However if you are being stupid he will call u on it. Very chill, get very demanding. Do the online quizzes and study from them. Just from studying those I got good grades....

BIO 161


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2005
Dr. Black is an excellent teacher. His lectures are interesting and he leaves his lecture power points online. His quizes and exams are tough, but easily completed if you have a basic understanding of the concepts presented. He is definately one of my favorite teachers at Cal Poly and I will most definately try to take more of my classes with him.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Feb 2006
Black was a great professor. He has a personality, which makes lectures easier to sit through, and he has a total announcer voice. His lectures are powerpoint, which he posts on blackboard, but will not allow you print them out. Sometimes lectures are a little hard to follow, but the book is very clear and his lectures correspond with the chapters well. His tests are reasonable and definitly more than straight memorization. For the final, each student took it once individually, then once in groups. The group final score counted for like 30% or something. I had never heard about a professor doing this, so he is pretty considerate and cares about students' concerns for their grades.


Sophomore
D
Required (Major)
Jun 2007
Dr. Black is clearly very passionate about his work. He explains things very clearly, but the amount of material is crazy. If you're taking this class along with lots of other very hard classes- my advice: ddon't. it's a lot of work, if you study the slides and know everything he talks about- you will do well. But, be prepared its a HUGE amount to know


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Jun 2007
Dr. Black is a great teacher. He has an unusual way of presenting material sometimes, but since his analogies are sometimes absurd they are memorable and effective. He's very animated and lively. His tests can be difficult, you just have to know what to study. I would definitely recommend him for any bio class.


Freshman
D
Required (Support)
Jul 2007
lively lecturer and memorable analogies, but if you take this class without any prior knowledge of biology then you're in for a ride. it's a workload and it seemed as though the more i guessed on tests the more my grades got progressively better. which means? it means even though i studied a lot earlier on, and thought i knew the material, i didn't. maybe i'm not a bio person but make sure you're science suavy before taking this class!


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Aug 2007
Black is a good guy and he knows what he is talking about. However he just teaches straight from a powerpoint. If you go to class and study you'll do fine. But the lab is a different story. IT IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME. You sit in the lab for a full three hours and listen to a recap of the lecture and you do your labs and reports in groups which sucks if you have bad partners. Basically the key to the lab is write down everything from the board, get good partners and just BE A MONKEY AND REPEAT EVERYTHING THE TEACHER SAYS. The lab is a joke and reqires no thinking.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2007
Dr Black is a great teacher and he conveys information in memorable ways. He is also very good at explaining concepts (which is great if you are like me and did not get a ton of bio in high school), so you end up being able to link concepts and understand what in the world you are memorizing. The tests are based on his powerpoints. You have to be careful because even if you understand the concepts fairly well, you can get caught on the test because he will expect you to know those concepts and instead test on really nitpicky and specific things. So even though you know the bulk of the stuff, you might not get the bulk of the points on the test. Just study those lecture notes like mad and you will be fine.


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Feb 2008
Dr. Black is a good professor. He's knowledgeable and helpful if you need to go to office hours. He explains things in a meaningful way. For the things that seem to confuse a lot of students, he will take more time on. After midterms, if there is a question a lot of people missed, he will take the time out of that day's lecture to go over it and try to reiterate the material and make sure everyone is clear. He has online quizzes which are easy. He also has a book of the powerpoint slides you can buy from El Corral which is very convenient. It makes taking notes much simpler. He's a good guy and good professor. I recommend Dr. Black, even if he does kind of look like Jamie from Mythbusters.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2008
Dr. Black has been the best teacher I have had at this school. I normally dont enjoy cellular biology but he presented the material clearly and was very helpful at answering questions. I felt that the tests were fair and from our notes. The online group quizzes were difficult but do them with a good group. The final wasn't too bad and he lets you take it by yourself and then also with a group and average the scores which is really great. I would reccommned to take Dr Black for any bio class you have.


Freshman
D
Required (Major)
Mar 2008
dr black is a cool professor, in fact one of the coolest. he made lectures very interesting, but his tests were RIDICULOUSLY HARD. im a bio major, and i got a D in his class. I am gonna retake bio 161. i never went to his office hours, so maybe if i would have tried harder i could have gotten a better grade. i studied my ASS off for weeks for the final, and still bombed. his tests are WAY TOO HARD. great guy tho!


Sophomore
D
Required (Major)
May 2009
Black was a pretty cool guy who made some funny jokes. Lectures were enjoyable only because of his personality. HOWEVER his lectures contain VERY detailed information and it is hard to tell what is and what is not going to be on the test. His tests are EXTREMELY difficult and you have to be a genius to get an A. He asks questions on his tests that are not simply straight from the learnings and book but rather a COMPLETE understanding of EVERYTHING. So unless you haven't mastered every single idea and concept there is no way you will get more than a C on the test. His average in the class was a D+ if I remember right, if not a C-. He says thats acceptable because that is just how this class works. He lectures by powerpoint and talks the whole time. I found this hard to really get the information because he says SO much information in so little time. Bringing a tape recorder to class can be helpful and combining notes from other people can help too because you cant catch everything. But i would definitely recommend reading each chapter several times. Read before the lecture. Read after the lecture and then do outlining and even practice questions.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2010
Incredible teacher and person. He knows the material very well and can answer almost any question. He also comes up with unique analogies that are easy to understand. Any slide or concept that he goes over more than the others will definitely turn out to be a test question. He makes sure you understand. Don\'t read the book, it has way too much information. Instead, go over his lectures and use mastering bio online. Then, if you need to clarify, you can pull out the book. Midterm is not bad at all, just know general concepts. All of the online quizzes and readings take seriously, because it can help your grade. Overall, take this professor. You won\'t regret it.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2010
Dr. Black is a great professor. I strongly recommend taking his class if you can. He presents the material very clearly, and is good at clarifying concepts that are confusing. His class is very difficult, but he does take a lot of his questions on his tests from mastering biology. Overall, I thought that Dr. Black was one of the best professors I have had and he is a pretty cool guy. He also writes a letter to your parents if you get an A on the second midterm which I thought was a very nice gesture.


Junior
C
Elective
Mar 2010
I retook this class because I got a D when I took it my freshman year as a biology major (now Im psych). I got a C+; it was hard, but Dr. Black is an awesome professor and he makes it interesting. It is definitely a hard class, with hard tests, but if you stay on top of it and persevere, you will succeed with at least a C. I am not a \"C\" student, but Dr Black was awesome and I was completely satisfied with my grade.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Jun 2010
Black is one of the best professors at Cal Poly. No matter how much bio you know beforehand, you will leave the class with a very good understanding of cell biology. I took a priority just so I could take Black, and it was so worth it.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
May 2011
Great professor. In fact, possibly best professor I have ever had. All of the positive ratings below are all true. Challenging class, but you will learn a WHOLE lot more than you knew before. TAKE HIM.


Junior
C
Required (Support)
Jun 2011
Please believe me and everyone else when we say this class IS difficult, but Black is awesome and he makes Bio hilarious. When I say I passed with a C, it was barely a C. This class is a ton of information, so if you cannot commit the time needed to do well in it, I recommend another professor. But here are some things that may help you: 1- print off slides ahead of class, or bring a laptop and take notes directly on powerpoint. Sounds basic, but it's crucial for good notes. 2- Buy a book that comes with the Masting Biology program/package, it will really help if you are not getting something. It's full of little video tutorials, practice questions, pictures, matching, etc. Plus if your grade sucks at the end of the quarter black will boost it a little for doing the Mastering Bio stuff. 3- Focus on lecture notes. When I was struggling, Black told me to only use the book as a reference if something doesn't make sense in the notes. If you do have time however, reading the chapter before class is helpful (but it's poly, who has time for that?) 4- Before the test, black suggested that I go through each slide and be able to summarize in my own words what was going on in each slide to make sure I understood. After that, try to make a question for each slide, maybe on a flash card, and be able to answer those questions. That sounds like a pain in the ass I know, but it REALLY does help, and taking that time to say it in your words and not the professor's words helps you get it way more. 5- Tests can be hard, if something is covered on more than one slide of his powerpoints, KNOW IT. If it's some kind of structure or process, be prepared to label it or draw it on the test. He has multiple choice, short answer, drawing, labeling, etc. 6- Try to get into a study session if you can early on(the kind not for credit). My study facilitator had great worksheets and demos, and interacting helps. I like the no credit ones because if you feel like you don't need it anymore you don't have to go. 7- Yeah this is cheating, but when you have to take quizzes on blackboard, they are hard, so I would suggest getting a buddy and some laptops in the library and take it at the same time so you can both look stuff up. Black is a great guy and funny professor and really knows his stuff, it's just a tough subject/class. Had I done all those things from the get go i'm sure I could have done better, it's a doable class. Good Luck!


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Jun 2011
I loved this class!! It was very tough, but very worth it! He teaches the material really well, is an entertaining professor, and keeps you interested all through lecture. If you're just taking this as a GE... DON'T you will regret it! But for anyone who plans on continuing in the Bio or science fields, you will be glad you had such a great foundation. The tests are really hard and test on mastery of concepts not just memorization. I'd recommend reading the chapters before class, then printing out chapter outlines and taking notes on those in class. I made flashcards that asked "questions" I made up about all the slides, and that helped A TON! Good luck, enjoy this GREAT professor!


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2012
Although he is very intelligent and knowledgeable on the subject of biology, he is way too arrogant for his own good. He started off our class by asking the students "how many of you plan on being doctors in the future?" There was a significant amount of hands that went up, he followed by saying :"after this class more than half of those hands will go down." Now what is he trying to prove by saying that? He is the kind of professor that tries to weed out those students who just aren't at the top. He is too smart for his own good,


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Jun 2012
Dr. Black is a great teacher! His class is by no means easy, but if you are willing to put in the effort, you will learn a lot. He is very animated during class, and does a lot of quirky things to help you remember the material. I would definitely suggest taking the SWS if you want to do well. Office hours really help out too!


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Aug 2012
Dr. Black is a good professor. He definitely knows his stuff. However, I feel as if he expected us to know EVERYTHING about the material we covered. Every detail and every scenario. He required us to have a MasteringBio account, which was an extra $50 on top of the text. It was fairly helpful, but it didn't even seem to factor into my grade at all. I feel like if I didn't do any of the homework I would have gotten the same grade. I took him as a Freshman and even took a workshop but I honestly don't know if that helped. You just really need to work your butt off and study material every day until you completely understand the subject matter. Dr. Black is very animated during his lectures, but you really need to pay close attention and listen and understand the material he is going over in order to perform well on his tests as I found them extremely difficult! Going to office hours can help, but he is very intimidating because he is way too serious all the time. The final is awful. He does allow students the option of taking it as a group, but I'm not sure that helped much at all considering it was one of the hardest tests I've ever taken. Overall, Dr. Black is a good professor if you want to know every single thing about molecular biology and want to stress about the class. Don't take him if you want an easy A.


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2012
Dr. Black is an amazing professor. His lectures are clear and organized, and finds ways to make everything seem a bit easier. Like everyone else has said, this class is very tough and you have to keep up with it. He is super funny, and tries to give stories for things so people remember the concepts. Tests are rough, but fair. You'll be fine if you go to lecture and study study study!


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jun 2014
Dr. Black is AMAZING. I had not taken biology since sophomore year of high school and was fairly scared. However, Dr. Black is incredibly educated and presents the material very easily and thoroughly. He is a very fair teacher and truly wants his students to do their best. He is probably the best professor i have had at Cal Poly and would recommend him to anyone.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
May 2015
Prof. Black is my favorite professor at Cal Poly yet. He enjoys what he does and is very enthusiastic about his lectures. He explains things in funny and helpful ways. His tests are hard but fair if you study. Read the book and go to lecture and then you will recognize everything on the test. If you get a chance to take him definitely do it!


Sophomore
A
Elective
Jul 2017
Do not take this professor, he had a major ego issue. I don't even know how he can hold a job. He was extremely disrespectful during office hours. He disregards your questions and turns them around so he can once again try to sound smarter. He talks like he has an audience at all times. He was very hostile at times. Wish this class was a better experience.

BIO 375


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Sep 2003
What a tough class! Wow!What an interesting class! If you are the type that gets discouraged easily and you don't have scientific curiosity and the drive to research, then don't even get near this class. But if you are like me, stubborn and knowledge hungry, go for it!!! This will be the class that will make you either hate Molecular Biology or you will find a new career goal in the mobio field. I have never learn so much (and actually remembered) in any of my classes. Dr. Black is awesome. He made me work my butt off. His tests are real tests. Not just dumb memorizations. YOU WILL USE YOUR BRAIN. Tests are very difficult. You have to know and test your knowledge. Dr. Black is very approachable. Easy to talk to. Very, very knowledgable. Bottom line: don't take the class if you a "I just want to pass" person. If you want to know Molecular Biology, Dr. Black will teach you.

BIO 402


5th Year Senior
A
Required (Major)
Nov 2012
Dr. Black is my favorite professor at Cal Poly. He's a great professor and an awesome person on top of it. He invests a lot of time and effort into his classes, and is easily one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. That said, he expects you to know your shit. Virology is a seriously tough class with a ton of information, but he teaches it in a very straightforward manner that he employs in all of his classes. Review sheets and office hours are incredibly helpful, and he'll make sure you understand what he wants you to know. I walked out of Dr. Black's class feeling not only informed, but more prepared for life after Cal Poly in the work force. For anyone taking ANY classes that have Dr. Black as a professor (especially upper division classes), TAKE HIM.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2016
Dr. Black is an awesome teacher and a really cool guy. I've had him for both Cell Bio and Viro, which are the two hardest classes I took at Poly. His classes are a lot of work but you learn and retain a lot provided you put in the effort. He also grades really fairly, so unless you really screw up and don't try you can get at least a C, no problem. Just be sure you're not taking more than one major/difficult course during the same quarter and you'll do fine.


Senior
B
Required (Support)
Apr 2016
This was one of the worst class I took at Cal Poly. The class itself is designed to be hard and Dr. black makes it even harder. I believe Dr. black can make this class easier but he wants to laugh at students that are struggling. However, I liked that for the exam he gives you like an hour or half to correct if you got something wrong. The worst of all for this class was the lab, it requires absolutely ridiculous amount of work and you still struggle or simply don't know what's going on. Here, I am not stating how bad lab was designed, but I asked everyone in the class and they said the same thing that they have no clue what's going on the lab. Overall, Dr. black was a great instructor. Not recommended to slow learner. I highly recommend Cell Biology if you could before taking this class!


Junior
B
Elective
May 2016
On the first day of class, Dr. Black said the following, "This class is hard. It is designed to challenge you and make you work for your grade, but you will learn and I have yet to have a student fail this class. My quizzes and exams will beat you down and for some, make you cry. This class will leave you broken and laying on the ground, but I will be there to offer a hand, help you back up, and show that every single one of you is more than capable of understanding Virology." On the first day of class, this terrified me, but Dr. Black was not wrong. His quizzes (4) and exams (1 midterm, 1 final) were some of the hardest I've seen here at Poly, but they got me to see what I was missing and fully learn the material. He had us work in groups to analyze 6 scientific papers and give a presentation on one at the end of the quarter. Dr. Black holds his students to very high standards and demonstrates what it is like to have a career in this field. This class is an immense amount of work, but is worth it in the end. I have never been more stressed out, but I have also never been more proud of myself for completing this class and doing so well. Highly recommend if you are up for the challenge.

MCRO 402


Junior
B
Elective
Jun 2013
Dr. Black is one heck of a TEACHER. He actually goes out of his way to lead you through the material step by step. His Micro 402 lecture consisted of mostly image powerpoint slides that did not have enough text on them and because he talks fairly fast, listen well during class. The only reason I did not give him an "A" is because his tests are very difficult and require so much effort from the student. I plan to take him for Cell Bio because I liked him so much as a teacher although I am prepared to work my butt off for this class. He requires a lab notebook instead of lab reports for the lab portion of his classes which I think he was pretty lenient about. The only reason I was able to pull off a decent grade in his class was because he provides many minor opportunities for grade improvements. For example, in Micro 402 he allows test corrections for the midterms which bumped my test grades up by 7%!


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Aug 2015
HARD class, black makes you work super hard for you grade but you learn SO much its totally worth it. loved this class, never put in so much work in my life


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2017
Here's the thing about Dr. Black...He is incredibly smart and that can come off as intimidating to some (me included, at first). His lectures are clear, concise, and its all on power point slides. You better have those slides printed and ready to take some serious notes in class. Because he does go pretty fast and no one seems to dare to ask questions to slow him down. If you know your cell bio verbage and you stay sharp, you will understand this material and do well. He is organized and he will give you everything you need to know for the exams in LECTURE. The book is really UNECCESSARY. I had it myself, and it helped me ZERO. I would recommend recording his lectures in case you miss something and need to re-listen to it, I guarantee everything you need to know, he will tell you in class. Lab is more difficult, I never understood the lab stuff..but I got by. I'm not even sure why I didn't understand it, it was just harder.

BIO 452


5th Year Senior
B
Elective
Feb 2003
Dr. Black is a relatively new faculty member who thus far is doing great! He listens to his students and is open to asking questions. He utilizes powerpoint for his lectures and although he does provide you with the slides, he goes through the information extrememly fast. At times it is hard to keep up! The information in the class is also quite difficult, but Dr. Black is fair! If you have the opportunity to take a class form him, I would take it!!!


5th Year Senior
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2003
Dr. Black is such an awesome professor! I wish I could keep taking him because he is so intelligent, he is easy to understand even though the material is difficult, he is funny and makes funny noises during lectures so he's also pretty entertaining. Outside of class, he is friendly, and easy to talk to. Sometimes can be intimidating though, but that's his way of letting you know that you have to be on top of your studies. Make sure you take him before you graduate! Otherwise you're missing out! I recommend taking him especially for Bio 452 and 375. Dr. Black will make you LOVE cell and molecular biology!


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
May 2003
Dr. Black is a great lecturer. He's extremely intelligent and his humor makes the lectures interesting. This class covers a lot of information so you really have to study and read the book to understand everything. His tests are pretty hard, it covers a little bit of everything with some m.c. from the c.d. in the book, compare and contrast, fill in the black, and design an experiment questions, which are usually the most difficult. He also lets you make up the questions that you missed from one of the exams and makes it worth 30% of the original score which can boost your test grade a lot if you did poorly. I was very impressed with him. Plus he's hot.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Nov 2005
Dr. Black is hands down the best Biology professor at Cal Poly. He is very clear in his presentation, very demanding, yet very approachable, a charateristic very unique to professors in this major. He will make you think outside the box and apply information you learn to real life problems and if you need help, he will take the exta time to help. Definately a must take professor. I would get up at 8am to take him rather than any other professor.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2006
He looks like eminem


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2006
A ton of work, heres what I learned, use the captions from the pictures on the lecture slides to fill in gaps, he goes SO fast that you will definately have chunks that you miss. If there is a graph, know everything you possibly can about it. go to his office hours and ask him about it. he is very helpful and the most well adjusted bio professor I've taken. Hes very down to earth and approachable. recopy your notes onto the slides and just make sure you can know those slides back to front. it will still be hard because he can be a bit tricky on a few questions. good luck!


5th Year Senior
N/A
Required (Major)
Mar 2009
I'll make this short and sweet... You should feel honored to have Dr. Black as an instructor...He is the best instructor in the Biology Department by far!!!!!!!! =)


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2013
This professor is one of the best that I have had in the bio department. He is extremely knowledgable and his humor keep the lecture in cell biology very interesting. I do recommend buying the book, but will not read it. It is very helpful to read the figure legends after lecture to help solidify the vast amount of material covered. Lab is extremely fun but is definitely time consuming. Don't plan on leaving early. But Dr. Black knows this material and understands it with great enthusiasm. You have to take Black for Cell Biology!!!


5th Year Senior
C
Required (Major)
Jun 2017
Black is awesome at what he teaches, he just happens to teach two of the most intensive classes possible. I feel like he genuinely does try to help us by explaining the concepts, but sometimes he just kind of forgets and passes over super difficult things and expects us to get it right off the bat.................................................................................................he's the kind of professor that you'd definitely want to go drink with, but he's also the reason that you need to go drink.


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Aug 2017
Do not take him. Something is wrong with him.. drug addict who knows besides the fact that he has a ego problem that gets in the way of everything he attempts to teach. A classic example of the flaw in the system.. a professor who's been tenured- done teaching and wants to expel his "opinion" over everything. He literally thinks he's god. Boycott.

PE 465


Junior
A
Elective
Nov 2016
During this entire quarter all I could think about was how this professor reminded me of that small little dog that runs through the back of scene 23 in The Incredibles by Pixar. Seriously, if you look it up you will only be able to see it...

BIO 475


Junior
A
Required (Support)
Jul 2016
Dr. Black will make you work your butt off in this class. His lectures are very informative and the only visual aid he uses are his hand-drawn diagrams and pictures on the board, so make sure you write what he MEANT by the diagram in your notes or you'll end up with a bunch of diagrams that don't make sense later. Most of the teaching was done during the 6 hours of lab, and only sometimes referernced the 1 hour lecture, so taking good notes in lab is ESSENTIAL. Make sure your notebook is ready and thorough for every class meeting, because Dr. Black loves surprise notebook checks. Also be familiar with the procedure and concept behind the material for the labs for the quizzes. Dr. Black's midterm and final are HARD but fair. You need to be able to apply the material he presented in class to various situations, and all his questions require critical thinking, not just memorization of what he said in lecture. Dr. Black is super intelligent and really cares about his students doing well. He also makes long lectures interesting and understands when he's been talking too long. Take Dr. Black if you're ready to work hard, learn, and be rewarded for your hard work.


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Apr 2017
Pros: Excellent teacher, prepares you for your career (ANY career, but especially Mol bio), makes you begin to think like a real scientist, funny/pokes fun at you while teaching. Hard as hell (yes this is a pro, but watch your class load that quarter obvs). Baller in office hours. Runs a biker gang on the weekends so try not to piss him off. Take this class if you want to be pushed to your limits and ultimately succeed in life. Avoid it if you just want a piece of paper on your wall that claims you're a scientist, but you know in your heart you're not. Cons: Goes a bit fast on the board/his drawings are ambiguous without his verbal explanations (I highly recommend you video record/audio record just to be safe. In retrospect this would have helped me immensely). Surprise notebook checks (not really a con because it keeps you up to date, but it may be for some people). Goes super fast in general, so come prepared to lab. Bald (may be a pro for you though). One of the top 5 teachers I've had at Cal Poly.

BIO 501


Graduate Student
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2005
If you have questions, go to the office hours and ask for assistance. He's great at answering questions.