Den Otter, Ronald  

Political Science

3.74/4.00

27 evaluations


POLS 112


Junior
A
General Ed
Aug 2014
Den Otter is the most engaging lecturer I've ever had at Cal Poly. When I took this class, I thought a Government class was going to be extremely boring but, if you have any interest in history, his lectures will keep you occupied throughout the quarter. He can sometimes get off topic and talk about nothing related to the class but other than that he is a fantastic professor. His tests are adequately hard but A's are definitely possible on them if you go to his lectures. He does have a bit of a liberal agenda that at times can be a bit vexing. Despite this, I would definitely suggest taking him.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Jun 2016
Den Otter is awesome. For his pols 112 class he makes the class extremely easy and is very transparent with what is going to be on exams. His lectures are basically conversations with the class that are intriguing due to his vast knowledge. He also offered multiple extra credit opportunities. By far the easiest class to get an A if you put in any effort I've had so far.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Sep 2016
Ron is one of the coolest professors out there. He spent at least an hour talking about Monica Lewinsky. He has a great way of making you want to learn.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Oct 2016
Easily the most fashionable professor at SLO. He's the only man I know who can pull off the daring socks+sandals combination. His classes are broken up with stories that keep it engaging. If you want to get on his good side, let him know that you're also a fan of the Dodgers.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Feb 2017
Ron's a super interesting and engaging lecturer. I personally dislike government, but he made me enjoy the class a lot. He really encourages student participation and discussion in class, which I appreciated. Expect a fun class with him!

MCRO 167


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Nov 2016
Taking this instructor is like being in a Twilight Zone episode. You just can

POLS 245


Junior
A
Elective
Mar 2010
Ron is a really great professor. He expects a lot from his students, so you have to be willing to work hard. The syllabus for Judicial Process was a little ambitious this quarter so we didn\'t get to cover everything as planned. However, the class discussions allowed us to go deeper into the material and discuss larger issues in the justice system. The paper is three pages and can be on virtually any topic. Be sure to visit Ron during office hours, or at least e-mail him, to discuss your topic. He wants you to do well and can help you narrow your paper\'s focus or give you something to think about. He\'s super approachable and helpful, and is very accessible through e-mail. Your head and hand will hurt equally after the midterm and final, but there are absolutely no surprises. Go to class, pay attention, take good notes, ask questions, and you can do well.


Freshman
A
Elective
Mar 2015
I absolutely loved Den Otters class! I have a minor in Law and Society and I would highly recommend taking him! He is hilarious and entertaining and knows a lot about this topic! He offered interesting extra credit assignments that were well worth the time. Also, he is easy to talk to and very helpful whether it is over email or office hours!


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Apr 2015
Overall I thought that Den Otter was a great professor. I took this class because I am trying to switch into the major, and it had a lot of open seats. I wasn't expecting to love the course, but I definitely did! He clearly presents the information you need to know for the midterm and the final, and even gives you a study guide. There is a paper on a movie of your choice from a few movies he gives you. He let our class write a couple of extra credit papers if you so wanted to boost your midterm or final grade. There aren't assignments or quizzes, so make sure you study a lot for his tests. Den Otter always made it clear to us that he was available in office hours for help, which I really liked. As long as you pay attention in class and study for the tests, I don't see why anyone would be unsuccessful in his class!


Freshman
A
Elective
May 2015
BEST TEACHER EVER!!!!!!!!! had ron for 245 and now 341 he is awesome!!!!! for sure one of the best teachers at cal poly answers every email, is incredibly helpful and incredibly fair! if you show up to class and pay attention you will do well


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Nov 2016
I took this class freshman year as a Political Science major class and really loved it, completely discussion based. Very interesting and Professor Den Otter made it very easy to understand. He's a funny guy who makes class enjoyable. I also took 342 with him, another class that I found very interesting, lots of writing but I never found the reading necessary. The one complaint I have is that as a conservative student, I found he has an extreme liberal bias that he doesn't try to hide and that frustrated me a lot. Overall, he is a great teacher though

POLS 331


Sophomore
F
General Ed
Jan 2008
Moderated Comment
he knows nothing about constitutional law.... His jokes are aweful... He does have an affinity for the dodgers though

POLS 334


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2009
Professor Den Otter is totally hot. Much hotter than Professor Arceneaux. I cannot believe that they would let such a good looking professor teach here.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2012
One of my favorite professors in the political science department.

POLS 341


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Nov 2005
I am not finished yet with this quarter, but I thought it would be good to get his name out there. So far he has been pretty good, he makes sure that the material is understood before moving on, and disregards the syllabus if the pace is too quick for the class. Comes off pretty cocky/arrogant, but when you graduate from Penn law school i guess it is deserved. Overall, positive experience so far.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2005
If you plan to go to law school take this class with him. It is very interesting and he explains things very clearly. However this is not an easy class, he lets you know that the first day. The amount of knowledge you get out of this class will amaze you however. You have one test on the Constitution, One paper(3-5 pages on any topic), midterm and final. The midterm and final are all essays and are pretty difficult, get together with people in the class and study toegther, you need to know everything and you do not recieve a study guide. He is a good guy and explains the material very well, also very easy to get a hold of and well explain anything to you. Take this class but be prepared to work hard


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Oct 2008
Ron is by far the best professor at Cal Poly...no joke. I am on my third class with him and have thoroughly enjoyed each course. He somehow incorporates the perfect amount of humor into an otherwise serious subject, and in turn always keeps you interested and on your toes. His classes aren't easy, but in my opinion, if a LAW class is easy then the professor is definitely doing something wrong. He is very helpful both in class and in office hourse if you don't understand something, and he's super easy to talk to. I have learned more in his three classes than in all of the classes I have taken at Cal Poly. If you get the opportunity to take a class from him, DO. Especially if you are planning on going to law school like myself. Even if you aren't planning on going to law school or even a political science major, I recommend taking one of his classes as an elective because everything you learn affects you in some way or another. A+++++

POLS 343


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2007
Political Science doesn't get much rep at Cal Poly, but Ron single handedly changes that. I feel that i am more prepared for law school (when i embark on that mission) than most kids coming from a large UC caliber school. He teaches you what you need to know, if you are taking this as a GE or just interested, be prepared to work. If you are a pre-law you will want to take as many Ron classes as possible and will be glad to put in the required work. Be warned, Ron is pretty lenient on giving out B's, tougher with B+'s, and extremely difficult to get a full A from. You want to learn--take Ron. You want an easy grade and not learn--take Settle.

POLS 344


5th Year Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jun 2008
I have taken three classes with Ron: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and Jurisprudence. I earned an "A," a "B,"and a "B+" respectively. Ron is one of the best professors I have ever had the pleasure of taking a class from. His lectures are interesting and certainly keep your attention for the entire class period. He does an excellent job of explaining difficult theories, cases, and concepts using great analogies and hypotheticals. Ron does not base his grades on class attendance. Students come to class because they want to be there, and there is always a full class room. There are required readings, many of which are dull court cases. Some of the readings are difficult to understand when you first read them on your own. Read them!!!! Upon first glance at the syllabus, it may seem like Ron plans to cover a lot of material, don't worry he will get behind and adjust the readings accordingly. The readings are not a substitute for attending class, but will help you fully understand and participate in Ron's lectures. This is a REAL class. He doesn't post his lecture notes on blackboard or have PowerPoint slides that tell you exactly what notes to take down. You have to go to class and take detailed notes, or your grade will severely suffer. Ron grades on three things a midterm, a final, and a paper. They are all difficult. You probably will not finish his exams in the allotted time (its okay, he grades on a curve). Most importantly, Ron really requires you to think critically and not just regurgitate information. Know his material inside and out. He is always available and excited to help you during his office hours. If you cannot make it to his office hours he will make time for you. In short, Ron is passionate about teaching and the subjects that he teaches, and it shows. To the person who commented below me: I highly doubt as an undergraduate student you are in a position to judge whether someone holding a PHD and a Law Degree knows about Constitutional Law or not. Since you failed the Constitutional Law class that you took with Ron, it doesn't seem as though you are working toward the ability to be taken seriously in the scholarly debate that constantly surrounds the U.S. Constitution and its interpretation. You comment is simply a reflection of your intelligence, or lack thereof.


Graduate Student
A
Required (Major)
Sep 2008
Prof. den-otter is a great professor.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2009
Great Prof!!!! Take him! He is so willing to help and classes are something I looked forward to!


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Jun 2009
Ron is great, though some of these comments sound suspiciously like something he would say about himself. I have had Ron twice now, but enjoyed the last class I had with him more than this one. He is excellent in office hours, and I recommend going to those as much as possible, since you can get a much more personable explanation and interaction with him that way, instead of in class where he is more interested in mediating debate. He loves sports analogies, and sometimes I wish I knew more about sports and old movies so I knew what he was talking about. Overall a great teacher though, and I would recommend him for anyone interested in law.


Junior
A
Elective
Jun 2009
Ron is one of those few professors who is more concerned with encouraging the development of students' views than forcing his own. He encourages respectful debate and challenges everyone (ex. "Let me press you on that..."). The class is relevant, important, and interesting. Ron makes everyone feel comfortable expressing themselves, even if they hold a minority opinion. Office hours are extremely helpful. Ron goes out of his way to make himself accessible to students and is quick to respond to emails. Advice: internalize the cases; go to office hours for guidance; contribute in class (talking about the cases helps you understand them); get started on your paper early (ask Ron for input)... Most importantly: ask him what documentaries and films you should see. Don't be, in his words, "film illiterate"!


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2010
Ron\'s the best. If anyone has to actually go on polyratings to find out about him, I\'d be surprised. He\'s fair, passionate about the subject, and very available and HARD WORKING for the student. Best of all, you will really LEARN a lot! Its not a \"fill up your brain with mushy material and regurgitate it for the final\" type of class, thank goodness. Take all of his classes.


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2011
Ron is extremely patient and very accommodating - he goes out of his way to lay out the (somewhat) difficult material in a way that is easy to understand. He usually responds to emails within a few hours, especially if it's during the time of the midterm/final or when the paper is due. Go to his office hours - he rewards students who go with little gems of info they can use on the midterm/paper/final! He structures the midterm and final like mini bar exams, which is beneficial to anyone considering law school. If you need to take both Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, take Civil Rights before Civil Liberties if you can. A lot of the foundation for First Amendment jurisprudence was discussed in Civil Rights, so it helped me succeed in Civil Liberties the next quarter.


5th Year Senior
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2012
Civil Liberties consists of a written short essay midterm (about 4 short essay questions) and final (non cumulative, about 8 short essay questions) and a 5pg double spaced paper. There is no actual homework and while participation is not graded, speaking up once in a while puts you on his good side. Ron knows the material as well or better than any teacher I've ever had for any class, but what sets him apart is his ability to convey the NECESSARY information so clearly. He is also totally hilarious (in a profane and unapologetic way), and will go off on tangents about food, movies, and sports... which is good for breaking up the lectures without taking away from the class. To be very successful in the class, you should read all of the assigned cases and always attend class and take notes. However, I barely read the cases and just took notes in class and got a B+. Realistically, if you are good at reasoning with given hypothetical information and an understanding of legal concepts presented (which is not hard at all if you go to class), then you will do well in this class without putting in a lot of effort. I feel that I did better than many of the pre-law people in the class even though I am a global politics concentration... so interpret that as you wish in terms of how hard the class is. Other than all that, Ron is super helpful and approachable, and I would highly recommend taking a class from him if you get the chance.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Nov 2012
Ron's classes changed my life. He is the best professor I have had at cal poly. Extremely passionate about the material no matter how many times he has taught it. If you are willing to put work in, you will get so much out of the class. I would recommend either Civil Rights or Civil Liberties with him no matter what your major is. You will definitely learn where you stand on issues and you will have evidence to back up your beliefs. Ron pushes you enough to make you feel challenged but never so far as to make you upset. Fantastic.


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2014
One of my favorite professors I have ever had. Ron truly cares about his students and making sure they get the most out of his class. I took both 245 and 344 with him. I have never enjoyed lectures like I do Ron's. He facilitates great discussion in class. He is always willing and happy to help students. He never puts anyone down for "stupid" comments or questions. He has a funny sense of humor and is just all around a great guy. I learned a lot from him. Definitely want to take more courses with him.