Cairns, Kathleen  

History

3.50/4.00

22 evaluations


HIST 208


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2007
Moderated Comment
Dr. Cairns is my favorite teacher so far. Her class wasn't particularly easy, but she is just an overall great lady. It is a California history class, so a lot of the lectures are on things you learned in fourth grade. Every day is a lecture - you'll need a really big notebook because you will take a ton of notes. But don't be discouraged :) Dr. Cairns is so passionate about everything she teaches - and she is so knowledgeable (she knows all the juicy stuff about history) - that the lectures are more than bearable. There will be one midterm, one final, and one paper. The midterm and final are based completely on the lectures (so if you miss a day, get someone?s notes). For the midterm, she will give you several short essay questions about two weeks before the test date, and then she will ask you to answer three or four of them for the test. The final is take home - a few essay questions from the lectures. The paper is on the books you are supposed to read (she'll assign you 4 novels to read - no textbook). She'll give you a few essay topics to go with the books - you really only need to read 3 of the 4. The questions are very open ended though, so don't stress about reading the books. Dr. Cairns is extremely fair and understanding. You can tell she genuinely cares about her students. I would absolutely recommend her!!!


Freshman
A
Elective
Apr 2008
Dr. Cairns was by far one of the best professors I have ever had at Cal Poly. She made the lectures interesting and always had a great video to show the class. She also wants her class to do their very best, and even offers some form of extra credit. Her grading is broken down into 3 sets of 100: a midterm, a final, and a paper. Dr. Cairns is a fantastic person who is truly passionate about history and genuinely enjoys teaching.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Apr 2008
Dr. Cairns is the nicest professor. She really knows that we may not want to be in class, but she tries her best to make the material interesting. If you make an effort, take notes, study for the midterm, and visit her with any questions you have on your final papers or term paper she will help you out. I really loved her class and I learned a lot about California History. Definitely take her!


Graduate Student
B
Elective
Jun 2008
She is a good lecturer as she makes it interesting, but there is just so much of it, that it gets tiresome towards the end. Has videos to break it up at times, so that is good. Really does not like talking in the class so if you are talking she will ask, "Do you have a question?" and put you on the spot to have you say something. If you dont have a question she will be rather rude about you talking, so make something up quick. I really learned alot from this class, so a good class on people wanting to learn about the state they are in, which is a good thing.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2009
I really recommend Cairns. Her class was easy AND interesting! She is extremely knowledgeable about the subject and so her lectures feel more like you're listening to a big story. For the midterm, she'll give you 5 possible essay questions that might be on the midterm. Then, she'll give you 3 of those 5 questions and let you pick 2 to actually write about! The midterm is just the essay questions, so as long as you prepare ahead of time you'll easily get an A on it. She'll give you two options for how to run the class: 1) write a paper about the books she assigns you to read OR 2) summarize the same books as option 1 (just a summary of what happens, thats it) and then write a 7-page paper about how your family came to CA. My class picked option 2 and it was really easy, everyone I know got 100% on their papers because she can't grade you down for information about your family! Also, she doesn't even read the summaries, she just checks off that you did it. I didn't read the books I just read summaries on them on wikipedia and I got 100%, so save your money and don't buy the "required reading." The final is take-home and is really easy, especially if you go into her office hours for help. Our entire class was literally made up of the midterm, the summaries, the 7-page paper, and the final. You should definitely take this class for an easy A that won't bore you to death!!


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2011
Dr. Cairns was an awesome professor! I really loved her and I actually looked forward to going to history class, which was a first for me! She kept me engaged for the full two hours of class, and was a great lecturer. There was a lot of reading for this class (4 books) but they were all really enjoyable books and I was willing to read them just because I liked her. Your grade is based off of one in class midterm, a paper on the books you read, and the final which was 3 essays. I worked pretty hard on the papers and got A's on all of them, so she is definitely a fair grader if you put in the work. Really would recommend this class to anyone and she is funny and entertaining . She is a little bit unorganized in the lectures, but overall great and even includes movie clips after she lectures. Great professor and I will definitely miss the class and feel that I learned a lot about California history!!


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Dec 2012
If I were just to listen to her talk, and not have to take notes about it, that'd be great because it's interesting stuff. I'm not a fan of the way she lectures- she brings up many random points that aren't relevant to anything, and she'll begin talking about someone, switch to something else, then go back to the other person (using a computer to take notes is helpful because you can just go back and type more). There were so many names being thrown in every direction it was hard to understand the relevance of people. She really needs to get up-to-date with technology and make power points with exactly what she wants to say, so she doesn't say just whatever comes to her mind. I read notes from someone who took the same class with her a different quarter, and the notes were completely different.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2012
Professor Cairns is a really nice lady. She made the class very interesting and I enjoyed being in her class. She even made me laugh quite a bit. However, her lectures are all over the place! I started out taking notes by hand, but qickly switched to typing them instead because it was easier to do so. She jumps around a lot during her lectures so going back and adding things is much easier on a computer. She often will start a sentence and wander off to another topic, so make sure you raise your hand and ask a lot of questions to keep her on track... she doesn't mind at all. Overall, I liked Professor Cairns. There was a midterm (which she gave us questions to beforehand then chose from those randomly for the in class short responses), paper (based on 3 of the 4 bookes we were supposed to read), and final (take home short responses). She also offered to read over our paper and final before we turned them. WE COULD EVEN EMAIL THEM TO HER TO LOOK OVER! I really liked this about her. If you have to take Cairns, do it! She wasn't that bad :)


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Dec 2013
Cairns is a fantastic professor and historian. She relates every piece of information she is teaching to an interesting story or funny fact. With this, she makes the history of California so incredibly interesting that I find myself reciting what she's taught me back to my friends and family. I certainly have learned a lot and loved every minute of it. The class consists of 1 in-class midterm that she allows you to prepare for at home. 1 6-7 page paper and a take-home final. All very doable and reasonable! Definitely take Cairns!


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2015
Professor Cairns is great! She makes every lecture clear and sometimes brings in videos to show. She knows more about history than you could imagine and she has a passion to share it with her students. This class only had a mid term, a paper on books that you were supposed to read and a final paper that can be turned in anytime during finals week. As long as you take notes during her lectures and basically memorize those for the mid term you'll do well. She is also extremely helpful during her office hours. She loves helping students and wants to see everyone succeed. Basically, she cares and is good at her job. She also has a great sense of humor and works it into her lecture occasionally.

HIST 322


Junior
A
General Ed
Mar 2006
Dr. Cairns was an amazing professor. The class was 2 hours long, but it went by fast. Her lectures were very interesting and she showed really awesome video clips. There was one midterm and you got the questions in advance so there were no suprises. There was also a 12 page paper that was very easy to write since it was basically an interview with a parent and grandparent, and the final was take home. It was an easy class, I learned a lot, and Dr. Cairns' enthusiasm and knowledge made is by far the best class I've ever taken at Cal Poly


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Nov 2010
Dr. Cairns is an AMAZING professor... She makes history come alive and keeps you engaged during the two hour lecture. She includes a lot of examples and explains history in a way that you can understand and relate to. The one thing I would definitely recommend is not missing a class. Her lectures are very important to your midterm and final. She gives you the questions ahead of time so you know what is expected. The one other thing that I would say is that there is a lot of reading for this class to write a 10-12 page paper, so make sure to start it early in the quarter. Other than that, Dr. Cairns is wonderful and I would tell anyone to take her class.


Senior
A
Elective
Apr 2013
Dr. Cairns is a fabulous professor. Her lectures are clear and interesting. She assigns four fiction books for the quarter and you write an essay comparing three of them. If you start reading the books early you will do well. The other two essays are taking straight from the lectures so if you pay attention and take notes you will do very well. Don't take out your cell phone in class, she gets quite irritated when someone does that and it makes the class awkward. She is a wonderful teacher!


Junior
A
Elective
Aug 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this class with Professor Cairns. To be fair it was right up my alley in terms of content, but I think it was a combination of that and Professor Cairn's clear and concise lecturing which ensured I gained an A in the class. I must admit I was somewhat surprised to receive 100% in my midterm having honestly not put in a great deal of effort, therefore I do feel that this class is pretty easy. Likewise I only actually read one of the assigned books in order to write my paper. Easy straightforward and interesting class which gives a brief glimpse into twentieth century America. Great, personable, upbeat teacher who made coming to class more of a pleasure than a chore.


Junior
A
General Ed
Feb 2016
TAKE HER FOR YOUR D5, DONT BOTHER READING THE OTHER POSTS: Professor Cairns brings history to life even if you hate history. she does an amazing job presenting material and I stayed for every single lecture even if I didn't have to (she plays short movies and people would walk out). She's such a sweetheart, reminds me of my grandma. She's been teaching history for 20+ years so she knows everything off the top of her head -- it's really impressive. YOU HAVE 3 GRADES: 1. Essay Midterm with PROMPTS SHE GIVES TO YOU A WEEK BEFORE 2. 10-12 page essay that she GIVES YOU MONTHS TO WRITE and 3. Essay Final with PROMPTS SHE GIVES YOU 2 WEEKS IN ADVANCE. Take Cairns. Take Cairns. Take Cairns. She is awesome.


Senior
N/A
General Ed
Mar 2016
Amazing class. Made me want to be a history major. Cairns lecture style is so casual its just like she's talking to you, she knows everything so well. And she tells anecdotes so you really understand everything. She highlights the importance of media in American History which is honestly one of the most fascinating topics to learn about. Grading totally fair and there are only 3 grades for the class. This is one of the best classes I've taken at Cal Poly, it was super depressing when it was over.


Junior
A
Required (Support)
Apr 2016
Dr. Cairns really knows her material. She is a smart lady. She is pretty funny and a cool professor. The one complaint I had about her was that she does not have any visual lectures, like power points or hand outs or anything like that. She just talks the entire time, so you have to be an auditory learner. She is also very into media and plays a lot of movies. I liked her class, it was interesting, and I do recommend her as a professor.

HIST 435


Senior
N/A
General Ed
Oct 2006
Dr. Cairns breaks the angry feminist stereotype in her women's history from 1870 course. It is man-friendly and presented in an unbiased enough way. The women she discusses and brings to light are interesting, and Dr. Cairns is friendly and not excessively demanding. I enjoyed the interviews I had to do as my paper for the quarter, and truly, I looked forward to going to class. The interviews, midterms, and final are the only things to do for the course other than take notes; in addition, the books she assigns are worth keeping, just for the sake of interest.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Mar 2008
Kathleen Cairns is an awesome teacher- she seriously made me want to switch from my major to history. Her lectures go by really fast cause they're really interesting. There's no textbook but she assigns 4 books (they're not that bad to read, and the book that she wrote is awesome!) theres just a midterm, paper and final. The midterm and final are essays and she gives you possible topics a few weeks ahead of time. The paper is really fun, you do biographies on your grandmother and your mom and its really interesting. The final is take home so its no big deal. Be prepared to take a lot of notes in lecture but overall the class is awesome. TAKE CAIRNS FOR ANY CLASS SHE IS A GREAT TEACHER!!!


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2009
I took professor Cairns\' Women\'s Gender Studies class for my USCP requirement. The class was easy enough - come to her lectures every day and take lots of notes and you\'ll be fine. The course grade was based on 1 midterm consisting of two essays, a 10-12 page paper comparing the lives of two women you know, and a 3-essay final. There are 4 novels for the class but you don\'t have to read all of them to do well, just if you want a better overall understanding of the subject. Cairns is a decent teacher and has clearly researched her lecture material very well. She\'ll grade you fairly and if you put in the effort you will come out of the class feeling satisfied with your experience.

WS 435


Sophomore
B
Elective
Mar 2009
she is honestly the first professor at cal poly that made me want to go to class... no joke. her lectures are interesting and give you all the info you need to get a good grade in the class. there's one midterm that she gives you the questions for ahead of time (if you go to class and take good notes you will be totally fine), a ten page paper (on two women you know personally), and a take home final (which is basically three essays... but its not that bad). she is a great professor and is suuuuper nice. i would take her if you have the opportunity because shes awesome

HIST 440


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Jan 2008
This course covered the topic history of the media. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this class but Mrs. Cairns made it by far the most interesting class I have taken to date. The reading was moderately extensive (what history class doesn't require this?) but they weren't typical boring textbooks. The lectures were so fascinating that I never missed one. During the thanksgiving break my family dog ate one of my required reading books and Cairns brought me one from her own collection so I didn't have to buy another! The class requires a midterm, final and research paper. If you get the chance, for any class, take Cairns!

EDUC 597


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Nov 2016
Trump 2016 -> Kanye 2020 -> Vermen Supreme 2024 -> ??? -> Profit