Gillen, Katharina  

Physics

2.83/4.00

29 evaluations


PHYS 131


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Apr 2008
She was a great teacher.. she noticed difficulties in students.. she help us out so much. She made physics interesting, even though she is kinda weird. The work isn't two much.. all homework is through mastering physics. Her tests are exactly the same as the homework and classwork examples, of course with different numbers. I'd recommend this teacher to anybody.. if she was teaching physics 132 i'd have her.

PHYS 132


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2010
Good teacher, clearly presents material, helpful, fair tests. I strongly recommend her for lab. Pretty easy grading, just dont be late. And dont take her early in the morning if you can help it. Shes loud. Especially when standing near you.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Nov 2010
No, just no. She\'s not very clear and her grading is unclear.


Sophomore
Withdrawn
Required (Support)
Nov 2010
She\'s nice and she\'s really good at physics but she is really strict on policy, for one thing, that\'s for sure... But I disagree with the person below - her grading is clear, it\'s just sometimes the material isn\'t. I guess there may be more posts around this time because the midterm was just a couple days ago xD


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Nov 2010
She is really funny which makes the class go by fast, but she doesn\'t do any example problems in class so it makes it hard to understand the material... i did all of the suggested reading and that is hte only way i understood the material.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2011
I thought she was a great professor. After having Mottman for 132, she actually taught me physics. I never went to office hours, and just studied her review sheets, did the homework problems, and reviewed the clicker questions. She uses i-clickers which is great cause it makes class a little more fun and you conceptually understand the physics better afterwards. Her quizzes and midterms are fair, and the final is a little more difficult but not impossible. The only downside was in the lab, she had us do error propagation although she realized that it was hindering our ability to finish labs on time and stopped it around week 7. Be prepared to stay all 3 hours in lab by the way. I would recommend her for all those who can do homework even tho its not collected. If you can do that you'll pass the class with a good grade.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Feb 2011
....Call me Kat....Kitty Kat... that was probably the most fun thing i experienced in her class. the power points were helpful, but it never really did it for me.. the material was hard i thought, it takes examples and explaining... which Kat usually was good at. she gives an equation sheet for the mid terms and final, but it is just a list of the eqns out of the book. so they help a lot if you know it already... but they don't do much unless you can distinguish between every variable.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2011
Kat was a really good teacher. She presented things clearly during class. She did not go over everything during class tho and would tell you to read certain powerpoints on your own,and when she says this you MUST read them because there can and probably will be test questions on it. Her quizzes are straight from the homework which forces you to do it which is good but the homework is not turned in. She is funny and helpful during office hours. The tests are kind of tricky. you need to study. I studied quite a bit and I got an A- in the class so it paid off. just going to lecture prob will not suffice although she does do some good example problems in class. Overall, I would recommend her and would probably take her again.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Feb 2012
Wow, I can't believe Kat has such a low rating. I thought Kat was a great instructor. She has a quiz nearly every week taken almost verbatim from the homework, there's only ever 8 problems that are assigned but never collected. Her midterms are pretty tricky but that's why the quizzes are worth more than the midterms. Also, I failed both midterms, but did great on quizzes, and still passed the class! So I think she's a very fair grader. She understands that some students struggle with time and test anxiety, much like myself. She's super nice and funny in class and in office hour. All the power point lectures are posted online and she posts solutions to the homework problems. Over all, I'd take Kat again if given the choice and I highly recommend.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2012
Katharina is a decent teacher. I would suggest taking her for physics 132 if you have the choice. She doesn't cover everything in lecture, so you have to at least skim some of the assigned reading. If you do each homework section to the point where you can do them without the solutions manual, then you will do well on the tests. If you follow her suggestions you will do well. No tricks to her teaching, she tells you what you have to do to get a good grade and it is spot on.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2017
I had her only for lab but man it was awesome. She's very nice, cares about your learning/understand, and gives you the answers to the lab report questions if you just ask. Our lab writeups are a lot shorter than some of the other teachers, and you can leave class when you finish. One day I got out an hour and a half early from our 3 hour lab. Bless Dr. Kat.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Jul 2017
Professor Gillen knows her stuff. Go to her office hours! She is more than happy to go over problems and exams with you. Homework isn't collected but there are weekly quizzes that relate to it so I would definitely recommend doing it. Her equation sheet is pretty detailed. She did require the use of an iClicker which I found inconvenient at first but was beneficial when going over material and for taking attendance. Class wasn't always very exciting or interactive (I had her for studio) but I enjoyed it.


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Nov 2017
Unfortunately, Kat is not the best professor in the studio setting (2 hr block, 3 days a week) for physics. She expects lab reports to be completed outside of the lab time -- rushes through these labs, and will spend 30-40 min at a time for a single class exercise. She would rather you spend that time confused with the problem you have had no experience with instead of showing everyone an example first. If she changed the order she did things, the class could be a lot better. While the iClicker is helpful for participation, she shrugs when you miss your answer and does not care about your grades to a great extent. Only positive is she will not be rushing through material since you will be just sitting around waiting for her to explain the class problem anyway. I have already taken phys132 before by the way. I would not recommend this studio class.

PHYS 133


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2006
Perfect teacher. Laid back, homework due once a week, goes out of the way to help. Good lectures, really likes helping. Two midterms and a final had 3 parts, equations, concepts, and problems, equally wieghted, so knowing equations and concepts got you into C range without doing any calculation. I hated parts of the class because the homework is worth 30%, so missing one mastering physics was worth 2.5 percent of your grade. Keep the solutions manual around in case it gets to the last minute because its not worth it to turn in "your best effort" when you know a problem is wrong.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2006
Dr. Kat is simply awesome! Even though it's most likely her first quarter teaching here, she will definitely make some improvements here and there. For starters, she presents all of the material in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner (she doesn't quite derive everything to death), and her exams test you on everything gone over in class and on the homework (her tests are indeed very fair; no tricks, and you can easily get an A or B on them as long as you've done your homework and paid attention in class). Also I will mention that she occasionally rips a problem from the workbook to put onto her exams (so be sure to do those problems as well). A couple of things though, she should definitely get a different grader for the written hw, as the written hw is what kills everyone's grade, and the grader is extremely brutal to say the least - it seems he/she wants you to write an entire paragraph explaining the answer to the problem; for chrissake, I chose engineering as my major, NOT ENGLISH! Also, she takes a lot of time for recitation in lab, which eats up a good hour, and I was always trying to get out at least an hour early. But all in all, I've learned a lot more from her than any other physics prof. that I've had. Plus, she occasionally makes a joke here and there in her lecture to liven things up (sometimes she walks right into a funny without even knowing it!), and what can I say, she's pretty cute too.


Senior
C
Required (Support)
Jan 2010
Great professor. Presented the material well and made it easy to understand. The only problem I had was with her picky grading. She puts too much emphasis on getting your units right and showing every step to the right answer.

PHYS 141


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Oct 2012
She doesn't really explain the concepts. Mostly gives formulas and expects to memorize. Overemphasis on non-concept material such as units, drawings, certain professor-specific things like solve for variable first, etc.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2013
I loved her! She made the class so much easier than I expected. She is really nice and willing to help students out anytime. She has a German accent, but that didn't affect understanding at all. It actually made her funny and approachable. Homework isn't collected, but as long as you do it, you'll be fine on the quizzes and tests. Her midterms were easy, and she basically held your hand through them. The final was slightly harder, but totally doable. Overall she was a great professor, and considering how many bad physics professors are out there, you should be relieved to have her.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2013
Kat was a nice teacher, always responds quickly to emails, fairly nice, and always willing to help people. She tries to give a quiz every week and the quizzes are usually really straightforward. She is incredible for giving partial credit (that's what saved me on the final) and she is funny too. She breathes really heavily when she laughs and it's hysterical, she is a bit sassy when responding sometimes which is cool. She assigns up to 8 problems of homework each week but doesn't collect them (DO THE HOMEWORK! IT HELPS!), and her iclicker sessions are the best part of the class. It's a bit slow paced, usually we'd spend 15 minutes of explaining clicker questions, 10-15 minutes of lecture slides and then the remainder just setting up an example problem. Her examples in class are way easier than the homework and are more like what she'll have on quizzes. She for some reason has expectations for us (COLLEGE STUDENTS...) that we will actually read the textbook and when we don't finish a problem in class that we will do it at home and have the answer for her next class period (Oh honey...we're students, we dont finish the stuff you're supposed to teach) and there's usually a good awkward silence a week when she waits for an answer and nobody did the problem. She doesn't care much, she loves physics!! BEWARE! Her final is a nightmare! The midterms are fine, and quizzes are good each week, all that's straightforward OR just easy, but her final was the hardest test i've taken at Cal Poly so far and it was like a nightmare i couldn't get away from. Her partial credit is a saving grace! Would recommend her, cause the rest of the physics department isn't as good


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2014
This class was one of the easiest classes Ive taken so far. If you took physics in high school this class will be a breeze. I do however recommend doing the homework because she puts homework problems on the quizzes (even do the hardest ones because she occasionally surprised you with those on the quizzes). First midterm was simple and straightforward, second midterm a little harder, and the final about the same as the second midterm. If you do the homework and pay attention in class you will be fine. Overall a pretty entertaining class, great professor, she is very straightforward and always willing to answer questions. Also weirdly obsessed with cookies so don't let your phone go off in class haha


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Apr 2014
Kat is a great professor, especially considering some of the physics department can be pretty rough around the edges. She is very passionate about both physics and the success of her students. Every day, she is laughing and having a good time to make class better. As for course work: she assigns weekly homework that isn't required, but is recommended by her for a better grade. DO THE HOMEWORK. It will help a lot. Her quizzes consist of 2 conceptual questions and a problem taken straight from the homework with some numbers changed around. There are 5 total and she drops the lowest one. Be well prepared for the quizzes because they can easily make or break your grade. Midterms are definitely fair. The first one was not too bad, with the second one being a bit tougher. As long as you study the homework and the in class problems then you should do well. The final is a pretty long one with a lot of potential info to cram in, but it is absolutely doable. She gives you all of the equations you could ever need for the quizzes and tests which make it easier. You overall grade will be 25% quizzes, 20% x 2 midterms, 25% final, and 10% in class iClicker questions for participation. Definitely go to office hours too, they are very helpful when you get stuck. Overall great professor; great attitude and good at explaining all the material and helping to overcome the student difficulties and misunderstandings.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
May 2016
Learned more in my high school class. Take someone better


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2017
Disastrous experience. Absolutely scarring. Her midterms are ass.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Jun 2017
Kat has been my favorite professor I've taken yet. Her personality is what made her the best. She's an extremely genuine professor that cares for her students beyond an average professor. She was extremely useful in office hours and even stayed an hour past when her office hour time was over to help with a problem. If you do the homework (even if it isn't due) and go to office hours you'll do fine. Overall, just take Kat.

PHYS 211


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Aug 2011
Dr. Kat is one of my favorite professors ever. She's passionate, energetic, funny, and all around awesome! And as a side note she's also cute as a button with her slight german accent, aber achtung! If you don't pay attention or put in the effort for this class you're screwed. But cereally what did you expect? You're taking the intro to RELATIVITY(pioneered by friggin' Einstein) and quantum mechanics(pioneered by ALL of the smartest mofos of the early twentieth century), two scientific fields that the general populace can't make heads or tales of...of course it's intellectually demanding what the fuck did you expect?


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2014
Dr. Kat is an amazing professor! She has a clear passion for physics and for the success of her students. Modern Physics (211) seems like it would be a difficult class to teach since most of the topics were so abstract, but Dr. Kat did a great job at explaining the material from start to finish. She is very approachable at office hours as well. Her tests are incredibly fair, come to class take notes, do the homework, and you'll pass. Put in a little extra work (go to office hours, re-read the textbook, etc.) and you'll get an A. I highly recommend Dr. Kat to any student, though her teaching style may be better suited for upper-division physics classes.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Aug 2014
Dr. Kat is wonderful. She can be a stickler about some things, like showing your work and turning in homework at the beginning of class, but she is also really clear about her expectations. She presents the material very clearly and is great at answering questions. Any questions she couldn't answer immediately she would always get back to us on after a few days and was very supportive of us continuing to ask tough questions. She can be funny sometimes, but that's far from the reason to take her. Take Kat if you want to learn a lot and have a clear, smart instructor. Don't take her if you want to get by easily.

PHYS 323


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2010
I took Kat for optics in fall \'08 and it wasn\'t too bad, the hw/tests were fairly easy and she\'s a really nice person, BUT if you turn in a lab or the hw even A SECOND LATE she\'ll smile and give you a BIG FAT ZERO, so beware...

SCM 559


Sophomore
C
Elective
Nov 2016
I learned that if I were to take up hunting, I should shoot deer, not bears, because a bear will hunt me back if I successfully wound it. Fascinating! I didnt know that the key to production and operations management was so brutally simple!