Gragson, Derek  

Chemistry and Biochemistry

2.53/4.00

91 evaluations


CHEM 121


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2014
Dr. Gragson is absolutely the only teacher I would take for this class. He is extremely fair and straight forward. Every time a student had troubles, had to miss a lab, or didn't finish something he would give them a second chance. He doesn't seem like your best friend right away, but if you're respectful and try, he'll warm up to you. Ever lab there is a quiz on the lab before, never very hard, usually similar problems to the prelab or procedure you do in class. Then those nearly exact quizzes make up the final. Study the quizzes and there won't be any surprises. Read procedures before the lab so you aren't lost, he doesn't always show you how to do it, but you can always ask questions. Super friendly and helpful guy.

CHEM 127


Freshman
N/A
Required (Major)
Aug 2001
I am currently taking chem 127 with Dr.Gragson. In the time that I have spent in his lecture and lab, I have come to know Dr. Gragson as energetic and caring. He is completely open to questions, he is friendly, and patient. He incourages student involvement and asks that we come see him if we are having trouble or score low on an exam. He is well organized, and has an incredibly extensive website that he uses to supplement his class instruction with. On his website, he offers review questions, practice quizzes, practice exams, and answer keys to all information supplied.


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Jun 1999
Dr. Gragson is a great teacher. He's easy to talk to, fun, energetic, and willing to help out. He's very on top of things. Always gives tests back the next lecture day, has web quizzes on line (take the web quizzes!!!) They're really helpful. He's got a great sense of humor. Always in his office to help out. He cares...he spends his Sundays giving a review session for his exams!!! Don't miss out on having him for a teacher.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Nov 1999
Gragson can be a very good instructor--if you do your work. His lectures are always on topic, but are not the most interesting things on earth, although the occasional demo during lecture does add some spice. His tests and quizzes are fair, but being comfortable with computers is a definite must since his quizzes are on-line. This can be a blessing or a curse in that you can immediately see how you did--at the same time, I found that I don't do as well when I don't have a paper in my hands. All his tests have 15 point take home section--they can be a mixed bag too. This is a good way to see if you are prepared or not, since they are generally harder than the test itself. but there is no take home section for the final. His labs are good, and fairly graded, and he's willing to give you a hand if you are stuck. He is pretty good prof over all, but it is better to have some Chem behind you--if you had a really good high school chem background (like AP) or went to a JC, or if you are confident in yourself, you'll do fine--be aware during lecture he likes to show these long methods that are completely confusing to follow--and unncessary since you can usually do the problem a different way in less then half the time.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Dec 1999
Gragson is a great chemistry teacher. He does a great job of presenting information, and he makes lectures fun. (as fun as chemistry lectures can be) Plus, his labs are the best! They are so much fun! I would most definately recommend him for general chemistry.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Major)
Nov 2001
I personally found Professor Gragson to be incredibly hard. I found it impossible to score above a C on any of his exams. He gave long exams with problems that would take too long for the given amount of time. I tried to talk to him about what I can do, however he made me feel somewaht stupid, therefore I never went to see him again. Dr. Gragson doesn't realize that some people struglle in chemistry more than others. I even compared his practice test to another teachers' and found his to be twice as hard. The difficulty of his class prevented me from learning the material thoroughly. His lectures were the same every day, very boring. Do not get Gragson for chem 127 or you may end up in trouble.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2002
Dr. Gragson is a quality professor. His lectures can drag on a bit, but they help, and I found I didn't need to go back through the book too much. He writes his midterms so that they're hard to finish, I would say less than half of my class could finish them in the 50 min period, but the final is written so you have plenty of time. His tests are hard, but he offers a little extra credit and he grades on a curve. I would reccomend you take him, especially for an introductory chem class.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Jan 2002
Gragson was a great professor. His demeanor helped a lot to get you through the class, even when some of the material was dry. He spent a lot of his time outside of class doing review sessions and putting together his lecture slides. He truly cared about his students and their understanding, and even offered an extra credit quiz to help out grades. Gragson is a great professor for General Chemistry.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2002
Dr. Gragson was a lucky find for me. I can't believe more people didn't jump on his section, but I'm glad I took him. His lectures are really well organized (everything is on overhead from a computer) and he generally doesn't test you on anything you don't go over in class. He does go fast though, so pay attention and be sure and familiarize yourself with the concepts. SI helped me (I never actually read the chapters), but defenately regular application of the concepts is KEY. He is REALLY good about outside help. He had pre-test review sessions and was really helpful in office hours. His tests are hard though...you have to go fast to finish. But you get as much time as you want on the final. If you're going into gen chem...take him.


Freshman
Withdrawn
General Ed
Feb 2002
Dr. Gragson doesn't know how to present information clearly so that everyone gets it. He basically left so many people in the dust. If he would have slowed down and presented the material much more slowly, it would have been better. But he makes himself very available for office hours, but he'll make you feel like a moron if you go to him with a problem. his tests are very hard and his online quizes are also difficult. I'd recommend taking another chemistry professor for 127.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2002
He is a great professor because he is clear and very helpful. His office hours are also very useful! He makes chemistry interesting because it is obvious that he is interested as well. He uses slides to teach his course (which you can print off from blackboard). He is also a hard professor too. The class had four midterms and one final and about 5 or 6 homework assignments. His midterms aren't the easiest but they are possible if you are ready and think on your toes. Basically if you want to actually learn about chemistry he is, in my opinion, a great professor but it isn't a walk in the park!


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2003
Jesus you'd think by reading polyratings that Gragson invented chemistry just to be the hardest subject on the planet. I've been reading through the ratings of all the general chemistry professors and there are always people bitching about how hard the class is. See a pattern? Does anyone enroll in chemistry, the hardest science you can take, thinking that it is going to be easy? No wonder all the teachers hate polyratings. If you whiners want easy classes, switch your major to business or better yet, go back to cuesta. Chemistry is hard. Chemistry at Cal Poly is hard. Deal with it or drop. I pay good money to learn from great instructors like Gragson and I would recommend him to anyone.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Major)
Feb 2004
My poor grade was due partly to my lack of chem skills. But I also think that Gragson did a bad job on clarifying what I didn't understand. He thinks that students going into general chemistry are already geniuses and know everything right after he lectures about it! He made me feel like an idiot when I asked for help during office hours when I didn't understand concepts! He also never suggested any other learning method but his own way of doing things. Basically, if you like chem and understand it BEFORE going into his class, then you could survive with him. However if you know you have trouble already, look for another professor.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Feb 2004
Gragson's lectures were somewhat confusing and he often rushed through things quickly. Nevertheless, he made the class managable by giving practice tests, extra credit and endless sample problems to help you learn the concepts. My biggest problem with the guy was his attitude. Can you say asshole? Ask Graggy a question he feels the answer is trivial or obvious and he'll make you feel like the biggest dumbass ever. He would often respond to many questions with a patronizing "yes/no" answer and give no further explanation. Overall, if your a smartass or a physics major, you won't have any problems at all with his class, but if chemistry is tricky for you, I would recommend taking a more supportive teacher.


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Dec 2004
I definitely do not recommend that you take Dr. Gragson for chemistry. Yes, he has office hours like every other professor, but he will make you feel very, very stupid. Its like he expects you to already know the material when you go for help! He assigns these online quizzes that you can take an infinite amount of times but don't procrastinate. Take them ASAP. It's a killer trying to get them all done on time if you do. His lab quizzes are very hard if you don't get to go to at least one lecture for the week first. His lecture exams are also hard and tricky so make sure you know the material inside and out. If you start to fail his class DO NOT give up. If you show him that you want to learn the material and pass the class, he will most likely pass you. Just try to avoid him as much as you can. Take Schoonover instead.


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Dec 2004
Chemistry is hard, no matter what. Dr. Gragson does a good job at presenting the material. He has his power point notes online so you can get them after class and he has office hours that you can always go to. He is also a very nice guy. At the end of the quarter I would go into his office and after getting help I would just talk to him about random things and he was really cool about it. Don't feel intimidated by asking him questions. He actually gets excited when you do. Dr. G also doesn't give up on you. I was failing his class because I slacked off in the beginning and he never gave up on me. I just tried my hardest in the end and he noticed. To me, that is a great professor. Haha, he is also a great sport and lets you throw pies at him (when it's for a fundraiser of course). Take him, the class will be tough but it won't be because of Dr. Gragson.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2004
Lots of people give him a bad rap and say that hes really hard. The class was actually pretty easy. He takes the time to explain everything, and will spend all the time you need with you if you visit his office hours, so i hear. The tests aren't even hard, they just make sure you understand the concepts, not just plug in the equations. If you study, and read the chapters, youll do fine! Bottom line: If chemistry is hard for you, concider someone else, but otherwise, hes a great professor to take.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Feb 2005
I also had Gragson for lab. I think he's a great teacher. I'd recommend him for chem 127. He was very nice at office hours and very helpful in lab also. I liked how he didn't give students the answer to a question right away. Instead, he gives hints until you finaly figure it out on your own. This hands on learning really helped me understand the material. Attending lecture is a MUST and lab too of course. He is very enthusiastic about chemistry and loves his job. He has a very loud voice and good teaching voice.


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2005
I took Gragson first quarter of my freshman year. From what I had heard, any Chem 127 class would be difficult. I thought Gragson did very well at presenting the material. He gives you 3 midterms and the final plus online quizes. He can only teach so much so it's the students job to apply what they had learned to hw that he does not collect. He was always willing to help me in office hours. Best thing to do is to remember to STAY ON TOP OF THINGS. I did the workshop and got tutoring and studying my butt off and i'm proud to get a C+. Chem doesn't come natural to everyone and I couldn't have asked for anyone better than Gragson.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2006
definatley take advantage of office hours with him. he takes the time to make sure that you really understand it. i also had him for lab, and really enjoyed it. he cares about the students and their success. =)


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Aug 2006
Dr. Gragson is a very well informed man and will help anyone who comes into his office hours (even if he has to move into a larger room because there are too many students). His lectures were presented nicely (if you're a fan of powerpoint) and is helpful in lab as well with questions you have.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2008
This professor was always energetic and willing to help those that wanted to succeed in his class. Although the class is not easy, if one puts in the time and effort Gragson will be there to assist one in their pursuit for understanding. His lectures address the topics in great detail. I would suggest going to his office hours if any questions arise. Office hours are a great way to get to know him and get an upper hand on the material presented on the mid-terms and quizes. The mid-terms are a bit hard to take in that the time allowed is pretty short. They are doable though. I would recommend him to anyone taking chemistry as a support or major course.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Feb 2009
Dr. Gragson is a great professor. He really loves teaching and chemistry, and it shows. His notes are great: he uses powerpoints that you can print out before class and take notes on them that way, but even if you don't the notes are still really good. His tests are usually taken exactly from questions given in class and they shouldn't really surprise you. No homework is ever due for lecture. He is just so dedicated to his students. I think this quarter he is teaching 4 lab sections for his 128 class, which takes so much time. He even holds review sessions on Sundays before his midterms. He learns and remembers the names of every single person in his 100 person lectures. He's such a nice person, take him for sure.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2009
Dr. Gragson is an amazing teacher! He's super willing to help you during office hours if there's something that needs clarifying, and he doesn't make you feel stupid. I would go into his office hours and ask him questions about the most basic concepts and he just patiently re-explained it to me. His grading is generous and he wants you to succeed in his class. Great teacher!!!


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2010
Everyone and i mean everyone in my section did not like him. At all. He comes off as someone who cares about his students, with the serious eyebrows and modulated voice, but unless you brown nose him all quarter long you will not like the experience. I did well in the class mostly because I avoided him. He is really overbearing and lab was a weekly trial. My friends had Keeling and he seemed awesome. Hold out until you get the right professor!


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2010
Overbearing. I\'m a good student one of his favorites. He\'s not a nice person!


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Nov 2010
I had Dr. Gragson for 127 and it was set up as a three hour lecture once a week. Well turns out he only lectured for an hour and then we solved problems and took a quiz for the rest of the time. Bottom line is.. 1 hour of chemistry instruction a week is NOT ENOUGH. This class set up was immediately going to effect my grade and Gragson did NOT help at all with the akward time. He caters to his favorite students (who all took ap bio in hs) and is very short toned when you ask him questions. He posts podcasts... YES podcasts on the material he is supposed to be teaching in lecture. I always felt inferior to him whenever i went to office hours and it discouraged me to go back. I struggled tremendously with Gragson as a teacher, i definitely do not recommend him. Maybe if you remember all the material from ap chem... then this might be the prof for you. Not if you are like 95% of college freshman that took a regular chem course.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2010
Chem 127 with Dr. Gragson was a challenging yet rewarding class that required hard work. I really liked the challenge because it allowed me to see that I needed to try extra hard in this class, but also that I could succeed. Dr. Gragson always was willing to help in his office hours. Short at times but only because he wants you to think so that you would learn. He truly wanted his students to succeed....not just his favorites. You just have to make time for office hours(but be prepared....don\'t just expect answers to be given to you), definitely do the Lecture Questions(no real surprises on exams), and keep up on the reading. Taking him again for 128, and definitely recommend him if you actually want to learn chemistry, and not just want an easy A.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2011
Gragson is a good chemistry teacher. Yes, he can be intimidating at first but if you know your stuff enough to ask him legitimate questions, he is extremely helpful. I would definitely take him again.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2011
Gragson was a fairly good instructor. If you know what you are talking about before you go in and ask questions, you will have no problems. He is a very cool guy.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Nov 2011
I was not looking forward to this class because of the things I read on polyratings. However, although he may be tough, I seriously love having him as a teacher. He explains things very clearly in the lecture, always making statements like you will need to know this or not know this for the test. He may go a little fast but as long as you take the time to do the lecture questions as you go along and read the important material he lists in his study guides you should be ready. I know I always got frustrated when I couldn't get something in lab but he always came by and put me at ease. Very very nice! Worth taking him!


Freshman
N/A
General Ed
Nov 2011
If you have some chem background, this class would probably be fine. I had very little and i was lost all quarter. He is extremely unhelpful in office hours and definitely plays favorites. He answers questions with questions and will talk down to you if you still don't get it. I would avoid him unless you're really confident in you chemistry abilities


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2011
Gragson gives lecture questions, study guides, practice exams, and notes online so it is helpful. However, his class moves incredibly fast so it is impossible to keep up. If you're in any way confused, he is no help at all. He just talks down to you instead. Avoid him at all costs!


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Dec 2011
The information for his class is 100% online. He also has online quizzes which are great. Lecture was typically not helpful. Lab was a bit boring and he was frequently out in the hallway talking to other teachers. He seems like an OK guy, just not my kind of teacher. He also is a bit condescending in office hours. I would suggest a different teacher if you are a student that does like to get on a more personal level with a teacher, but still like to be respected as a student. He definitely favors certain students. His first exam is by far the easiest of the three, so be sure to study well. Make sure to watch his video online regarding the titration of an acid/base rxn. Also realize the difference between having 1 acidic hydrogen vs. having 2,3,etc. His second exam had difficult multiple choice questions regarding quantum chemistry that were covered mostly after that exam, which I found to be unfair. He also covered the electromagnetic spectrum but did not test on that subject adequately until the final. Thermochemistry was by far the most challenging topic and was not covered adequately in lab or lecture. If you can pretty much understand final temperature @ equilibrium, mass (in g) of ice that remains and enthalpy... the final/thermochem (2nd midterm) should be OK for you. He tends to give trick questions on lab quizzes too. Tests are also time consuming and stressful. The final is a lot better, the test is about 1.5 midterms and the multiple choice seemed fair (unlike his other exams). Also, try to figure out the stoichiometry questions he gives you the first day in lab. They turn out to be extra credit.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2011
Dr. Gragson was pretty cool. He knew everyone's name by the second week, and he had a website that offered us a ton of extra resources to study from. He is a really good teacher and his tests and quizes are pretty fair. Take him.


Freshman
D
Required (Major)
Feb 2012
I took Gragson freshman year and it was an awful experience. He lectures using power points which he breezes through hardly explaining any of them. He also does very few example problems so if your the type of person who needs to see things written out and explained to understand then good luck. Also when you do get stuck or fall behind and go to him for help he just makes you feel like an idiot. His tests are also incredibly hard and almost seem to be set up for students to fail. DO NOT TAKE HIM IF YOU CAN AVOID IT.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2012
Gragson really tries to get to know you and if you have trouble in his class just go to office hours.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jun 2012
He is a bully. He bullies students, he bullies his colleagues, he bullies his research students. He has an unending number of ways to make people feel awful.


Junior
Withdrawn
General Ed
Feb 2013
AVOID GRAGSON AT ALL COSTS!!! He is honestly a bad teacher. Not only is he rude and condescending he doesn't help the student unless they jump through his hoops. The prelabs turned in every week aren't even lectured on until after there already turned in which is useless to the student and hurts the students grade. Also he lectures and quizes on simple material then turns around and test on much harder material. Over all he is a terrible teacher. AVOID GRAGSON AT ALL COSTS!!! I'm a 3rd year bio major and I failed 127 with him and Aced it with another professor.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2013
Dr. Gragson is really enthusiastic about chemistry. Sometimes I would get confused in lecture, but usually only when I hadn't read before class. The pre-labs can be difficult, but he makes them hard on purpose because he wants us to think and work together. I did really poorly on a lot of the lecture quizzes not because they were unfair but because I wasn't adequately prepared. It's not enough just to read the book and go to lecture. You really have to work through a bunch of practice problems. Luckily, Dr. Gragson provides practice problems ("lecture questions") that are similar to those of his exams and quizzes. He provides reallly helpful study guides for each chapter along with suggested book problems. Dr. Gragson records his lectures, puts the corresponding powerpoints online, and has recorded video tutorials posted on his website to use as additional learning tools. He really does want everyone to succeed and will help you if you ask for help! Dr. Gragson is understanding and accommodates for personal struggles. He is a good professor and I would take him again.


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2013
he has it in his head that each student is mentally inferior to the god that he thinks he is. honestly, this guy is blatantly rude when you ask the simplest questions. wait if you can to take another professor.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Jun 2013
Gragson is da MAN. Every day in class he just made me smile and bestowed upon me information about the wonderful world of chemistry. Anyone on here talking shit about Gragson should go and rethink what they are doing with their lives, for they are ALL WRONG. You need to get on that Gragson Swag. #GSwag OUT


Freshman
N/A
General Ed
Jun 2013
Gragson is a cool guy. GO TO OFFICE HOURS. Lecture and lab are hard. Work on labs with your partner afterwards you submit them as one! This class is just hard over all. Really study and use the material he posts on his website. You don't know how good you have it until you move on in the chem series. Other professors do not put in the time to prepare the worksheets he has. I recommend a study session/workshop to help review material. But you need to review after each lecture and really work on putting this hard information into long term memory to do well on his exams. This subject area is difficult, but put in the work, ask him questions and you'll do alright.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Major)
Jul 2013
I saw students come out of his office crying. As a freshman my very first quarter I was pretty nervous and he had no sympathy. His lectures aren't too bad but if you're a student who intends on spending time in office hours, don't bother. He is not a nice man.


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Aug 2013
This guy isn't helpful in office hours. he is snarky and isn't good with students who are struggling. the midterms weren't bad, but the weekly quizes were sometimes impossible and incredibly stressful. I didn't learn anything! because lecture was once a week on a friday morning. re taking this class but already passed chem 128 easily. pick some one else unless your are a chem wiz, or a chem major


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Nov 2013
I don't understand why everyone is saying that Gragson is extremely rude, I found him to be fine during office hours and in class. As long as you are willing to ask questions when you don't understand something, he is very helpful. No, it is not an easy A but his quizzes and tests are fair and reasonable, and he is very clear with his expectations.


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Dec 2013
He makes the material in class very clear, but he's an incredible smart ass. I found myself liking his class less and less as the quarter went by. His tests are fair, but are hard in the sense that a multiple choice question is worth 3.3 pts, so mess up and you just screwed yourself 3.3x over. Doesn't really do partial credit either. It's a passable class, but office hours are a complete waste of your time and self esteem.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
May 2014
Gragson is an amazing professor! He's very personable and helpful to those who CARE about the class. If you show up everyday, ask questions, and turn in all your work you will have a good experience with Gragson. His teaching style is very interactive (demonstrations in class) and he really makes use of the technology provided in Baker (computers at each cluster and notes projected on every screen). He makes it really easy to take notes in class--a great tool for studying. He gives an equal number of open notebook quizzes (SUPER easy) and closed notebook quizzes (can be difficult) and 2 midterms. Every lab had a prelab (due before the lab) and a lab report. Other than that, there is no homework--Gragson isn't one for busy work. I'll admit, the class is hard and Gragson expects a lot out of his students, but ultimately you WILL learn from him if you put in the effort. I ended up with an A in the class so it IS possible!


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Dec 2014
Genuinely a good professor. Just do the lecture questions and actually study for the exams and finals.


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Dec 2014
Dr.Gragson is a very tough professor. He expects a lot out of his students. There are weekly summary quizzes which are difficult. The midterms are difficult. The final is difficult. You get the point. Dr. Gragson is very knowledgeable about chemistry. His office hours are very helpful. He is a pretty nice guy but can be intimidating at first. You can't be afraid to ask questions. If you are good at chemistry and have a great work ethic don't be afraid to take him. However if you struggle in chem, I would go with someone else. You have to put in lots of effort to be successful in this class.

CHEM 128


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Jul 1999
Instructor seems nice enough but I found him intimidating on more than one occasion. I found him to be way too hard.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Aug 1999
Nice enough, kinda dopey. Pretty good overall.


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Jun 2002
I am a physics major and am only required to take 2 quarters of chem. I honestly wish I had taken a different teacher for 128. Nothing personal against Dr. Gragson, but I am not a chem major and don't really care about chem much and his class was a little too tough for me. If you are not a chem or biochem major I wouldn't really recommend him, but if you are then you will learn a lot. He is really nice guy and very charismatic, but tests and quizzes are really really tough. On the plus side, he does very cool experiments in class with a lot of fire and explosions (he doesn't put you to sleep). If you like a challenge take Gragson. I managed to pass and at least I am finally done with the dreaded 8am chem lab!


Junior
C
Required (Major)
Feb 2003
Overall I thought Gragson was ok, but the problem with him is that he leaves the majority of his students in the dust, he assumes we eat,breath and smell chemistry the entire day!!! What was worse was to see how he plays favoritism, and he makes it so obvious on the grading that it would discourage any one from trying harder, since it would NOT make a difference at the end. I would NOT recommend him to anyone, unless you already know him and he likes you..then you can do good in his classes.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
Gragson is one of the hardest chem professors out there. He will never give you a problem on a test that is exactly like one worked in class but with different numbers. But he is one of the best professors out there as well. He moves a little quickly at times, but ask him to clarify and he'll slow down. He likes to use powerpoint slides, and will post them on his website so you can compare them to your notes after class, and sometimes even print them out before class. He is by no means an easy A, or even an easy C, but he is quite fair. Make sure you understand the concepts behind a problem and how to think through it, because memorizing how to do the sample problems in the book won't help you. I would highly recommend him to anyone who wants to really learn the material. But if you're only there as an elective, he's probably not the best for you.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2004
He is a good teacher but he tests very hard. The problems on the test are rarely like any of the other problems you've done before. He needs to realize that not every one in his classes are prospective chem majors that want to devote their entire lives to chemistry. cliffs: teaches well tests hard


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Oct 2005
Dr. Gragson is one of the best professors at Poly. Ya, his class is difficult, but so is any other chemistry course you'll ever take. If you take the time to do the homework and really put in the effort, you should be fine. And hey! You actually LEARN by having to work that hard! Dr. G is not only a great professor, but a great person. Go to his office hours and get to know him, kuz deep down he's just a big, ol' teddy bear!


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2006
I don't know what people are talking about. I took Chem 127 with Seth Bush, worked hard, understood material well, and got an A (great professor). Gragson is a whole differently story. Often, I could learn better from reading the book rather than listening to his lectures. He chooses off the wall topics to put on midterms and the final tries to be funny but isn't. Office hours you say? He makes you feels stupid and assumes you already know every question your asking. I wouldn't recommend him. If you do take him, make sure to take full advantage of Lecture Questions, they help A LOT.


Freshman
A
Elective
Mar 2009
Obviously I don't know how Dr. Gragson is for advanced chem classes, but for 128 he was awesome!! His tests and quizzes were mostly out of material covered in lecture so there are very few surprises, not so say it is easy however. He posts practice quizzes and exams as well as study guides and lecture study guides. If you have trouble, go to office hours, he was always super helpful and I wish I had gone more to clarify things. His lab is cool because he ties in lecture and lab very well, which I did not experience with my 127 professors. Dr. Gragson wants his students to do well, all of them, not just chem majors, and he holds review sessions ON HIS OWN TIME before each exam and the final, usually on a weekend morning at 9 or 10. To do well: 1. Go to class! 2. Do the reading. 3. Do the lecture problems and go to office hours for help with once you don't understand. 4. Take all the practice quizzes and exams and make sure you can do EVERYTHING on them a few days before you take them. Dr. Gragson is really a stand up guy, great professor, and you will love taking his class, if you can get into his section.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Jun 2009
Not a bad professor although he is a little abrupt at times. If you have a choice, take Keeling or Schoonover instead although, if your stuck, Gragson is a quality teacher.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Apr 2010
Gragson is an awesome teacher, and I don\'t know why anyone doesn\'t like him. Ok, if you want to be spoon fed the material, you probably shouldn;t be at Cal Poly. To be fair, Gragson does have a short tone when you ask him questions at first, but thats just because he wants you to ask an educated question. Even if you tell him you don\'t understand the material at all he will start from the beginning right there and try to teach you. Just be assertive in asking him questions. Chem 128 is also a really hard class that requires lots of effort on your part. Even if you don\'t work super hard, Gragson doesn\'t make you feel dumb at all. He does joke around a lot in lab and is really helpful. Just don\'t get offended by his one-on-one teaching. He is really helpful, you just have to keep trying. He posts a practice quiz and practice midterms online for every quiz and exam. DO LECTURE QUESTIONS!!! It\'s easiest way to pass. Print them off and take them to office hour. Gragson will help you out. Good luck!


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
May 2010
I really enjoyed taking Gragson. His tests are really tough, but he\'s a really good teacher, so it makes up for it. If you want to learn chem and not worry about getting really good grades, take Gragson. He\'s the best chem teacher I\'ve had so far, and he explains things really well. Do the reading.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2011
Chemistry is hard. As a former AP Chem student who got a 5 on the AP exam, I skipped 127 and took 128, but the material in 128 is nothing new for me. From my point of view, the class went PAINFULLY slow, and it took everything to wake me up to drag my sorry butt to my 8 am class where I could have taught the lectures myself. However, this is probably a good sign, meaning that Gragson is doing everything he can to help you understand the material. He's a very friendly guy, has a great teaching style, and is organized and knows his stuff. I read from some other ratings that people think he makes you feel stupid? Perhaps standing next to someone who fully understands such things as chemistry makes you feel stupid. I didn't get that vibe from Gragson at all. During lab he would always be out in the hallway saying hi to basically everyone, so he's obviously very well known and liked by everyone in the department. He grades very fairly, the work load is less than what I'm used to (but then again my AP teacher was an absolute Nazi...), and the tests are a fair representation of the material taught in class, no surprises.


Senior
B
Elective
Feb 2011
Dr Gragson is a complete failure as a college professor, someone who cares about students and convey key illustrative elements of a day's lecture. Key is a shadow of Dr Schnoover, who was crazy and wild, but knew how to reach students. Gragson -- smart but not the best teacher!


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Feb 2011
Gragson is a great professor- but not for those who want an easy A. I studied like crazy for the tests and got a 75 and an 85 (still have to take the other mdtrm and final). Although Gragson is a hard teacher, he is a GOOD teacher- makes things very clear and is good about answering questions effectively. Do not miss class (EVER) and make yourself go to lab (boring experiments). I learned more from Dr. Gragson than I did from my chem 127 prof. I'm not taking him for 129 because I've heard Keeling is good, but I would recommend Gragson to everyone! Stick with him for the whole series though because he has his own way of teaching and you might find yourself thinking "that's not how my teacher did it". But its Gragson- his way IS ALWAYS the right way.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Major)
Feb 2011
not my kinda guy. if you ask genuine questions that your not sure about that he doesnt think are relevant or difficult he talks down to you and questions your intelligence. one of those guys that likes kids that hes had in the past and definitely has his favorites. i thought he was very weird and unhelpful. With that said for a chem class it was fairly straight forward. just hate him is all.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2011
Gragson really knows what he's talking about and is a nice guy, but has trouble sometimes explaining the concepts. It wouldn't be a big deal if the book didn't suck and the concepts weren't so abstract, but those are the case so this class is confusing and more difficult than it should be. The quizzes he posts online are essentially point filler, but are practically impossible. You can retake them until you get an A, but expect to take them 5+ times. I can't say how many times I've taken a quiz that I thought I got a 100% on only to get a 40%. Tests are also very very difficult. His conceptual questions are super hard. The only reason he had averages in the 70s was that he adjusted most of the test scores (but it's not usually graded on a curve, he just has 5 random ec points) He also is bad at answering questions. Most times an answer is just a point at the board and a shrug before returning to the lecture. This isn't really fair when the concepts are hard. One girl asked a lot of questions over the course of the class and he eventually got annoyed and stopped answering her, so if you get confused easily, you might be better off with Bush. He really is a nice guy and he knows his material, but he needs to write easier test questions and answer questions better


Sophomore
B
Elective
Mar 2011
I keep expecting the questions on the midterms to be difficult, but they are very simple! They are easy to get tripped up on though. You have to remember all the "but's", "what if's", and "technically...'s". I hope that makes sense. Just be careful, my recommendation is to SECOND GUESS YOURSELF! Make sure that the easy answer doesn't mean it's the wrong answer. But sometimes, they're just that freakin easy. So maybe don't second guess yourself... idk. Just be careful. I recommend Dr. Gragson- he is SUCH a good teacher, very easy to follow, and knows everything about chemistry!


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Feb 2012
To anyone who said Dr.G was not a good professor I want to know what class you attended. This is my second quarter having him as a professor and even though he may seem a little intimidating at first he is a wonderful professor. He is super super helpful and he has a sense of humor. Give him the chance to get to know you and you will see he has a genuine interest in his students. His class is not easy and i think his class is slightly harder than other 128 classes but he is a much better professor ad he makes up for it. LISTEN TO ME... if you are a freshmen and have to take this gen chem series TAKE GRAGSON for all three quarters! he is good!


Junior
C
Required (Support)
Nov 2012
I LOVE GRAGSON, i want his babies.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Feb 2014
This class is really frustrating. The quizzes often include information that hasn't even been mentioned in class yet, and some of the activity quizzes (based on lab info that you should have recorded in your lab notebook) asked questions from labs we hadn't completed yet. He is very not approachable, and talks down to those brave souls who ask for clarification. I asked a question once. I have never had a teacher/professor speak to me that way. Last time I asked a question.


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Mar 2014
Gragson is a hard professor. But, compared to a new Chem professor, I definitely learned a lot. He doesn't go easy on you or give you all the answers, he wants you to figure it out for yourself. It can be frustrating especially if you're used to getting better grades, but if you go to office hours and show effort he'll notice and make an effort to help you out. Some of his test questions seem impossible but really just require you to think about the relationships among different variables. He also usually gives two quizzes weekly, one summary quiz and one you can use your notebook for. So make SURE you copy all labs and in class demonstrations into your notebook. Although I wish I got a better grade, (getting a C+), I'm happy I took this class.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2014
Don't do it. He's not a nice guy and makes you feel really bad about yourself. I tried so hard in his class. I spent so many hours trying to understand the material, and couldn't walk away with more than a B. He's very repetitive during lecture (not in a good way) and loves to quiz you on material that he hasn't lectured on during class because he wants to make sure you're "reading the book". I don't know about you, but I cannot learn anything from that stupid, boring textbook. I always did the reading but can't fully understand it until its explained. He doesn't care.


Sophomore
D
Required (Support)
Aug 2014
This guy expects WAY TOO MUCH. Seriously. This is a gen chem class. Relax. Oh, and he's scary. Really really really scary. I don't respond well to intimidation, so I naturally shut down in this class. Yikes. His tests are also SO HARD. I want to cry thinking about this class. AVOID.

CHEM 129


Junior
C
Required (Major)
Mar 2005
I would encourage anyone ready to slam Gragson for being difficult to look at the polyratings for every chem prof who teaches 127,8,9 series: Schoonover (hard), Keeling (hard), Retsek (hard), Imoos (hard). There are two "easy" profs who teach these classes: Endres, who has the reputation of being the worst general chem professor of all time, whose students get slaughtered when they move on to other teachers; and Maxwell, who seems universally loved as a very nice man and enthusiastic proffessor, but dumbs down the material too low to be of any use to anyone except animal science and kinesiology majors. (Nearly everyone I know who took Maxwell for 129 has got whacked in o-chem). The moral of this story is that CHEMISTRY IS NOT EASY. Repeat: CHEMISTRY IS NOT EASY. If you expect it to be, you are an idiot. Gragson does a wonderful job in lecture and lab, but doesn't tolerate whiners. I like that. Students, including me on occasion, sometimes need a swift kick in the ass for being lazy or not using our brain. I ultimately know that his number one goal is my success in this course and he works hard at his job. For me. It is high time for Poly students to QUIT BITCHING so much about Gragson/Keeling/Schoonover being so so so difficult and get off your ass, read the damn book or do the damn problems and START ACTING LIKE ADULTS.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2006
Gragson is pretty awesome. He is really helpful in class and before he moves on to a new chapter he reviews over anything you need on the one that was just finished. There is suggested problems which you should do and he also provides "workbooks" which have a lot of problems that are helpful. His tests are fair but the multiple choice are worth 4 points each so if you dont do well on the MC, don't expect to do great on the whole test (even if you dont miss any on the free response). So all in all, Gragson is pretty much one of the best chem teachers at poly so take him if you can!


Junior
N/A
Required (Support)
Jun 2006
Gragson is not a nice person. everytime I asked him question he made me feel stupid and he expects you to know the answer. Hello ass whole if I knew the answer I would not be asking you for help! Lab was great I thought he was a good lab teacher but as a lecturer he sucks. He wasn't a hard grader and lab and was fair although in lab he was still unapproachable not only by being mean but he was never in the classroom to answer questions. His office hours I am sure would be helpful if he actually answered the question he was asked instead of talking around it and then telling you to figure it out. DO NOT take this guy if you acutally need help with learning chem because he will not care and will expect you to figure it out on your own.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Jun 2006
I hope everyone reading this site takes illiterate postings like the one below with a grain of salt. I mean, the guy can't even spell "asshole" correctly. If you go into a professor's office expecting him to be just an answer book for you to peruse, then YOU are the asshole and probably shouldn't even be in college. Timid rabbits like Johnny Crybaby represent one of Cal Poly's negative sides -- whiny spoiled children who were never prodded to think for themselves in high school. Gragson is a solid investment in your college education.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Jun 2009
Dr. Gragson is the best chemistry teacher I have ever had (i've also had Keeling, Immoos, and Pizzini). He is absolutely the best at presenting the material, and he gets on you if you aren't studying enough to make you study and pull decent grades. He posts everything you need on his website. The only problem I had in this class is that the material is hard so I got a C. Gragson was the best!


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Jun 2012
Dr. Gragson is an amazing instructor. He is incredibly knowledgeable and presented the information in a way that helped me and I think the majority of the class understand. He has study guides for the quizzes and so many practice problems readily available so that people know exactly what they are going to be tested on. Before our 2nd midterm (class was 2 midterms and a final) he had to cancel office hours 1 day and instead held a 3 hour seminar study session where he went over the whole exam. I even showed up at the wrong time slot for the final and he let me take it in his office. He's an awesome person and really enthusiastic. The tests are hard, but if you put in the time to study and work hard at it then it is extremely rewarding. TAKE THIS PROFESSOR


Freshman
F
Required (Major)
Jun 2012
I agree with the claims that Dr. Gragson is a bully. He does not recognize student's difficulties whatsoever: I studied for hours on end for every quiz/test, and when I still failed all he told me was that there was no way I had studied at all. His final was relatively fair, yet the two midterms were near impossible for me and I always ran out of time. Do not take Gragson!


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
May 2013
Gragson was a decent professor, he seemed very enthusiastic about chemistry and he always hints at what's going to be on the quizzes and midterms. However, I did feel that his quizzes were a bit too long given the time he gave us. He does provide a lot of practice problem after each lecture, but he did not provide practice midterms. Sometimes his lectures felt unorganized but he keeps his polylearn site with a lot of follow up/supplemental material. He also tends to answer student's questions like they were stupid, so I can see why some people didn't like him.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2014
Dr. Gragson may come off as intimidating, but he is one of the best professors I have had at Poly. His lectures/labs are definitely harder than other professors, but if you plan to take Organic Chemistry after Chem 129, he prepares you the best. I had a huge advantage in my Organic Chemistry class over other students because Dr. Gragson had given me such a great foundation of the concepts. He is extremely helpful in office hours and wants his students to succeed. Do not expect his class to be easy; it takes a lot of work and time to do well. However, if you put in the effort in 129, the Organic Chemistry series is a lot easier.

CHEM 252


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Jun 2006
This man is a great teacher! He actually cares about each of his students. On top of that, he presents the material in such a way that you will actually be able to understand it. And, if you don't, he will work with you until you do. He is the kind of teacher you hope for in college

CHEM 351


Senior
C
Required (Major)
Feb 2007
There were always take-home portions of the tests which was nice because you could get help from the internet then. He held Sunday morning review sessions before the exams. The exams sucked and he played favorites


Junior
C
Required (Major)
Apr 2007
Dr. Gragson is very knowledgable in the subject of chemistry though I don't feel that he is capable of teaching it very well. I think that he doesn't understand that not all students know as much as he does. Additionally, he is not very helpful in office hours and answers questions with more questions. However, he is very knowledgable and does know his stuff.


Senior
C
Required (Major)
Jan 2010
Good guy, but not the best instructor. He would regularly write equations wrong on the board and then say it was our responsibility to catch his mistakes and the lectures were disorganized. He cares about his students and he tries to clarify, but the course was very math heavy and, if you don\'t think in abstract math well, he didn\'t have any way to clarify it for you. He knows his stuff, but he doesn\'t know how to teach well yet.

CHEM 354


Graduate Student
B
Required (Major)
Sep 2006
Cool teacher. Rough lab. Monolayers rule.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Apr 2007
I feel that Dr. Gragson's strength is in lab. He is much more approachable and helpful than in lecture. The only annoyance is that he would constantly tell us that certain things weren't required only to tell us the day it was due that of course we needed to include it.

CHEM 446


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Jan 2002
I had him for Surface Chemistry as a support elective. There was weekly homework that I spent a lot of time on and regularly visited office hours for. His exams were long and similar to homework but with a twist or additional concepts. They tended to be rather difficult. There were also some other journal and paper assignments. That said I to be a good lecturer and even better in office hours. I would take him again.

SS 519


Graduate Student
A
Elective
Nov 2016
Prof cried today.... What a weirdo hahahah get a grip of your life.