Alaniz, Ryan  

Social Sciences

3.40/4.00

40 evaluations


SOC 110


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Mar 2012
Day 1: Put a trash can over his head and ran into a table ... It's my first day and he seems very nice and informed about the topic. He just got his doctorate 5 days ago and he is also a new professor. He does not post his slides online, which is one con. He does however, seem like a very genuine and nice guy


Freshman
B
General Ed
Mar 2012
This class was ridiculous. Based off of the first few days I thought it would be kind of interesting, but it ended up being a joke. Sociology in general is sketchy and it reflected in the class. First off, all of Alaniz's lectures lacked info that was actually going to be on the test, and they were 2 hours long. All the info was from the textbook, so by the end of the quarter I had hardly any class notes. Second, most of the questions on the exams didn't have a clear answer or had multiple answers that seemed correct. Going over the exams in class, he had to explain every answer and everyone was arguing with him over them. He said he would try to make the next exam more straight forward but it was the same. Basically, this class and the way Alaniz presented the material felt juvenile. I definitely don’t recommend this class.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Apr 2012
Professor Alaniz has been my favorite professor so far at Cal Poly. Not only is he a GREAT teacher, he is a nice guy as well. His class was always entertaining, and his assignments/exams were not that difficult, especially if you reviewed your notes and textbook. I looked forward to this class, even at 7 in the morning. I definitely recommend this class and professor.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
May 2012
He is a really good teacher if you try in his class and do all the homework. also doing all the reading helps very much.


Junior
A
General Ed
Dec 2013
Everyone should take this class. Period. It will change your life, it did for me. Ryan is one of the best teachers I've ever had at Cal Poly, and this class was one of the best, if not the best class I have ever taken. Will change you:)


Junior
A
General Ed
Dec 2013
Dr. Alaniz is one of the most genuine professors I have had at Cal Poly. With that being said, he is not effective in writing tests that represents the material covered in class and that he stresses to be important. I understand that sociology itself (especially intro to sociology) can be rather ambiguous however, I feel as if the material that we were expected to know was not clearly defined. The course would cover large topics such as "poverty" and "inequality" but then on the exams there would be random statistics of poverty that we might have taken 5-10 min. to cover. Personally I did not resonate with how the exams were set up - I'm sure there were many other students that would disagree but I figured I should voice my opinion. The material in the course is relevant to us and I enjoyed learning about the topics in SOC 110


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2013
I seriously cannot say enough good things about Alaniz! He managed to make this class interesting and informative - which is saying a lot, because my section was from 7 am to 9 am twice a week. The material was very easy to understand and he made lectures interesting with activities and relevant videos and movie clips. There were a few short, 5 point papers that you had to write throughout the quarter, which helped boost your grade. He also would reward those of us who woke up for his class by taking attendance - he's very understanding. The tests are not hard at all as long as you go to class and at least skim, if not read, the textbook. Ryan is an amazing professor who cares about you as a student also. He always addressed us as "future leaders of the world" and emphasized the power that we have as individuals. All in all, such an awesome professor who is passionate about his work and is always ready to help us as students, both academically and personally. Maybe I'm biased because I got a good grade and am a sociology major, but I'm definitely taking any class he teaches in the future if possible!


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Feb 2015
If you want an easy A, take this class! Lots of extra credit opportunities, easy exams, easy/minimal assignments, attendance optional, and most importantly Alaniz is awesome, funny, passionate, and extremely approachable. I highly recommend Alaniz and honestly don't understand why his polyrating isn't closer to 3.8-4.0!


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Feb 2015
Before today, I would have given Dr. Alaniz a really poor polyrating. For the whole quarter, I could not step outside of my engineering head to understand the role this class would play in my life. I thought Alaniz was full of shit and I was really offended when he made jokes about suicide, especially because it is something that hits close to home. But today in class, he shared a little bit about his family and their struggles. He finished by telling the class that his door is always open if we need to talk through something. Today I realized that Dr. Alaniz isn't trying to promote some liberal agenda. He is human. I realized that he makes jokes to cope with some of the darker parts of society and that we all cope in our own ways. Alaniz is a kind man who has the students' best interests at heart. This class showed me that life is best lived in the present. It's not about making everyone happy all the time, it's about embracing our differences and deciding for ourselves what we will and will not stand for. Please take Dr. Alaniz's class and leave your pride in the hallway. I promise you'll get so much more out of it than you could ever imagine.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Mar 2015
Dr. Alaniz is not only an amazing professor but an amazing person. While he may be liberal I never once felt like he was imposing his views on his students. This class really made me think critically about the things that I take for granted and inspired me to not just accept what society defines as "normal." Dr. Alaniz's tests are heavily lecture based and are not unreasonable hard. He also offers extra credit opportunities which allowed me to earn 8 extra percentage points in his overall class! If you're looking for an interesting GE that's not too hard, take this class with Dr. Alaniz! It is definitely worth it.


Junior
A
General Ed
Sep 2015
Alaniz comes off as someone who wants social change and justice. Yes, he does encourage students to think about ideas for themselves, sort of... The new concepts and ideals he puts forward are exciting to students and blind them to the reality of the person teaching the course. Outside of the class room, I've heard him talk about female students behind their backs about how obnoxious, bitchy, or irrational they are. Sometimes he directly quotes feedback given to him by these students in private. He spoke of these "annoying" students to another male student taking the same course as the students he spoke of. It's unprofessional and sexist behavior that maintains all of the systems in place social justice seeks to challenge. It's probably for the best students are blindsided by the new material and not being introduced to how Alaniz really feels about what they're saying. He's kind of a disappointing person to anyone actually committed to social justice for more than a quarter. If you truly feel like pretending to be homeless for a week because you're drowning in enough wealth and privilege to never have experienced deep hardship before college rocked your world, then you probably wrote a supportive review of Alaniz. Congratulations? The conservative students can take comfort in knowing Alaniz supports maintaining the same power structure they do. It's a fun course if you don't think deeply about other people and have no understanding of social justice beforehand. If you're at the forefront of the movement and want to change how things really operate, this professor really can't offer you anything. It's meant to offer a couple of stories and perspectives for people to reminisce about when they have kids in college. But by all means everyone, continue to pretend like Alaniz is committed to social justice. Kind of the same way Bartoleme De Las Casas was committed to treating the Indigenous People well. O wait, he just wanted to replace their labor with slaves labor from Africa. Careful how often you speak up in class ladies, this professor talking about challenging the patriarchy kind of totally supports it and probably thinks you're a bitch... Just make sure to do the readings and think along the same lines as the professor and you'll get an A. Typical college course eh?


Freshman
A
General Ed
Oct 2015
I loved having Dr. Alaniz. He made all of our topics interesting, and his class lived up to the "Learn by Doing" motto in that we did multiple activities in downtown SLO and in class that kept the class engaging. He seems to love teaching, and he seems to really care about his students. He told us at the beginning of the quarter that he wanted us all to get As, and, while I don't think that happened, his grading was very lenient, and the workload wasn't bad at all.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Dec 2015
This class is the ideal GE! Dr. Alaniz is generous, insightful and most importantly he wants his students to succeed. The lectures go by quickly because they are entertaining and well thought out. I guarantee this class will change the way you look at society, social interaction and academia. Your grade is made up of 4 short essays, a midterm, and final. The essays are graded very leniently and can be completed the night before they are due. The midterm and final are traditional multiple choice and true/false exams. The information for the exams come directly from the lecture (~70%) and the book/context reader (~30%). Exams are very manageable and fair, not to mention he curves the exams by a few points. On top of the curve, he offers up to 7% points of EASY extra credit points by doing small writing assignments throughout the quarter. Dr. Alaniz makes getting an A+ in this class VERY doable. The only downside to this class is that you must attend class to get notes because he doesn’t post the slides on Polylearn. TIPS FOR GETTING A GOOD GRADE: do the extra credit (that is a no brainer), allow yourself 2-3 days to study for the exams, study ALL of your notes not just what's on the study guide, and make sure read ALL the context reader sections!


Freshman
B
General Ed
Dec 2015
Dr. Alaniz's lectures were fairly interesting, although he should probably take a class on how to make effective power points because he would constantly click out of it onto youtube videos and we would have to wait for the ad to play and then the video to load and it was just terrible... Anyways, he wasn't a boring speaker, but I disliked his class because he made it too "engage the students." Instead of actually including the textbook readings or whatever he would just ask the opinions of the students. For the most part, I don't care about the opinions of my classmates. His tests were combinations of his lecture slides and his readings. My advice? Do the Intro to Sociology readings, because they will show up on the text, but just skim the contexts reader and note the general argument because there will only be general questions about them. Take notes on his lectures (and go to class!) because he doesn't post the lecture notes. And don't forget any of his assignments! There's only 5 so if you miss one you're screwed!


Freshman
A
General Ed
Dec 2015
Alaniz is amazing. He made me more aware of social issues and lead me to consider a minor in sociology. I highly recommend him for everyone!


Freshman
A
General Ed
Dec 2015
I loved this class! As long as you read BOTH books a few days before the test and do all of the assignments, you should get an A. He's a really nice guy and makes the class really fun and interesting


Freshman
A
General Ed
Jan 2016
I can not emphasize how much I LOVED this class and Dr. Alaniz. I wish everyone had the opportunity to take this class because it opened up my mind to new perspectives and issues that are important and relevant to everyone. Dr. Alaniz is a great professor and person. He made the material presented super interesting, relevant, and I looked forward to going to class. On top of that, he is a virtuous person and it's evident he cares for the subject he's teaching. His passion easily rubs off on people in the class. I could ramble on forever about how much I loved the class and Dr. Alaniz but to make things short, it's an easy A if you do the readings and listen and attend all of his lectures. The class basically consists of 4 very short essays, a midterm, a final, and he gives you an extra credit opportunity. If you go into his office hours, he's super nice and helpful. I really didn't spend an excessive amount of time on this class and in the end, you get the grade you deserve.


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Oct 2016
he is by far one of the worst instructors at cal poly. his lectures are fun and all but when it comes time of the test theres nothing you can do to prepare for his horribly written questions that seemed to have multiple right answers. I am a student with a 3.92 gpa, which will now go down very much due to his class, so if you are thinking of taking this class for an easy grade, don't be fooled by his pollinating gpa because this course is horrible. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS


Freshman
A
General Ed
Dec 2016
I loved this class. However, this really isn't the type of class where you focus on the grade, but the content. That was a hard realization for me, because GPA is important to me, as it is to everyone else. Anyways, this class was a bit boring at first and hard to wake up at 7 am for, although I'm glad I kept showing up because towards the end it gets so interesting and inspiring. In regards to the content, as long as you keep showing up you can get an A. Most likely, you'll do poorly on the midterm, I got a 70% on mine. After that, I really put in work on the papers and did the readings, but studied very little for the final because I got the the point of knowing the information from the homework and lectures, so I ended up with an A. You can tell Dr. Alaniz is passionate about his profession, and I think that's a valuable quality for a teacher. His grading is a bit unclear, and his office hours are usually a bit hectic, but this course is doable and the work load is very manageable.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Dec 2016
Dr. Alaniz is one of the most caring and nice professors I've had at cal poly. He is against "teaching the test", so his tests are very difficult because a lot of what you talk about in class doesn't show up on the exams. You have to do the readings and you have to pay attention to the videos/stories he shows and tells in class. He really does an amazing job at opening your eyes to different problems in society and ways you can be agents of social change. The class is really easy because although the tests are challenging, the 4 papers you have to write are extremely easy and he gives 11 points of extra credit (the class is only out of 100 points). Take alaniz not just because the class is easy, but because you want to be enriched. He is so approachable and has the biggest heart.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Jan 2017
Dr Alaniz is an incredible Professor. Even with such a large amount of students in the class, he was able to make it interesting and engaging. In his syllabus he stresses that he tries not to bombard you with too much reading. I personally found that there was quite a bit of reading necessary for the class. The chapters are quite lengthy and full of lots of information, but if you take them in small intervals, you will find that the information is really interesting. Make sure to do all of the reading because while his lectures do correlate with the textbook, you will be tested on things that are in the book that he did not go over. His exams are definitely hard, but Dr Alaniz really cares about his students and will give you multiple opportunities for extra credit and they will REALLY help your grade. So do them.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2017
Alaniz is a great professor! I highly recommend taking him! As long as you show up to class then you will get a B easily!


Freshman
A
General Ed
Feb 2017
Alaniz goes through material quickly, but also provides tons of examples, including many fun videos each day. Sociology is a hard thing to talk about and can get you down at times, but Alaniz does a great job keeping a good attitude. He is biased towards the liberal side of arguments (which I agreed with/enjoyed, but others may not like listening to twice a week). The material was deep, but both tests were multiple choice and fairly easy. Tests are mostly based off of textbook readings--but primarily definitions and things you can just skim to find.

SOC 111


Sophomore
B
Elective
Dec 2014
As a business major who took this class for the hell of it, I went in not expecting much. This class completely changed how I look at life. Yes, he is more liberal than some people would like, but Ryan is a passionate, understanding professor who knows how to connect and get to students beyond surface level. I fall asleep in every other lecture but this one. Truly one of the best teachers I've had at Cal Poly. As long as you eventually do the readings (notice I said eventually), the midterm and final are pretty simple. Take this class both because it's relatively easy and because you'll become a better person even if you do fail it.


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
Dec 2014
Take this class with Alaniz if you enjoy being force-fed liberal propaganda with no statistical or factual backing. Alaniz has a habit of using his "passion" as a substitute for real knowledge, and frequently receives stellar Polylearn ratings because he does not require his students to have a brain of their own for his 2 hour lecture. If you are a non-SOC major: Know that this class is a terrible representation of the sociology major at Cal Poly. Good luck!


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
May 2016
Alaniz is the best professor I've ever had at Cal Poly. You can see his passion for teaching and for helping others. He's very open and understanding with his students and really understands that everyone is coming from a unique background. He's a great person and I've really learned so much from this class.


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Sep 2016
Alaniz is one of the most kind professors you'll find at Poly. He is very knowledgable in his field and speaks from firsthand experience. This class tends to have a strong Liberal foundation, so if you find your ideology lying elsewhere, then you may hate the material. It'll be difficult to bring anything valuable to the class when you're already in the "wrong." Otherwise, this class is amazing an Alaniz is an excellent professor.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Major)
Mar 2017
I love Alaniz. I had him fall 2016 and winter 2017 and I will be taking him next quarter! He really cares about the material and makes the class fun while giving you breaks during lectures. If you go into his office hours Alaniz will totally help you and make sure you understand. Going to office hours is key especially if you take SOC 110 because he makes that class a little harder since it is a GE and he does not want people taking it as a joke or easy A. Overall Alaniz is a great professor. You should definitely take him!

ANT 201


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2016
Prof Rucas makes the class very engaging. She calls everything 'spicy' and has a huge passion for the Tsimane. She will straight up tell you a story about the Tsimane in the middle of lecture and make references to the Tsimane every other lecture. This is the first year that she let the midterm and final to be done in pairs...which I really liked. Your grade is the midterm, finals, online lessons, and a foodways project. My best advice is to go to class bc the midterm and final are heavy lecture weighted...and although she posts the powerpoints on polylearn she will give you random words that you will need to know for the exam (ie a color). Highly recommend! You really don't need the book if you are going to class everyday. Went through the entire quarter without even touching it.

SOC 218


Senior
A
General Ed
Apr 2012
This was a very informative class. There are no exams, but there's a large term paper about a developing country worth 60% of your grade, due finals week. 20% of your grade is participation, and the last 20% goes towards a presentation on the readings that everyone must do (we signed up on the first day for presentation days between 2nd week and dead week). The reading for the class is very difficult (from the McMichaels book) and dense, so don't feel bad if you don't understand much of it. He'll go over the important concepts from the book in class. Do try to take notes, so it will be easier to relate the theoretical development topics from class and the book to your country in your term paper. For your presentation, choose a section of the chapter in your reading and try to relate it to your country. Dr. Alaniz (pronounced allah-KNEES) is a very nice professor who will take time to talk to you and help you understand the concepts in class. He gives good comments during office hours, and will help you iron out your presentation and paper to perfection. Good luck!


Junior
A
General Ed
Nov 2012
Ryan is a GREAT guy. I took his class two quarters ago, not knowing what to expect, and he really changed the way I thought about things. If you're looking to take International Political Economy, this class is about the "Global South" (third-world countries and the like) and our relationships to them. That is, this is NOT a typical econ class. Some of the material is admittedly high-browed (particularly one of the books, which is very dense) and goes over your head at times, but he is always willing to slow down and explain something again. He has done a lot of work in Latin America, researching and doing service, so he is quite obviously a very passionate guy who wants you to know about these issues. His grading is very fair, despite the fact that there are very few assignments. Some of it can be a challenge, particularly the paper you write about a specific country about halfway through the class. But that aside, Ryan is one the best, most passionate professors I've had at Poly. He will know your name, will stay behind to talk to you if he's got the time, and will tell you all sorts of great anecdotes. I have recommended him to several people already, so this is just another recommendation: TAKE HIS CLASS.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Feb 2013
218 is a really interesting, thought provoking class; which I was not expecting from it, since I was taking the course to satsify my Political Economy Elective. The class explores the relationship between the "Global South" (mainly 3rd world countries) and "Global North" (1st world countries). Alaniz is a very cool and nice guy. He cares about what he teaches and knows alot about it too, also he is a fair professor and if the class was having difficulty with an assignment or concept would take the time to go over the material/assignment. The tests are not too bad if you go to class and put in an effort to study from the study guide he gives out. There are a few projects, but they are not overly challenging. Alaniz is a great guy and the class is interesting, if you get the chance take it!


Freshman
A
General Ed
Aug 2013
Hands down one of the best and most inspirational professors I have ever had at any level of schooling. He is passionate about the subject he teaches and keeps the class very fun and interesting, regardless of the time of day/night (I had him from 8-10 pm). The material taught in my SOC 218 class was extremely eye opening and turned me into a deeper and more thoughtful person. After taking this class, you come to really appreciate how privileged we are just to live in the United States. The class itself is pretty straightforward with readings twice per week, 4 basic assignments, a midterm and a final. If you pay attention in class and do the work he assigns, you should absolutely love this class.


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Feb 2014
I wish I could make every student at Poly take a class from Alaniz. SOC 218 is by far my favorite class I've taken. It's also the first 7am course I've ever signed up for and a lecture so that's saying something. I promise he will ask questions that will make you a better person if you choose to actually think about them.


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Mar 2014
If I am ever a 1/4 of the human Alaniz is, I will be satisfied. He is an amazing person who cares so much about the topic he is teaching. I had this class 7-9 am and not once did I get bored or tired. Lectures are exciting, you will learn so much. Take good notes, do the readings, do the two-three fairly easy assignments, study for the tests and you'll do great! His office hours before the tests are pretty helpful too. TAKE THIS CLASS. You will learn a ton, be a more educated and better person, and get to meet the coolest teacher in all the land! It's not a hard class.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
May 2014
**CONSERVATIVE STUDENT BE INFORMED** I'm writing this just for you, because the previous reviews were not helpful enough for me. The Professor: I saw Professor Alaniz had fantastic ratings so I thought this will be a great class. WRONG! He is very sly about the way he presents his views. He gets students to laugh by saying F*** a lot. He says he is only presenting theories to consider. He tries to appear unbiased and open to discussion, but they are so blatantly LIBERAL. He uses GUILT to try and persuade you to his views. What class was like: [Anti-American Socialism, capitalism is terrible, America was built on the backs of the poor, colonization is the reason we have poor countries, we are responsible to help the poor countries cause we ruined them in the first place, you have the privilege of ignorance, you are an awful human being cause you buy Starbucks, which exploits the poor and really isn't fair trade, meat is the reason we have global warming, etc.. you get the idea] It was difficult to tune out the liberal agenda. If you have no choice, you will survive, I did. Don't let it get to you and realize there is this thing called OPINION, which is different than fact. He gets you to really think about what you believe and why. It made me appreciate history so much more, and how important it is to know rather than just believe what you're told. He seems to have a huge heart for the poor, but his solution is to take the money from the rich and give it to the poor. Overall, He shows up on time. He is extremely passionate about his views. The Class itself: There are heavy daily readings with possible pop quizzes. You get 0.5 of a point for writing your name on your paper and leaving it blank (admitting to not reading). You get no points if you BS the quiz. You get 2 points for the correct answer. Overall these don't count that much in your grade, but it is good to know the reading for the 1 Midterm and 1 Final. There are a few papers that are graded super easy if you add a poor them attitude into it. The midterm and final were really hard (I didn't do my reading), and took a lot of studying. He gives you a study guide which is basically bullet points of the whole class (AKA not really a study guide). Someone in my class made a google doc for the whole class. We filled in the definitions and our notes, which I totally recommend taking advantage of, but it was still hard.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Jun 2017
Alaniz is a great guy. This class made me feel more knowledgable about the world we live in and made me feel passionate to take greater care of each other. This class will educate you on far more than just academics if you listen to what he is saying. I took this class instead of Econ for one of my D GE's, and I am so happy I made this decision. I feel way more politically and socially informed after taking this class and I think that anybody that has the opportunity to take this class should. As far as workload, it is totally easy to get an A or B in this class. He assigns readings every night (which I think were pretty excessive), but they do show up on the exams. If just while you're studying for the tests you skim each reading and understand who the author is, what the author stands for, and what the main points are than you should be fine. In lecture, he will every once in a while give random "participation" points where you have to answer some question about the reading. If you show up, you get 50% credit on the participation and if you did the reading too then you get 100%. He gives 4 assignments throughout the quarter which are a majority of your grade and are super easy to get an A on. Just follow the rubric closely. The exams felt pretty hard when I was taking them but I think that was just because I didn't really do the readings. When studying, make sure you study the readings just as much as the lecture notes. He gives you a short answer at the end of the exam and tells you the prompt beforehand so you can prepare. So, he's basically giving you free points on a quarter of the test. He also gave us an extra credit assignment that bumped our midterm grade up a whole letter. Overall, I love Alaniz and if you let it, this class will really inspire and enlighten you. The workload is totally manageable and it's an easy A if you show up to lecture and do the assignments.

HUM 310


Junior
A
General Ed
Sep 2013
Ryan was one of my professors on my study abroad trip to Peru this summer. His class, along with the study abroad experience, really opened my eyes to the world around me. I can honestly say that I am more aware of other people, other countries and other customs because of this class. He is a very fun and understanding professor. When I was completely lost on what to do for my final in his class, he worked with me and constructed a personal assignment just for me. His experiences in his field of work are inspiring to everyone. Nothing to fear with this guy, his classes are real eye-openers.

SOC 310


Senior
A
General Ed
Dec 2014
Don't listen to the last person, they don't know what they are talking about. Alaniz is an amazing teacher and he will make you think outside of your current beliefs. He doesn't push anything on you but instead lets you see ideas from all angles before choosing what you think is right.

SPAN 726


Junior
B
Elective
Nov 2016
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