Francis, Cilnton  

Biological Sciences

2.31/4.00

13 evaluations


ZOO 323


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
Jun 2015
I was super excited to take Ornitholgy. I've been around birds since I was a child, so I couldn't wait to take this course. I heard so many great things. On the first day I couldn't be more happy. He seemed really understanding and approachable. I do not know what happened, because that completely changed after the first few weeks. It felt like he didn't give a damn about the class. I was always the student that was right next to him out in the field and I was excited to be out birding. I would be the first student to identify the bird and of course I showed my excitement over that. Then he finally told me one day that I couldn't do that anymore. That completely crushed me and I was so confused on why a professor would dislike a student for wanting to learn. His tests and lectures were all based off the book. I paid a grand to learn from the professor. If I wanted to learn from a book, I can just pay for the book and saved money. He would test you on things that weren't in the reading or were taught in class. And when confronted he would say, "Oh well, it's only a few points." Yes, it was only a few points, but it adds up especially when his tests are only worth 40points. So two points is 5% of the test already if you lost that. I am completely disappointed in this course. If you can make someone who loved birds all their life to hate them in just one quarter, then you definitely are doing something wrong as a professor.


Senior
B
Required (Support)
Jun 2015
Hands down the worst professor I have had throughout my four years at Cal Poly. He was not a bad person. In fact, he was nice (for the most part) and funny. He was a terrible teacher in that he could not communicate knowledge effectively in his lectures nor assess appropriately with his tests. His lectures were all half-assed and rarely informative. You would learn more from reading the book on your own. Professors should interpret the textbook and give further insight into the material than one can get alone from reading. Additionally, his quizzes and exams were absurd. On the first day of class, he mentions that the quizzes will be over the general, main concepts of the chapter assigned for that day. However, his quizzes ask the most random pieces of information in the book. Be prepared to read every figure legend and memorize all the stats because he will ask questions like "how many million years ago did this theory blah blah blah." No one has time to read and memorize every fact in a text book even if Ornithology is the only class he/she is taking. This is not learning or proper assessment. Francis likes to test with questions that can be easily graded instead of questions that truly test the student's understanding of the material. His TA, a graduate student, Ben was phenomenal and truly interested in his students learning during lab. Even without the experience, Ben would make a better instructor than Francis. Taking this course is required for some bio concentrations and my advise is to read the book as closely as possible and, I hate to say this, but waste time memorizing as many facts as you can even though you'll forget them right after the test.


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Jul 2015
Dr. Francis is a good professor, but his lectures can be hard to sit through sometimes. He knows what he is talking about, but he can lecture very slowly and it is easy to get distracted or even fall asleep. He sometimes mixes the lectures up with videos, and that is always fun. He also has a great sarcastic sense of humor and is fun to interact with. His reading quizzes are extremely difficult overall; even if you read the whole chapter, you can end up getting a D or even a F. He asks nit-picky questions or shows you diagrams from the textbook (so definitely study those). In the end, many people end up doing okay despite the low quiz scores. His midterms are much more fair than the quizzes, covering broader concepts and asking you to integrate several topics.


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Jul 2015
I didn't think I'd like ornithology since I'm not really into birds. I ended up really loving the class despite it being a ton of work. I really liked Dr Francis' sense of humor and it was clear he's really knowledgable about birds. I struggled on a couple quizzes and found his office hours really useful to improve my grade. Quizzes aren't on lecture material so you have to read and its a good bit of reading. Over-all it's a great class and Dr francis is a great teacher.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Oct 2015
Really cool guy and a helpful professor. Very knowledgeable, humble and patient. The workload was heavy but that's how upper level zoology classes are. He can be a little relaxed as far as relaying information which leaves some students who need really specific instructions confused, but is great about helping and clarifying if you ask. He really values students on an individual basis.


Senior
A
Elective
Oct 2015
loved ornithology. too early, but so interesting.

BIO 401


Senior
N/A
Required (Major)
Nov 2014
Great professor. Very knowledgeable. Cool guy. Presents the material clearly. Tells you exactly whats going to be on the tests and gives fair tests. Make sure you read the book if you are in his class. He bases a lot of the test on the book. And he makes the class itself really interesting and fun.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2017
He was an interesting teacher! His tests are pretty easy, you just have to make sure you know a general basis of everything. Mae sure you read the articles because he will sometimes ask a specific question that can only be answered from the article. And this was a class where I actually had to read the book before the midterms and final because there are questions on the tests that can only be answered from reading the textbook (but just know general bolded terms not talked about in class). Also he likes to put really specific questions on the tests too that ask "the number of years old the earth is" and stuff like that. But overall a fairly easy class to get an A or B in.

BIO 445


Senior
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2015
Class with Francis was interesting to say the least. At first he seems like a cool guy, but that goes down hill and the course goes on. He had no regard for student problems and was borderline unapproachable with problems. The only students he seemed to enjoy talking too were his own personal research and grad students. The amount of outside lab work for this class was ridiculous for a support course. 99% of the students in the class ARE NOT ecologists and he expects you to have an innate understanding and interest in the material. Labs were completely pointless and had no parallels to lecture. That being said, the actual tests weren't too bad and they were straightforward. You will have to do two separate experiments outside of class, both of which will take you at least a few days to do, and he expected published paper quality out of the reports. tl;dr The shit apple doesn't fall far from the shit tree. Avoid this man.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2015
He seems like a chill guy, but his method of teaching is absolutely horrid. His lectures are confusing. They are often based on case studies that he presents in his ppts-- interesting and educational if he didn't go on tangents or had actual writing on the slides for his students. I understand that some teachers don't write anything on the slides to make students pay more attention, but there was a lot of confusion on WHAT to extrapolate from his stories and lectures without any writing or direction on what we should know. His lab was not constructive at all. A waste of time, and he makes you learn R (a program) without barely any guidance, but a damn lot of expectations. He grades extremely hard on his lab reports as well, so beware.


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2015
Dr. Francis was a pretty decent professor. I personally find a lot of professor unapproachable, and I was able to talk to him and ask questions and he clarified anything I was confused about. The tests were not hard, except the final. Lab was pretty tedious, but in my opinion most ecology labs are. Most of the lecture is about case studies, but again that's what ecology is: learning about patterns in nature and what specific situations follow those patterns. I am not an ecologist, but I was able to get through the class without any major difficulties. I have a feeling the people below me just really hate ecology in general, because in my experience Dr. Francis was pretty good, and I would recommend him.


Junior
A
Elective
Oct 2016
Dr. Francis is a kind and knowledgeable professor. He shows an obvious passion for the field of ecology and often discusses his research. Lab can be tedious as learning R can be a struggle, but it is a skill worth learning. I would recommend taking his class.

CHEM 901


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Nov 2016
During this entire quarter all I could think about was how this professor reminded me of that small little dog that runs through the back of scene 23 in The Incredibles by Pixar. Seriously, if you look it up you will only be able to see it...