4 evaluations Recognizes Student Difficulties: 2.50 Presents Material Clearly: 2.00
5th Year Senior
What the guy/gal below said. Amen. I too took this class and have long since graduated from Poly, but I was cruising Poly Ratings for a kick and thought that I should pipe in and let you know how much of a joke this prof is.
Garland Durham is a nice guy but is not the best instructor of this material. This was his first quarter at Cal Poly so it reasonable for him to struggle a bit but not as much as he actually did. He teaches at a very fast pace as he read the slides for verbatim. The course material is reasonable to comprehend but he would make it difficult by not revealing all the work associated to his answers. The practice problems assigned were not bad as it would take about an hour to complete and there usually was textbook reading which would take about an hour. There were homework assignments and quizzes handed out at random. The main issue I found was that his syllabus didn't state what the students should do on a class session basis. Due to this, students relied on Professor Durham to post things in a timely manner which he didn't. For his exams, you need to know how to do all the problems and remember the qualitative characteristics associated with his slides. The exams had multiple choice questions, short answers questions, and problems on them. The grade was divided up to: homework assignments and quizzes were 20%, midterm 1 20%, midterm 2 30%, and final 30%. Overall, Professor Durham's presentation style makes the course harder than it really is.
Due to King Cyrus's amazing performance as the Finance Emperor, Durham is the only addition to the Finance department that is actually worth mentioning when evaluating finance faculty quality without feeling a large amount of regret of why you're at Cal Poly. He and Gorman are the only finance professors I've encountered that actually help develop your finance knowledge. The first half of his course was making sure everyone was on the same page, but the latter half was filled with concepts and methods I've never touched upon while at Poly, but have read through at other (better) finance schools. Overall, Durham is a solid pick for 438, but it's worth mentioning the feeling of overlap with Gorman's class is due to the fact that it literally is the true sequel to 342. The things you learn in the class will obviously help if you're going the Corp Fin route.
That being said, his tests were hard but if you actually pay attention during the lectures and do every single quiz/homework/review slide problem prior to the midterm you should make do with an A in the class.
Professor Durham changed the way we taught the class this quarter. He really wanted to base it off of the book. The class consists of quizzes on every chapter (we ended up doing 18 chapters so you have a couple quizzes a week and it adds up). The quizzes can be taken as many times as you wanted so I would always take them until I got 100%. They are five questions each taken from a test bank. He would also give labs at the end of class which would either be practice on the stuff in class or a random excel assignment he wanted to teach us. Most of them were very easy and could be finished in class. Some would be hard and he would not explain it properly and you would fail it. The first midterm was 9 chapters long and was basically a review of BUS 342. I took it with Gorman and it was nothing to stress about. The average was a high C. The second midterm added another 8 chapters and was a lot more challenging. The average was a D and because of that he decided he would drop our lowest test grade. The final was cumulative and fortunately I did well enough on the first two midterms where I didn't have to take the final. Overall he was a really nice professor and having the quizzes and midterms be based off of the book was nice so you knew there wasn't any wildcards. The multiple choice part of the midterms came straight from old quizzes and the practice midterm he gave. And the written portion came straight from the end of the chapter problems he assigned (which was a lot). Overall I really enjoyed this class and thought it was fair if you put in the time.