Fern, Rachel  

Philosophy

3.35/4.00

65 evaluations


PHIL 203


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Dec 2004
Great teacher always willing to help. She really knows her stuff. She does not deal with the BULLSHIT and only worries about teaching. Highly Recommened for an enjoyable quater.

PHIL 230


Junior
A
General Ed
Nov 2002
Professor Fern is an excellent teacher. She really knows her stuff and she knows how to explain it to non-philosophy types. She also encouraged me to ask my questions in front of the entire class, rather than keep them for office hours. She has fostered a love of philosophy in me, a subject I originally was trying to avoid.


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
May 2003
My class had Professor Fern for only half of the quarter, when Professor Flores was on leave. I thought she was a great professor and I was able to understand the concepts easily and be interested in what she had to say. She was super nice and was very helpful when responding to emails. If you need help, I highly recommend her office hours, where she will go over your notes with you and answer questions. it was extremely difficult to be in her position, where she only taught a few weeks of the quarter, but I totally enjoyed having her as a teacher. I was scared of taking philosphy, but with her help, I was able to get over that fear. I think that she is one of the best professors I've had, one who truly cares about her profession and helping students. Take her class if you can.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Dec 2003
Rachel has good intentions, but her lectures are so dry. She reads directly off of her 13 page notes everyday for 2 hours straight. There is one midterm (in class essay), one take home paper, and a final (in class essay). She does grade fairly easy though. One cool thing about her, is that she wants you to miss at least 2 days of class and she'll send you the notes. My advice, is to get into a group of 10 people (a study group) and take turns getting the notes, because believe me when I say that her 13 page notes are better than you would ever take it class. Beware if you are male, she is an EXTREME feminist.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Aug 2005
I really liked Professor Fern and her class. I hate philosophy but found this class to be interesting and easy to follow. Take good notes in lecture and if you're having problems, go to her office hours. She was extremely helpful if you needed questions answered and it really helps on the tests. I did a decent amount of work and I got an A. It wasn't that hard. She had just had a baby that quarter and so she and her husband split teaching the class. Between the two, I preferred Fern. I recommend her to anyone that needs to get Phil 230 out of the way.


Junior
A
General Ed
Jul 2006
Professor Fern is very organized and articulate (not to mention nice as well!). I hated the fact that philosophy was part of my general education but Professor Fern made it pretty fun. In fact, she made it so fun and interesting that she sparked my interest in READING other philosophy books. Go figure. Take her if you can.

PHIL 231


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Apr 2002
Rachel is a pretty good teacher. There are three books to read and after reading the first assignment by Plato I was a little nervous but she really clarified the material and takes things step by step. The only homework is reading. She graded on one set of in-class essays, one take home essay, and a final. She was very easy to approach and I'd recommend her to people.


Freshman
C
General Ed
Jun 2002
Her class is reall boring and she doesnt make very much sense. The slides are very helpful and i dont know how i would have gotten throgh the class without them. Her attempt to explain kant was horrible...dont even go to the lectures she almost makes the book more confusing. You have 2 midterms, a paper and a final.


Freshman
D
General Ed
Jun 2002
If you enjoy being put to sleep, shes the professor for you! I knew I was in trouble when the first class I literally fell asleep (for the first time ever in a class). She also is very full of herself, and her exams are tricky. Be sure to memorize her opinion and regurgitate it.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Jun 2002
The class I was in, and the class that the other reviews on the page I'm sure are talking about, was a 200 person philosophy lecture, which is unorthodox. In a class where we're supposed to discuss ideas, we are only reminded what the text says, because a lot of the students have a hard time getting through it / don't read the material / have no interest whatsoever in philosophy. Fern tries her best to put up with us from 8 to 10 pm two nights a weeks, but at times I feel like she's treating me like a child: "ohhh, you're all being soooo quiet! Good for youuuuu." I don't blame her, given the circumstances. Fern is a Canadian Femenist, and it's nice to know this going into the class. She'll say "sore-y" or "to-more-ow" and always use the feminine pronoun, all iritating at first, but you get used to it. If you enjoy philosophy, you'll be bored because everything she goes over (for a 200 person class, mind you) you've already read. If you don't enjoy philosophy, I don't know what to day.


Junior
A
General Ed
Aug 2002
I had the hardest time trying to crash this class, she did NOT want to budge and let people in, which was kind of ridiculous when there were still empty seats. She's kind of a stubborn person and very opinionated, even rude sometimes to students. I felt that a lot of the time she also treated us like little kids, which some of us probably deserved, but it was still demeaning and annoying at times. As far as her teaching goes she made the ideas from the books relatively clear and the slides helped. However she stopped the slides like half way through the quarter and just did a lecture so you had to go to class and be bored for two hours. The slides helped move things along and she also put them online. Some of the discussions were interesting and she did get us thinking about ideas a little bit which must be hard in a two-hundred person lecture at 8pm. There was one paper (graded by her assistants) and I think four scantron tests including the final. The test questions were tricky sometimes and you have to really pay attention to who is saying what in Plato's Republic. If you take good notes from the lecture and don't fall asleep while doing the readings then you should be okay.


Junior
Credit
General Ed
Sep 2002
Rachel scared the hell out of me on the first day of class taking about how she only gave out three A's in her 3 years of teaching, but don't let her scare you! After the first day (which I believe was a scare tactic) she was very approachable, explained the material clearly, and was very understanding. Not my favorite subject, but her enthusiasm was great and gave a great energy to the class. I took it credit, but think that I got a B without breaking my back over the class. Overall, a good teacher for the material, and a very nice lady!


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Dec 2002
Rachel is an excellent professor. She has a great understanding of the information that she teaches. She chooses three texts that she know very well. She listens to all the students questions, and clarifies any questions that they may have. She is very helpful with both office hours and e-mail feedback. She is hands down the best professor I've had at Cal Poly. I highly recommend her for any philosophy course.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Mar 2003
Take her, she's great. I didn't do ANY of the readings, but really paid attention and took good notes and got a B. Semi-hard grader, but more than fair. She's also a real nice lady. Pretty hot too.


Junior
B
General Ed
Sep 2003
She is by far the best professor I have had at Cal Poly. I actually enjoyed coming to her class at 7 am. She was fair when it came to grades and willing to help at any time. She was always quick to respond to e-mails. Dr. Fern truely cares about her students and is enthusiastic about her job. She made learning Philosophy fun and easy.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Mar 2004
Ms. Fern is a great teacher and the course is actually really interesting. The way she teaches the class, it's much better to go to class and not read the text than to read the text so you don't have to bother. The class was at 7:20 AM, so it's hard to make every class, but she understands this and it won't reflect on your grade. Her sylabus may scare you and make her sound rigid, and I accidentally slept through most of a midterm and got there 5 minutes before it ended... and she let me take it in her office hours and even offered to let me take it some other time since I obviously needed sleep. She's young enough so that she can relate well to students, but wise enough to earn a ton of respect from me which I must say a lot of teachers at poly just don't get from me. Mad kudos for her.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Apr 2004
she is a great teacher and a very nice person. she tries to make the class as laid back as she can with a nice atmosphere. shes young so i think she can give better contemporary examples to help better understand the topics at hand. i made it to about half the classes didnt read much of the books and wound up with a b+. if you can bullshit three essays youll do pretty well too.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Aug 2004
I loved this teacher. I am not a morning person, and yes, 9am is early for me but going to her class was always enjoyable. She made me want to actually learn the material, which is odd, because i dont see where i might ever need to use philosophy since I'm a bio major. I wish she taught all my classes because she just puts the class at ease and explains things in truley, the best way she can - and it shows. Take her if you can, you wont regret it at all!!


Junior
B
General Ed
Aug 2004
awesome teacher... was fair in her methods... she talks a lot so be prepared if you have the tendency to fall asleep... she likes interaction and asking questions which is a piece of cake... for the midterms and the finals, we wrote essays in class and it was relativly easy because she gave us a set of questions and said that she was going to pick from them... beware though... she is a feminist and can get on her soapbox at times and give her view points... but in general she is really fair.


Junior
A
General Ed
Dec 2004
She was a very competent teacher...unlike many others I have had around Poly.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Apr 2005
Prof. Fern is great. She explains the material very clearly and provides easy to understand examples. She isn't tricky with her essay questions. For the class there is one inclass essay midterm, a paper, and then the final is an inclass essay. Prof. Fern is always willing to help and makes Philosophy interesting and easier to understand.


Freshman
N/A
General Ed
May 2005
I made sure to look over the reviews before registering for her class. I was really excited - thinking that I would have this really nice teacher who would make the class interesting, but that is not what I got! She is a rude, bitchy, stereotypical, hateful, miserable, catty woman who takes her personal problems with her to work and uses unfortunate students as "examples" from the texts to vent her frustrations. As for her office hours, she is not very approachable and puts on this "I'm better than you la de dah" attitude. She reeks of cigarettes and body odor and looks like she didn't shower before coming to class as her hair is an oily mousy brown color. She made sure to let us know that she "knew her shit" and not to challenge her, but I don't think she knows it all too well and just maintains this by intimidating students into believing this. She is also absent at least two times and uses her child as her excuse. I also didn't like hearing about her child's heathen behavior - I felt that this had nothing to do with Philosophy and I wasn't the least bit interested in hearing her pathetic sob stories. Overall, I think that she is overrated and I wish I would have chosen someone more mentally balanced and intelligent.


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Jun 2005
Fern is a nice woman and really knows alot about Philosophy. Her class is pretty laid back and we frequently debated about issues occuring in the world. She's devilishly smart and a good debater. She has a tendency to get on her soapbox sometimes, but other than that she is cool and I learned alot.


Senior
B
General Ed
Jun 2005
I'm not really convinced that the woman knows her stuff all that well. She's got a mean streak so watch out! She has openly said that she doesn't like this country (she's Canadian) so don't patronize American ideals, as she will ding you for it. She says that she does not give A's in her classes (except on rare occasions), which I believe is mostly true. I know a few people in the class who got A's (they are brown nosers though). She was absent at least three times which really pissed me off because I drove all the way from Atascadero to find that the class was cancelled. She also acts "uppity" and brags about drinking Cognac late at night. I didn't really learn much from this woman because she sat on a soapbox all quarter and just acted like she "knew her stuff."


Junior
B
General Ed
Jun 2005
Ok, first and foremost, I have to work really hard to write for Philosophy...it's just not easy subject matter. Also, Kant and Mill suck. Plato is surprisingly fine, but man...this class was more work than I wanted to do for a GE just to get a B-. Fern is a really sweet lady, genuinely, and she'll help out her students if they tell her the deadlines for the papers are too difficult, or that they don't understand something. She actually extended our midterm paper due date almost a week when we said it was too hard of a due date! She definitely knows her stuff, and appreciates when students discuss and ask the hard questions, but I kinda felt a little intimidated every once in awhile if I didn't have the same opinions as her. It wasn't often, but she can get on her soapbox once in awhile. All in all though, a sweet lady and a good teacher.


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Jun 2005
I knew I was in for a rough quarter when I first met this crazy woman! She began the first class by rambling on about how she doesn't get paid enough for the volume of students that she has. Then she told us this story about how a trusted female classmate in her Canadian law school group gave out altered addresses and names of prospective employers (law firms) to the group members so their resumes wouldn't be seen by the employer in time and this woman would get the job. However, I think that the woman was Rachel Fern and the reason she came her to flee what she did to those people! She didn't fool me! Yes, she acts sweet but she is really a snooty bitch who will constantly disagree with you unless you are her little brownie. She also would make fun of people's essays in front of the class because she is so biased and closed minded. And to top it off, she put the icing on the cake the last day of class when she personally thanked her little brownies for participating and made sure to tell the rest of us that it is a mistake to think we are the future because none of us are special at all! How British of her!


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Jun 2005
Ok this goes out to all those people who are so peeved because they barely passed the class this quarter. The only things the "brownies" in the class did that was different than everyone else, was that they listened during the lecture, didn't fall asleep, asked questions, and actually tried to learn something in this class. All it takes to do well in this class with Dr. Fern is to do the assignments, and back up your opinions with critical thinking. It's not that hard. I think that the people who are dismayed with their grades perhaps should have done the work without whining and sleeping in class. Overall, I thought Dr. Fern did a good job taking rather dry texts like Plato and Kant and churning out interesting lectures. So for people wondering if they should take her for this GE, I thought she was great. She is really understanding of how life affects our studies, and she lets us get away with a lot more than other profs do. She was really nice, and didn't give me any grief about wanting to take the final early so that I could leave town.


Sophomore
B
Elective
Aug 2005
This woman is a presumptuous bitch! For example, she gave an example of one of her coworkers at the homeless shelter and said that this woman would be a mess and fall apart if she didn't have the place to lean on for her emotional support! How the fuck does she know what this woman needs and doesn't need? She even did this crap with me when I visited her in her office, acting like she knew it all about me when in fact she ignorantly stereotyped me and got it all wrong! FUCKING BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Aug 2005
Well, this skanky bitch really pissed me off when she used me as her "situation examples" in class. She said that everyone would be happier if I were dead and it would be okay if I was killed if it meant making other people happier. I didn't appreciate being singled out and humiliated by her with that smug little grin on her face. I didn't deserve this, I was a quiet, decent, respectable person so there was no reason for what she did to me. Yeah, she gets good ratings by people who are like her, all smug, condescending and bullying. She needs to grow up and show people the same respect that they give her. I can tell that she's a jealous and miserable bitch. I hate you, you fucking skank!!!!!!!!!!!


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Dec 2005
Rachel Fern is an amazing philosphy professor. I am not a philosophy major and she goes out of her way to make sure you understand the material completely. There are two essay midterms and one paper and she will answer any question you have and is very fair. She even e-mailed me back all weekend before our paper was due in response to my questions. Definitely take phil 231 with Rachel Fern for your philosophy requirement. She is the best!


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Feb 2006
It really pisses me off when people like the last ignorant loser use this as a forum to whine about the fact that they are little bitches who cannot handle being an adult college student. I AM A WINNER ADULT STUDENT!!!! In fact, it makes me want to beat the shit out of them. I'M SO VIOLENT!!!!!! So, loser, if you read this before the quarter's over, feel free to show up outside of class one day. I'M SUCH A WINNER WHEN I THREATEN PEOPLE!!!! I AM SUCH A WINNER!!! I AM SUCH A WINNER!!! I HAVE A NAPOLEON COMPLEX! LOOK AT ME!!! As for Professor Fern, just like the majority of the philosophy department here, she is an excellent instructor. I KNOW SHE DOESN'T PLAY FAVORITES BECAUSE I AM A FAVORITE!!! I ALSO AM A DRUNK DRIVER!!! She tries to be as interactive as possible with the class, thus sometimes she needs to use someone as a hypothetical example, which is what the bitch before me was crying about. I LIKE TO USE THE WORD BITCH! IT MAKES ME FEEL SO POWERFUL!!! I AM ABOVE THE LAW SO I CAN BEAT ON YA ASS!! Also, she is very thorough with the reasoning she uses, so sometimes she will point out where a student is wrong in theirs. I KNOW IT ALL I'M SUCH A BEAITCH!!! Deal with it. I DEAL LOTS OF STUFF.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Feb 2006
I liked the way she organized the lectures - she did a great job of giving a two hour lecture during lunchtime hours with enough enthusiasm to keep everyone awake. She also gave practical applications of philosophy by using students as examples. As for her personality, I think she is snobbish and tends to choose favorites. The class was easy.


Sophomore
Credit
General Ed
Mar 2006
Professor Fern is a great teacher! She is funny, makes the class interesting, and really wants her students to do well! Its not a hard class, take her!


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2006
she's really good at lecturing to a large class. although there were about 120 students in our lecture she totally kept you alert and made things interesting even at 8 in the morning. if you put in the effort, she will give you the grade you deserve.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2006
I thought this class was soooo easy. She did modify it because our lecture was uncharacteristically big for a phil lecture class. We only had three tests, 50 questions each, all multiple choice. She does a good job of making you understand the material. I did not pick up one of the books assigned ONCE and I still got an A. She gives lots of real life examples and tries to make sure everyone understands clearly. I do think that she plays favorites to some extent, but only because the majority of the class didn't want to participate in long drawn out philisophical discussions (which got mind-numbingly boring by the way).


Junior
C
General Ed
May 2006
Fern is such a nice lady, and a very good teacher! i missed a lot of classes, and i dont recommend it. The lecturea are important to go to because she pretty much explains to you the books we read. I went to class in the beginning, never read the book, and got a B+ on the midterm. It is not a hard class at all, if you take good notes you dont even have to read the books. Fern is so eady to talk to and will explain anything you dont understand, and she doesnt make you feel bad about it. I came to her office hours because i didnt understand one of the books(because i only skimmed it and didnt go to lectures) and she explained everything to me. TAKE FERN IF YOU CAN she is really cool


Senior
A
General Ed
Aug 2006
Awesome class and an amazing teacher. I'm an engineer, but deeply interested in philosophy. I read the books mostly out of interest, but you can probably skate by not reading much and just attending lecture if that's the way you choose to spend your rather expensive time in college. She NEVER went on if there were ANY questions and still somehow managed to get through all of the material. We spent several days worth of time discussing vaguely related matters brought up by some annoying dork who kept asking questions (me), but she never got mad or insisted we move on. The papers are relatively easy, and the final wasn't bad (although reading IS needed to do well on that). Take her. She sparked my interest even more in philosophy.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2007
Fern is so nice and understanding. She clearly explains everything you need to know and is very helpful when students ask her questions. She grades on one midterm 25%, one dialogue 35%, and the finals which is 40%. I really liked her grading because I was lazy in the beginning and got a 20/25 on the first midterm and and 33/35 on the dialogue so I only needed like an 82% on the final to get an A. She gives you the prompts before hand so you can review what info you need and be set for the midterm and final in class essay. Just pay attention in class and review the slides and you'll do fine. Very easy going teacher and doesn't mind if you come in late or leave early. I would recommend taking her!


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Nov 2007
the lectures are pretty boring but she posts all of her powerpoints and basically gives you all the answers. she is very sweet and is very willing to help.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Jul 2008
rachel is amazing. this was probably the easiest class i've taken at cal poly so far. i didn't do any of hte readings, took notes on lectures, and looked over her slides on blackboard and got As on both midterms! she is really easy... just make sure you take good notes and you'll do great.


Junior
C
General Ed
Jul 2008
I was dreading Philosophy, so I decided to wait until Summer quarter to take the class. Prof. Fern was brillant. She is patient, understanding, clear, and teaches the material in a manner (I believe) that it should be taught. I left her class wishing I was in it for longer than 5 weeks. It just so happened that I internalized the material and the skills that she taught...and I feel now that I am a better person, or striving to be a better person, each day. I don't know how other professors are in the Philosophy dept. but I do know that for a class that analyzes open ended questions and "unknowns" all day, Prof. Fern will never leave you feeling confused or frustrated; oh contraire..you will leave with closure and a new way of thinking. I highly reccomend this prof. and I believe her to be one of the better prof's I have had at Cal Poly. She is a "GOOD" professor. :)


Junior
B
General Ed
Aug 2008
I am a CE major and I took this class over the summer. I recommend to anyone who has to take a class they do not think they will enjoy, to take it over the summer. Rachel is honest, and easy to understand. She COMPLETELY understands that this particular class is a G.E. and will even let you sleep in class. She presents material in an unbiased, non-political way. Basically, you read, she explains what it means, and that is it. Written portions of her test are factual, not opinion, which is much more of a relief for those worried they won't be able to make their teachers happy because they are opinionated. The class can be boring, but Rachel's main goal is just to make sure you understand what you have read. Oh, and you don't need to read. I never did. She is just that good at explaining if you are willing to pay attention.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Dec 2008
Very well organized and helpful lecture. In the bigger classes (mine) grade is based entirely on three multiple choice tests. Terrible way to grade a philosophy class (not her fault though) but nice for us engineers looking for an easy A. My method was show up to EVERY lecture (I missed one, and I'm pretty sure that's why I got an A-), and just listen. She puts all her powerpoints on blackboard, so taking notes mostly just distracts you. She explains the concepts really well with modern examples and very simple language. I read one of the 3 books, and maybe 1/3 of the other two. I also read sparknotes and memorized the "sample" questions on blackboard (they will appear on the tests). Someone else probably already said this, but she seems like a really chill professor, doesn't care if you show up late or whatever. Also really good at explaining student questions

PHIL 301


Junior
A
Elective
May 2004
Quit complaining over your grade. Fern is informal with what she expects of you and wants you to succeed. If you aren't doing well, she will take the time with you to get you back on course. Moreover, you don't have to agree with her to get a good grade, because trust me, not only did I sometimes play the devil's advocate, I sometimes played the devil when I wrote -- and 'lookit' I got an A! In fact I got 2 A's, and I learned a whole lot too. Her classes are in philosophy, be it of the feminist sort or not, and she is a 'trained philsopher' so here's the little secret: you have to be able to write, and she respects the brainwork that goes into a good argument. If you had a poor mark, it probably had to do with your own faulty reasoning and/or average or below-average written skills. You could do two things: 1) realize clear writing entails ordered thought; 2) don't backstab. If you had a gripe, put it to her. She wouldn't sock it to you in your grade. Maybe if you agreed with her and got a good grade, and then didn't agree with her and got a bad grade, maybe it wasn't even about agreeing with her! Maybe she just had a correct belief, and regardless of whether she conveys it or not for you to know, it is what it is, and facts are facts. Anyway, I highly recommend. She's a good teacher, and a good person too.


Senior
A
Elective
Jul 2005
I took two of her classes. I only took the latter because she was teaching it. She has a philosophical approach to whatever she teaches -- be it in the philosophy department, or women's studies. I won't lie, I know her outside the classroom, and think well of her as a person, but even then, I think she is most competent, very lenient, and understanding of student difficulties. I may've moved on to another school, but I can still say that she is one of the better teachers I have had. She is not perfect, but she is more than capable, and more than qualified, to be teaching what she teaches, and I think that if you take a class with her, and are openminded, and respectful, that she will be glad to engage with you as well. What I think is difficult is, she is not the personality most are used to at CP, and knowing the prevailing attitudes among the student body, it is not always the best fit. Still, she does a good job, and if you are an open and inquisitive person, you very well may enjoy a course of hers. Ciao.


Senior
A
General Ed
Mar 2007
Easy class.

WS 301


5th Year Senior
B
General Ed
Mar 2004
Where should I start??? I took WS301 as a D5 area since I needed 2 more units to graduate, and also satisfy my USCP. I honestly don't know where to start. I mean, she throws out the typical bogus statistics in favor of women and of course doesn't explain the cause of them, or where she got them. The class takes no notes, and has 3/4 comment sheets which is a 3 page write up on the class period before. you choose which lecture to write on. I thought that part of the class to be easy. The only suggestion I would tell future students about these comment sheets is to agree with the reading. Its a lot easier to support, and get a good grade...JUST AGREE! trust me! The final was a take home final which was basically two comment sheets together, or 6 pages of writing. not bad. I think she is a good person and means well, just been out of the mix a little too long.


Senior
A
Elective
Mar 2004
Rachel Fern was one of my favorite instructors at Poly. I am sad that I won't have class with her anymore. She is very knowlegable, and gives her class a point of view that we may not hear or see in socieity about women. She is most entertaining when she goes off on a tangent about Oprah or the Spice Girls; go ahead and ask her what her problem with Oprah is in class, it's a riot. She is also very approachable in and out of class, she really loves what she does, and I admire her. Her class consists of 3 comment sheet papers (3 pgs) You may even do and extra credit comment sheet and she will drop your lowest grade. The only test is the final and it's take home. All you have to do is write a 6 pg. paper about 2 or more of the reading in the course. She will admit herself that she doesn't really care about attendence or why you may miss assignments, she will work with you, and understands that we all have a life outside of the classroom. I highly recommend Rachel, and know that both men and women will enjoy this class. In fact,I encourage men to take one of her WS courses.


Senior
A
Elective
Jul 2004
I love this teacher. She is the real deal. She talks about topics that most teachers would be to scared to touch on. She respects everyone's opinions even when they are completely ignorant. I took her class for fun and it was well worth my time. You gain a new respect for yourself and the women around you. Even the boys in our class seemed to learn a lot. So I would beyond recommend Professor Fern for any class that she offers.


Junior
A
General Ed
Dec 2005
Great--not too tough, informative, interesting class, and Fern is one of the nicest teachers you can get--not some bra-burning activist type. Highly recommended.


Junior
A
General Ed
Dec 2005
This class was not what I expected. I guess I should note that I was one of the four guys in the class. WS 301 was eye-opening in some ways, but it wasn't a girl power--a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bike-type class. It was actually pretty much a look at the history of feminism, its successes, failures, excesses, and shortcomings, what the present problems are and what the future portends. It's way too expansive for one class, but mercifully, you're not responsible for all that material. Basically, there's five essays you have to write: three "comment sheets," essentially responses to readings of your choice, and two more for the take-home final, which are the same way. One is allowed to choose what one is interested in here, and some of it is pretty interesting. It is, though, not a class for people for whom thinking is rearranging one's prejudices (I would cite the source, but I forget who it was, Eliot?). If one wants to examine one's views or learn something more about the world or the fair sex, this is one to take.


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Oct 2006
a great teacher and a great class. i recomend to both women and men. it really opened my eyes to the roles we play in society and the choices we make (or fail to make) about the way we live and interact with one another. i dont think going to class is neccesary to succeed, however i went to almost every lecture because they were very interesting and i enojyed the class.


Junior
A
Elective
Mar 2007
I really liked this class. It was informal, fun and interesting. Dr. Fern chose this quarter to quit smoking and was really funny and honest about how hard it was. I liked that she is a "real" woman: she's done the feminist activist thing, gone to school and worked hard to get her job, has a husband and a daughter... she's not some stereotypical lesbian man-hating feminist! I was able to relate to her and where she's been. Her lectures were easy to listen to, and note-taking was optional. The readings were easy and interesting, too. She was really good with handling class discussions and would linger on a subject as long as the students had stuff to say about it. The hardest class, but the one that was most "real" was when we were discussing violence against women and she started crying when talking about a woman who was raped. I appreciated her ability to discuss such a hard subject and still come out being a really nice person who doesn't seem to hate the world. Homework was a breeze... three pages on a reading you enjoyed, three times a quarter! I'd recommend her to anyone!


Graduate Student
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2008
rachel fern is an exceptional person and an excellent educator! she would smile and laugh to see the comment about her hair. . .for appearance is one of the last concerns she has. . .she cares about opening minds, challenging ideas, cultivating her intellect, and encouraging young women and men to understand the humanism of feminism! i admire her deeply and am sad to see so many students miss-read her character.


Senior
A
Elective
Jul 2008
I have to agree with a lot of what the previous comments said. She is a very sweet person and is very passionate about feminism. However, any time a student disagreed with her she would just shut them down, so much that it seemed to discourage discussion in class UNLESS everyone was agreeing. It's best just to agree with the essays in your comment sheets because she will literally argue back with you and give you a lower grade b/c she didn't think you "thought it through enough." Also she quotes these questionable statistics without ever saying where she got the information and constantly says, "you guys this is normal!! I'm NOT making this up! this is normal!" her favorite line no joke. However, this class was definitely an eye opener and I REALLY encourage everyone to take it. it really changed the way I viewed the world.


Senior
A
General Ed
Sep 2009
I am writing in retrospect to having graduated a while ago and finding this website to inform people of this teacher. I loved her classes and her open forum of debate amongst the classes. Some people have commented that she uses logic and all this philisophical rhetoric, etc....she even boasts about her statistical background. Having majored in engineering and having a firm grasp on statistics.....you can sit through this class and basically laugh at it. She doesn't know how to use statistics....nor correctly identify any root causes of problems. She even labels some statistics at racist. There is no statistic that is racist.....furthermore...you can message statistics to get numbers that may better portray an argument that you support....jaded or not. I found WS301 difficult to take an opposing stance on, which I did my first paper, and received horrible marks for it. I supported my argument in a logical way, the problem is she cannot grasp higher thinking than her own. For instance, she went on to claim that women feel more pressure from society to look good than males do. I am a male.....and I am an engineer. My question is then....How can one make this claim? How does one quantify "pressure" put on oneself? What statistics does she have to make this claim...since no one in this world can quantify pressure. He argument was women go to a further extent to change their bodies, but had no stats on how many boob jobs women have or whatever else she thinks...nor did she have any stats on guys doing roids, or other things. Its all a useless argument if you cannot quantify pressure. Many arguments are like the one above....MANY. Its fun to debate....but I honestly walked into this class thinking of women in high regard....and walked away really in awe about what some women demand or want...which basically is unequality now. I understand the rights etc....but WOW.

PHIL 317


Senior
N/A
Elective
Nov 2005
It really pisses me off when people like the last ignorant loser use this as a forum to whine about the fact that they are little bitches who cannot handle being an adult college student. In fact, it makes me want to beat the shit out of them. So, loser, if you read this before the quarter's over, feel free to show up outside of class one day. As for Professor Fern, just like the majority of the philosophy department here, she is an excellent instructor. She tries to be as interactive as possible with the class, thus sometimes she needs to use someone as a hypothetical example, which is what the bitch before me was crying about. Also, she is very thorough with the reasoning she uses, so sometimes she will point out where a student is wrong in theirs. Deal with it. She assigns three critical comment sheets that the student is free to do on whatever portion of the readings they choose. Those comment sheets count for 60% of your grade, and the final is a take home essay worth 40%. It's that simple. Be forewarned, though, the subject matter in PHIL 317 is very dry and technical. In fact, if you aren't a philosophy major, I recommend finding another elective to take. There are MUCH easier ones available than this one is.

PHIL 336


Junior
A
Elective
Mar 2006
I have taken her for two classes and I confidently say Fern is an unbelievably great professor. She has a person to person relationship with her students, not a teacher-student one. Like others have said, she truly wants her students to excel and is willing to help in any way she can. She makes any material interesting to learn about and encourages people to ask questions or state opinions, even if they contradict her own. The classes I've taken with her consist of 3 or 4 (3-4 page) essays and a take home final, all of which she grades for your understanding of the material, not if you agree with her lecture. She is arguably the most "real" professor at this school and I'd recommend taking her for any class you can.


5th Year Senior
A
General Ed
Mar 2006
I don't understand why she gets any bad reviews. Probably one of the most approachable people on this campus. Lecture could get a little tedious as it does in any 2 hour class. Class is basically lecture + discussion. You get what you make of it, and honestly Fern is eager to help her students. Four 3-4page 'comment sheets' and an 8 page essay for a final. She doesn't even really care if you show up as long as you turn those in... no complaints whatsoever about the class. Take Fern.

PHIL 411


5th Year Senior
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2002
Professor Fern stands out as one of the two professors (both philosophy--i am a phil major) that maximized my educational experience at Cal Poly thus far. Her demand for precision and clear writing is commendable and deserves a "thank you". The accessiblity of the material she taught (Metaphysics and Contemporary Analytic Phil) was not due to the nature of the material; rather, it was due to her own assimilation and mastery of that material. She makes herself tirelessly available to her students, demonstrating her care for our education as well as following through with the pedagogical responsiblity of a professor to guide and direct her students. If you want to study philosophy--do philosophy--take Prof. Fern and reciprocate the effort and attention she offers each student. The effort is well worth your while and highly recommended. Receive the boon. A+

WS 450


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Jun 2002
I disagree with the previous evaluators... I found Rachel to be very approachable and very, very willing to help students understand what was expected of them, and help to clarify what was needed in order to get a good grade. There were 2 texts and a multitude of articles that she xeroxed for the class to read The course consisted of 4 response papers (60% of grade) to the readings and an 8 page final (40% of grade). There wasn't any mid-term. Her lectures were interactive between student/prof, though at times she had to lead. She is very professional regarding where she stands within the feminism realm. She is also a very critical editor of written papers - a stickler for correct English composition. However, she allows one to submit an extra response paper if one got a lower score than they liked, as well as, was very generous with her time in giving suggestions for the final term paper. Overall, I would love to take another class from her...


Junior
A
Elective
Aug 2002
Wow. Those reviews do her no justice. I would highly recommend taking Feminist Theory with Dr. Fern. She is very knowledgeable of the subject. She is very insightful, helpful, and extremely good at helping out students who ask for help. She allows for questions and/or discussions on topics at all times and is willing to help you out if you are struggling with a concept. The classes were great and time always seemed to fly by. She has broadened my reading genre and helped me find a new interest.


Sophomore
A
Elective
Jul 2003
I was one of only two guys in Feminist Theory. Yes, people made fun of me for taking this class, made gay jokes, made bigoted generalizations about the makeup of the class, and so on, but to those people I say: get a life! Professor Fern is a genius. (Editor's note: don't even try to argue with her, because you will lose.) She knows her stuff through and through, has quick wit, makes the material interesting, and is always open to letting her students fully express themselves. Cal Poly has plenty of substandard, inept, antisocial, professors, but this is not the case here. I only wish other professors were as quality as she. Anyway, one might wonder, as a guy, and particularly one not 'light on his feet', what was the experience like? I entered the quarter with an open mind and sincere interest in learning about perspectives unlike my own, or at least ones I may not be familiar with, and this I did. The readings were always intriguing, lecture was great. My only knock on the class was some of the people gave me bad vibes, but hey, that's not her fault. I definitely have a more compassionate outlook toward the female situation after this class. Sadly, I missed a lot of class later in the quarter, but if I could, I would definitely take this class again. Something bad happened to me and she was understanding of this and I really appreciate the concern. Lastly, as an aside, Professor Fern is Canadian, and thus has a terrific Ontario accent. Be prepared to hear aboot (about) and bean (been) and see a view of America from someone who was not born here and has not lived most her life here. It's refreshing. The naive gent I am, I initially thought, wow, she is really intent on saying things the right way! But nah, she's Canadian eh. Anyway, take this class if you can, and especially if you are male and openminded. Professor Fern is money. Be prepared to be putty in her hands, and leave with a perspective you can apply to your life.


Senior
N/A
Elective
Jun 2009
Rachel Fernflores is without a doubt the best professor I have ever had in my life. Go take advantage of her office hours, and if you like to use your mind, get prepared for the best education in deep critical thinking of your life! I also usually hate writing papers but she allowed for such leeway on the format of her papers that they were the most fun papers I've ever written! I got to include poetry and formed a dialogue between authors. She it my hero :D I'm going to go visit her next quarter just to talk

CHEM 684


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Nov 2016
Business majors: A degree for the intellectually impaired, HA HA.