Here is a sampling of RateMyProfessor.Com comments about Professor Joseph K (by students). I have altered the name and the university reference to maintain continuity with “If You Want To Go To Graduate School.” Here are posts from various students, ranging from praise to criticism to ad hominen attacks on critics:
A very stimulating experience–as long as you’ve got an open mind!
Interesting and unconventional–not recommended for the ultra conservative
Some of the best and most interesting classes I’ve had yet at the University, taught by one of its best scholars. Prepare to be challenged and inspired to expand your intellectual horizons beyond the typical University sanitized comfort zones. Very supportive.
Sensitive and encouraging; always open to discuss any concerns students might have. Stands by students and provides an atmosphere of openness and freedom of expression that enabled me to feel completely comfortable to do some of my best work yet.
He is very inspiring, but has a very different teaching style, go to his office and talk to him, the more he knows about the more he will help you get a better grade. Make sure to have a very open mind if you decide to take this class.
As weird as they get. First night he came into class with very dark sunglasses on and just stood up front staring at the class. During “Howl” he just kept repeating “Endless****and balls” (line from the poem) over and over. Made us buy his book, which was all about weird sex and violence in the future. However, he did expose us to a lot of good modern American lit and I learned a lot.
My comments: Regarding the first two comments, they’re general and just praise him. They could easily be from the disciples of a cult leader. The same could be said about the next three. Thses would definitely come from those in the inner circle, especially the part about going to his office. Be part of the party before class. The people who stop by his office before class are part of his “in crowd” (unless it’s that one time they need to discuss something with him). Learning from office visits? Shouldn’t that come from first reading the book and then from the lectures? I believe there are those students’ of Professor Joseph K who are perfectly aware of his abuses, yet defend him. Didn’t Jim Jones have similar defenders?
The last one is perhaps the most right on as far as positive comments go. The three before that have some merit, but they also could be written by a sycophant. This one highlights some of K’s oddness, but the student feels he or she has learned something in the end. I have my issues with Professor K; however, I did learn a lot from his classes.
Prof. K is condescending and vague. I’d never take another class with him.
What is with this dude and his SHADES? He wears wrap-around sunglasses in the classroom EVEN at night. I imagine this gives him a “secret identity” mindset that let’s him abuse and insult students he is afraid to talk to in the clear light. So POLITICALLY oriented that faking agreement with his politics is all it really takes to glide through A+!
really the worst parody of an mfa professor. with ego ten times bigger than his talent, and an uncanny knack for using and abusing his students, K plods on and on and on, publishing his friends work in his journals and getting published in turn in theirs. as sad a case of logrolling as is.
K is a joke! He writes no better than most students but has somehow slipped through the cracks. He uses his influence and power to help make the MFA at the University a lower than average experience while playing the characature part of hipster black-clad underground writer. Run!
A self-absorbed, condescending washed-up writer. Interested in obscure “cutting edge” fiction which no one reads. A coffee house writer-wannabe with a PhD. Thinks he’s avant garde cause he owns an all-black wardrobe. Really shouldn’t be teaching.
My comments: These people are really angry! The first one is general, could fit any disgruntled student. The second two seem to come from people who had some relationship with Joseph K. Of course, they’re disgruntled, but they’re more articlulate about their rage. They could be students who felt trampled on by Professor K, or they could have worked for him. The last two simply characterize him as a hack. His work has questionable literary merit, and he inflicts his books upon his students, who have no idea how to approach his text. They often fear saying, “I don’t get it.” The emperor is naked and no one wants to be unfit for an A or even a B. Several of the posts accurately depict his wardrobe choices and how he uses them for his persona.
Ad Hominen Attacks on Critics
The people who complain about K are probably bitter because of all the rejection letters coming their way. Get over yourselves. He’s a great teacher.
Comment: How does predicting rejection letters for critics help this poster’s case?
One of the most helpful professors at the University, provided you make an effort to talk to him about your work. He’s as flexible and fair as a prof can be. To the ranting girlies prior to this post: it’s time to unbunch your Victorian panties.
Comment: Ranting girlies? Victorian panties? This person is incredibly guilty of using sexist language to attack the critics.
Students who dislike Professor K fear unstructured assignments, demand conformity of themselves and others, never did drugs and are most likely sexually repressed. To create postmodern fiction is to live it, and vice versa. If that sounds lame or obscure to you, you may have a calling in Business or Comm. If not, you’ll love K.
Comment: Unstructured assignments – I don’t remember his assignments being unstructured. The irony of so called “non-conformists” is that they are accusing some people of not conforming to their views – that drug use is some kind of rite of passage and living a post-modern life (whatever that is) is a prerequisite to writing. As far as a so-called conformist having a call for Business or Communication, perhaps they are the smarter ones in the end. Maybe the humanities takes more brains, but full time professorships are at an all time low and being an adjunct prof for several institutions is just financial suicide.
In ref. to accusations–Work of disturbed individuals attempting to get out of doing course work, trying to force their own personal agendas/issues on the rest of us, using Prof. K as an easy target for their negativity. Don’t credit rumors as fact.
Any professor rated on this website will have a fair shair of praise and criticism. Some professors recieve almost nothing but nice things, while others are constantly attacked. Then there are the cult of personalities such as Professor Joseph K, whose disciples can see no wrong, while the disgruntled wish to see him get his just due.
The comments in the first two categories have merit. These are the posts that best represent views on him. The ad hominen attacks, however, are just weak.