Pete Hurd: Past Anonymous Student Evaluation Comments
I would like to thank all the students who have provided feedback to
me as a teacher. Whether it's in person, via e-mail or anonymous
student evaluations, flattery is transiently nice, but helping me
improve is better. I'm working hard at talking slower, remembering to
repeat student questions before answering them, get more organized,
and not mumble at the floor. It's a daily battle.
How much to expect students to read outside the textbook, how to know
whether enough of the class has understood a topic before moving on,
and how to enforce curteous silence in massive lecture halls without
being rude are all ongoing questions of balance. This balance is
refined and tuned through your feedback, help me to help you.
That said, here's a (fairly?) representative sample of some previous
student evaluation comments.
Biostatistics 318M (Lab Component, 2000) --- U. Texas at Austin
- It helped a lot that the instructor was very enthusiastic. Though
the material was somewhat dry, humor helped a lot to make it
bearable. Great job in my opinion.
- Pete kicked ass. He was much more skilled at communicating the
matrerial in a clear logical way. I think you should hire him to
teach the class himself. He is at once engaging, entertaining and
informative. I htink that had he taught the course I would have
gotten a lot more out of it.
- I thought lab was good. Helpful, but sometimes Pete assumed we
knew more than we did (we weren't understanding material in lecture).
Pete is a very good teacher - just go slowly. State the
obvious, to some people it is not obvious, even if it is it's
good to hear it out there. Don't assume we know too much - this if
anything made lab less valuable than it could have been. More
synthesis maybe would have been good - tying all concepts together.
Pete was a very welcome contrast to lecturer approach.
- Lab was full of jokes and you told a lot of jokes & stories while
although interesting most just distrated me from lab. Also you tend
to trail off when talking so the last couple of sentences were mumbled
and inaudible. The lab handouts were GREAT! You made it easy to work
with fancy programs. Thanks.
- The instructor did an excellent job under the circumstances, and
as the professor pointed out on the first day, "more prepared to teach
the course" than she. Pete's "style" put students at ease, but
sometimes translating his non-standard English was a
distraction. I pity the poor student who's not a native
Biostatistics 318M (Lecture Component, 2001) --- U. Texas at Austin
- Good job Pete - kept the class entertained and taught at the same
- The overall organization of the class followed a distinct pattern.
I really liked the examples you used and how they related to real-life
- You are the most entertaining professor I've ever had :-)
- Your enthusiasm is awesome but you lack of organisation has made
me want to cry and/or bring a gun to class on several occasions.
Thanks for making me interested in statistics but help out your future
students by preparing for lecture & creating a coherent thought that
runs through the duration of the class. oh - & I love the
Bootstrapping, Randomization and Experimental Statistics PSYCO 402/505 (2003) --- U. Alberta
- I would recommend this course to other students provided that they
were looking for a source of specific information. Otherwise it might
not be that useful. It's not for everyone. Dr. Hurd violates the
assumptions of normality, but he is robust.
- Great course! I think there should be an official lab for the
course so we can learn more programming techniques & tackle more
difficult problems. I think that either 531 should be a course
prerequisite or a couple of classes should be devoted to basic stats
- The UofA. needs to hire more professors like Dr. Hurd.
Behaviour in relation to genetics P372 (2003) --- U. Alberta
- Dr. Hurd is obviously very smart. He is just a bad teacher. He is
only enthusiastic regarding things that are not part of the course
i.e. the lives of past scientists - and because of this, you can only
really hear what he's saying during these parts of the class. He has
mentioned that he diesn't like parts of the material covered - and you
get a feel that that he really doesn't care for any of it. Being in
class rarely serves useful, and ofteen is a test of staying awake. To
his benefit, Dr. Hurd is GREAT when asked questions one-on-one. Very
helpful and patient. As far as testing goes - horrible.
- Dr. Hurd is an expert in his field. He was well-prepared &
knowledgable @ all times. He was especially helpful outside the
class. However, he needs to work on his teaching methods. He has to
talk louder, even with the microphone on. Also, it seemed like you had
to go home & read the textbook to clarify the concepts he was trying
to convey across during the lecture (not vice versa).
- I have taken over 40 courses at the U of A and I found this course
to be one of the worst I have experienced. The instructor was
ineffective and unclear. He did not speak clearly and often went off
on irrelevant tangents.
- I do appreciate that the prof tried to make what he saw as dull
material at times, slightly more entertaining with personal
- Peter Hurd was a great instructor. He was very knowledgeable
about the subjects he taught and full of energy. I liked how he added
tidbits of his own research, or used some of his colleagues' research
(or behaviour) to illustrate a point.
- The exam questions a bit too vague.
- I appreciate your enthusiasm for this subject. I did not expect
so much genetics content in this course. I feel the course
description needs to be altered. I think you may have focussed
too much on the genetic aspects of behaviour in class, and
perhaps the extra time in class could have been used more effectively
by elaborating on the psychlogy side of the topics covered in
- The class was very boring and needs to be made more exciting.
- The enthusiasm shown about the subject made the class 100X more
- I thouroughly enjoyed Pete's enthusiasm & knowledge of the subject
area. Very inspiring. The shuffling & mumbling still needs work.
- Instructor needs to be slightly better prepared and a little
calmer and more focussed in lecture.
- Dr. Hurd is a very enthusiastic professor, with a lot of
potential. It is unfortunate he lectures to his feet + hands rather
than the class. Eye contact would do wonders for students
participation in class. He has a very good understanding of class
material but explains things in a rather complex way. I hope to see
him teaching more courses and improving his teaching techniques. I
think he is an asset to Psychology and will eventually make a
very good and inspiring (for research) professor.
- The course got much better + more organized and the semester went
on. It would be nice to have the notes up a little sooner than an hour
before class. Research examples that weren't from the textbook were
good, but not always clearly explained in the notes.
- The concept of the validity heritability is questionable, and
after reading the assigned paper that showed the downsides of
heritability, I feel that this course was a waste of time. [...] The
instructor was very interesting though and obviously very passionate
about his work which helped to make the class a little more
interesting. I would have really enjoyed him as a proffessor in a
Aggressive behaviour P403/505 (2004) --- U. Alberta
- Enjoyed the way this course was designed. - ie. lack of "exams"
per se made the assignments projects more focussed on specific
interest areas; lots of room to explore individual interst areas
within the course subject area was refreshing in comparison to the
majority of other institutional courses!
- The poster presentations should be done earlier in the course.
This would have made me more comfortable speaking in front of the
- I admire the instuctor's humble approach with the students. Keep
it up! We need more like him around!
- Although I think that the course was poorly organized, I really
appreciate Dr. Hurd's enthusiasm and knowledge in the subject area.
The grading scheme was not clear, nor the requirements for the
projects/papers. A more explicit presentation of the course objective
and expectations would make the class more coherent.
Basic Psychological Processes PSYCO 104 (2001, 2002, 2003) --- U. Alberta
- At the beginning of this course, Professor Hurd was witty,
engaging and well prepared. As the course progressed however, he
seemed to be tired. If he could maintain his initial energy he would
be an excellent prof.
- The only complaint is that at the beginning Pete went way too
fast, but once he slowed down everything went smoothly.
- You are a good prof, you make psych interesting, more than I can
say for my other classes.
- Pete is funny and made this course way more interesting than it
- Pete was great but the material was a little dry. I guess that's
first year psych for you.
- He was a pretty good prof. His notes were a bit bare but since
they coincided well with the text, it was not an issue at all. Some
of the stories he told helped me to remember what I was studying.
- Pete's stories (which related to topics) helped make the course
interesting and fun during areas otherwise dry in material. He had
great energy and enthusiasm which showed while teaching.
- I enjoyed this course. When he used personal experiences to
illustrate concepts it was very helpful and interesting. My favorite
class. I would have preferred a smaller class though so discussion of
topics was easier.
- The stories Pete told were relevant and funny at the same time.
The notes on the web were good as well and they helped with the
- The prof seemed to ramble on about unimportant drivel. Was
over-enthusiastic about the same drivel. The text is the only real
source of information, and even that was a waste of $140 or whatever
absurdly high price the bookstore charges. Prof. Hurd was also
disorganized. He hade [sic] to use student's notes on more than one
occasion because he forgot his notes. Usually gets side tracked for
anywhere from 5-15 minutes telling some story that has no relevance at
all. Sometimes multiple stories are told in one class period wasting
as much as 1/2 hour. Inappropriate language constantly used. Seemed
to enjoy teaching but regarded it as a joke. The research portion was
unnecessary. It is not my problem if the grad students can't find a
monkey to experiment on. The fact that students are required to
participated [sic] or do some equally stupid essay shows how pathetic
this research is - Does the textbook not say that a diverse sampling
of subjects is needed to generalize results?
- Peter is very enthusiastic and makes this 'boring course' more
interesting. I really enjoyed how he did not elaborate on subjects
other than psychology.
- The instructor knew the material he was teaching well and
attempted to make it interesting in class. He was a bit disorganized
at times (notes on the web late) and I found his notes to be a bit
bare. The course itself is boring and the textbook is horrible and
filled with useless Canadian information tidbits that I really don't
care about. If the textbook was more concise, the information woudn't
be as boring. I don't care about Canadian research grants in 1933 and
other useless crap like that. Prof Hurd made a valient effort in
trying to make the course interesting but the material and textbook
overwhelmed this effort resulting in an unintersting and unhelpful
class that stifled my desire to learn more about psychology.
- Great course, effective instruction. Awesome class
- Dr Hurd is nice and interesting but I think he should go to a
Toast Master's class. He doesn't know how to public speak, he moves
around too much, dances, waves his arms, doesn't finish sentences and
never looks the class in the face (always looks at the floor or
- This is my 2nd year and this is the best prof I've had. I have
even dragged friends who are not in the class just to see him teach.
Prof Hurd was funny and enthusiastic and a good, good prof. His notes
on the web were comprehensive, he treated students with respect and
always stayed late to answer questions. He used examples that made
concepts stay in your mind. This is the only class I enjoy going to
and studying for. I have recommended him to other students.
- The professor seemed as though he may be more suitable for another
- Prof Hurd brings tremendous enthusiasm to the course (although he
seems to be preoccupied with sex, drugs & violence).
- I found that Prof Hurd was interesting to listen to and he shared
fun examples. However, I would have appreciated more development of
ideas... I found some classes were repitious of textbook material
- More time giving textbook definitions would be helpful as although
I could think of examples for some of the terms, I didn't always know
exactly what they meant.
- On principle I disagree with the trend towards extremely large
classes especially found at the intro level - this automatically lends
the nature of the instructor to multiple choice exams and also is not
productive in teacher-student interaction; very little opportunity to
actually learn and apply knowledge/principles. It encourages blind
regurgitation. I am disappointed with this class.
- Multiple choice exams for this exam are inappropriate. Long answer
would be better.
- Dr. Hurd was excellent, just hilarious. Exams were too easy
though. They need to be more challenging.
- It would be most useful if the instructors notes were more in
depth as the lectures. There was no point in coming to the lectures
if you did the readings because class times that was used was more so
a 'review' of the material, rather than having the instructor teach it
as though we were learning it for the first time.
- Pete was enthusiastic and genuinely happy about psychology and
teaching. The notes on the web, textbook and his lectures were all
well organized so they went together and were relevent to the exams.
He was a great prof.
- Moved too much. Talked about non-relevant
content. Boring. Repetitive. Not a good prof!
- DON'T EVER CHANGE THE WAY YOU TEACH!!!
- Notes on web good, but kind of took away from the point of
lectures. Told too many irrelevant stories
- More examples of practice tests
- Please, please, please don't make the room so dark! That really
- Too many typos in notes. Notes off web really random &
disorganized, didn't help for exams at all & rarely made sense. Good
thing for the text & exams based on that, notes arent organized to
text book really. Prof needs to have more availability & reply to
emails. Shuffling feet of prof distracting. Mumbling wasn't too bad.
Don't really know what to write as notes from lecture very random &
doesn't seem related. Prof needs to repeat questions asked in class
so everyone can hear them. This is the most talkative class I have
ever been in, say "Shut up!" more. For the past month there have been
no research projects. I check everyday. Its impossible to get
seven done. Apparently they custom-make the projects you can pick from
depending on how you answer teh questionaire/mass testing but that's
not fair, I need bonus credits too!!
- The review sessions were very helpful, as well as the webnotes. I
have enjoyed this class and you have been a great instructor. A WebCT
site would have helpful with a discussion board.
- The skittles are angry
- The instructor always ended class 2 minutes early and after one
semester thats like 50 minutes wasted... or $25 of my money. Other
than that the instructor was amazing, marvelous, fantastic and made
coming to class a pleasure.