David Akin

7 reviews
Average rating: 2.00




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ENAE483

Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/06/2018
Everything you hear about Dr. Akin being hard to get a hold of, forgetting to post assignments, etc. is true. That said, 483 is both one of the most interesting and useful courses in the aerospace major and he teaches it well. He recognizes his lack of organization and is generally happy to grant extensions and remove problems for assignments posted late if you ask. Despite the communication and scheduling issues, I have enjoyed the course and learned a great deal.
ENAE483

Anonymous 12/07/2016
I'm shocked and confused about the reviews below, enough to write my own which I never do. Dr. Akin is an extremely caring, intelligent, and passionate teacher. His 483 class is one of the best I've taken in my entire college career. No, he doesn't hold your hand. His deadlines are fluid and he's forgetful. However he treats his students with respect and is willing to show the same understanding towards your busy schedule as he expects that you, as his student, will show him. As long as you don't have a stick up your butt and are able to be somewhat flexible, you will thoroughly enjoy having Dr. Akin as a professor
ENAE483

Expecting an A
Anonymous 06/19/2012
Akin is an awful professor. If it is not too late take the aero track and do not take any electives with Akin as the professor. Here's the bottom line with Akin: He is so disorganized that he will never return any of your homework sets. He will return your midterm 1.5 weeks before the final, so you better hope you did well on the exam you took a month and a half ago. He will also give you homework with less than 5 days to do it. Then he will give an extension at 12:30 the night before it is due. In 484 he will not be involved with your project. The only time he will give you feedback is at the reviews where he and his grad students will snicker at you because what you are proposing is ridiculous to them. He will not give you any grades throughout the semester so he may as well be randomly assigning grades at the end of the semester. He also does not seem to care that you need your grade to graduate or that the grades are actually due by a certain time. Overall, 484 is a class that should be the best class in college and Akin makes it the worst. But let's dive into this. At one point we had a parts list all ready to go. We heard nothing from Akin, but ran into him by happenstance when trying to talk to another professor. We asked him about our parts list and he said that one of the grad students wanted to check it over in its entirety. So we went to that grad student who said Akin doesn't do shit and he didn't get the parts list. Then he and a different grad student fought about our parts list until they finally just let it go through. By the time our parts arrived we had 2 weeks to CDR and had to stop thinking about building and start putting slides together. Later on, after CDR I talked to Akin and he said that we should have ordered the parts earlier. Like everyone else who has reviewed Akin, I had a miserable time in his class. The most shocking thing was grading in 484. I don't know how he did it. It was either he had two hats one with our names and one with grades and essentially made grading random or it was based on how much he likes you. He may also call you snotty while his grad students are trying to tear you apart. AVOID AKIN. You will not like his class.
ENAE484

Anonymous 05/25/2012
What are my comments on this class? If I knew how this semester was going to turn out, I would have taken air track just to avoid this one class and my least favorite subject is aerodynamics. Akin keeps telling us 'this is what it'll be like in the real world' and because of that, has convinced me to avoid industry at all costs. I wholeheartedly and absolutely refuse to touch any space systems topic in the future because I never want to deal with anything or anyone like Dr. Akin ever again. The expectations and workload for this class were beyond what is reasonable for a 3 credit course which is supposed to have 9 hours a week of time outside of class. Oftentimes, we as a group spent over 9 hours in a day easily on this project, at times going to 12+ hours. This project would have been much better suited for a year long class. ENAE483, while interesting at times, was completely useless. Listening to a grab bag of topics that go no more in depth than what an hour or two of internet research can tell us does not help us at all for our design project. What we should have been doing was working on the Exospheres vehicle with Akin and the grad students the entire time. The first couple weeks of class, we were given a classroom and told to start designing. Since this was our 'design' time, Akin rarely was found during these class hours. Because of this, we all as a group were very confused on where to start as we were given no direction at all. Then after a week or two of this when he asks for our parts list. After seeing it, he basically goes on a rant, berating us since what we did 'was not engineering' and was 'a piece of shit' in his words. If we were given more specific directions and a guideline of expectations instead of “I want a parts list for this robot in 2 weeks. I'll see you then.” we would have been able to fufill this. I understand that the technical topics that we researched were covered in previous classes, but we needed a bit more guidance from the theory to applying it. It doesnt help when the grad students and Dr Akin himself are both very condescending and short when you try to ask for help. That is, if you can find Dr. Akin in person long enough to ask him a question, because that is the ONLY way to get anything useful out of him. I've started to debate whether to title my subject line in emails to something along the lines of “RESULTS OF DARPA PROPOSAL” because I think he filters anything with ENAE484 to go to trash. Also, the grad students seem very annoyed to help us. Its painfully obvious that they see us as lowly undergrads incapable of understanding and checking numbers. In fact, at one point, it was a detriment as one grad student refused to put the 'OK' stamp to get parts ordered until he checked over every single part himself for a specific subgroup, something that was already double checked by avionics. In the end, it turns out there was no major problem, except for the fact that he delayed the order of parts. The Preliminary Design Reviews (PDR) and Critical Design Reviews (CDR) also seem useful in theory but bad in practice. The grad students that were so short to help us out before to answer any questions spend the 4 hours trying to find every single flaw in our design. At times, it felt like at least one of the grad students was intentionally trying to find flaws with the design. In the end, taking space track was my biggest regret of undergrad. I wish I could do it again but with Palumbo's capstone or design build fly. ENAE484 is a good idea in theory, but Dr. Akin implements it so horribly that I feel like he should be barred from ever teaching this course again. It's clear he spreads himself too thin and that the SSL has higher priority than 484 which is probably barely on his radar. Oh, and I marked N/A for 'Based on the quality of my work in this course, the grades I earned were “ because I have no idea how our grades are determined. I think he arbitrarily assigns people grades based on how much he likes us from the couple min of class he sees us in.
ENAE484

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/16/2012
I don't really know where to start here. So I'll start with this: If this course were indicative of what my real-world aerospace engineering career was going to be like, I would quit. If it were indicative of a single job I would find a new job, where I would not be miserable, and if it were indicative of the entire industry I would find a different industry. The project assigned is entirely unreasonable in scope. With under 20 of us, we were constantly scrambling in order to do what we hadn't necessarily been taught in the previous years. Many of the areas we needed to cover are taught as a graduate course devoted to a single topic, and not only had none of us taken that course, in many cases Dr. Akin was unable to help when asked questions on the topic. It is true to say that he didn't himself understand the project he assigned us. He has in fact on multiple occasions answered questions with false information simply because that was the impression he had of what the physical reality was. It happened to be the wrong impression. To some degree it is hard to say what Dr. Akin could and couldn't help with, because he tended to not respond to emails asking for help. He also tended to show up to class late, or, on multiple occasions, not at all. He split the class into two sections, which means that his attention (already not sufficient) was divided between the two groups. Even had we had the support which we needed, this course would still have required too much work. At three credits it should be nine hours of work (counting in-class work) per week for fifteen weeks, or 135 hours over the semester. I -- along with many of my group members -- put in that amount of work in less than five weeks. And then we did it again. And then again. We worked as hard as we could for our first design presentation, and it was nowhere near good enough. This was due to two factors. 1) We didn't know what we were doing. ENAE483 had not prepared us for this experience, for researching things which our professor could not help with, for becoming experts on topics we'd never considered before in such a short time span. 2) There weren't enough of us to do the work. As I mentioned before, there were a lot of people who invested a lot of time in this course, frequently letting jobs, other classes, and personal commitments fall to the side. And it wasn't enough. We got ripped apart during our presentation, and it wasn't at all in a constructive manner. It consisted of Dr. Akin and his graduate students mocking our attempts at analysis, asking questions to try to trip us up and laughing if they succeeded, and generally trying to prove that they were superior to us in knowledge. This was no surprise to me, they were graduate students and a professor who had had more time to learn these things. There is a lot more I could say, but I'll keep it now to this: almost everyone I speak to in my group says they wish they had gone air track because and only because of this course, Dr. Akin shouldn't be permitted to teach undergraduates, and I really loathed this course. The last five months have been miserable because of it.
ENAE484

Expecting a B
angryfred 04/28/2012
The previous review hits it on the dot. He is the sole reason why you should avoid the space track. It really is that miserable.
ENAE484

Expecting a C
Anonymous 03/07/2012
Dr. Akin is consistently unclear with his expectations. On top of being virtually entirely inaccessible, Dr. Akin is equally as unhelpful in guiding you through the design process. In ENAE483, he will not return your homeworks or midterm, so you will receive no feedback from him throughout the course. I have no idea how he grades that course. ENAE484 is a followup course to ENAE483, where you are expected to design a mission from scratch. Dr. Akin does not equip you with the tools or resources to be able to do this adequately, and then he will rip you apart during your presentations including making fun of you. He has been in the field for many years where he has learned to develop an incredibly large ego. He will constantly cite his own "Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design." Law 4 reads, "Your best design efforts will inevitably wind up being useless in the final design. Learn to live with the disappointment." This is essentially his motto. He is rude and should not be allowed near students. Expect a negative experience. If you have not chosen whether you are doing the aero or astro track yet, I would honestly recommend you choose aero just to avoid him, or transfer to a university with an adequate design professor.