Sara Via

41 reviews
Average rating: 2.15




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BSCI370

Expecting a B
sjemt 05/01/2016
Dr. Via may be a good researcher, but she is not a good professor nor does she appear to be knowledgable about the course material she is supposed to be teaching. Via was simply not effective in communicating course material, and often seemed to become lost in thought trying to process the information on her slides. On many occasions, the professor would stare blankly at the powerpoint while she tried to figure out what the information that most likely she herself had put together, stating (verbatim), "I'm not really sure what this slide is saying, but you guys should understand it for the test." I have taken numerous ecology, genetics, animal behavior, and even philosophy of evolution courses prior to taking BSCI370, so I came into this class with considerable knowledge of the subject. I was very excited to take this course because evolution is my major and my passion, and I can honestly say I was very disappointed. The questions on the homework assignments were often incoherent, making it impossible to determine the true intention of the question and ultimately resulting in an incorrect answer because the student simply had to guess. When student concerns were brought to Via regarding these incoherent homework questions, she simply stated that she does not do regrades for homework assignments. Even when she had her TA grade the assignments, leaving room for error, Via refused to investigate student concerns about misgrading. The TA was instructed to grade assignments, yet did not seem to be able to apply a greater understanding of the subject matter when student answers strayed slightly from exactly what the rubric said. On one occasion, in regards to hominid evolution and migration to the Americas, Via asked a T/F question on a homework assignment stating "Early humans migrated from Asia on boats to colonize America". While this statement has never been in any textbook or published scientific literature upon a detailed search on online search engines, Via had included it in her powerpoint for class, leading the student to believe this answer was correct. In class the day the assignment was due, Dr. Via said that in her "opinion", the Bering Strait and Siberia is not a part of Asia, and that was her reasoning for marking that question "false". When a student brought her concern to Dr. Via that the Bering Strait and Russia are considered to be part of the Asian continent by the majority of geographical textbooks and societies, she simply stated she didn't agree, so she would keep it marked incorrect on the assignment. Overall, this course was extremely disappointing. Dr. Via did not effectively communicate course material, nor demonstrate any understanding of the information she was supposed to be presenting. When a science professor states, "I'm not sure how people figure out the biomechanics of how fossils lived", it does not create much confidence in the professor for the student. I am thoroughly disappointed that the course was not informative whatsoever, and the professor was unable to communicate anything outside of the information in the textbook.
BSCI106

Expecting an A
ButiwantedanA 12/05/2014
I thought that Via's class was extremely adequate, but that she was a good lecturer. Her power points (posted online) had everything you needed for the tests, and there is a lot of extra credit. The homeworks helped with comprehension of course material, and she makes herself available to help students who need it. She posts many many things to study from. I feel like I didn't learn very much in this class (except for the last part of domains and classes), but it was fairly easy to get a good grade because she was good at presenting material. Also, her old tests are almost exactly the same as her current.
BSCI106H

Expecting an A-
btc5105 03/16/2012
She is an okay lecturer. She covers the material and knows her stuff, but I understand how people can find her to be somewhat rude. Her exams are not terribly difficult and she does not curve, so you'll have to actually study some. The notes that she posts online are pretty much her entire lecture so you're not missing too much if you miss a few lectures. She does drop one exam which helps. One problem that I have with her as a professor though is that she has a few lectures which really do not give any useful information towards the course. For example, when we began to discuss evoltuion, she spent an entire class discussing religion vs evolution. Also, after the last exam (before the final) she discusses lots of sustainability issues and inputs her own ideologies into her lectures, which i found unnecessary. Overall though, I think she's a decent professor and it is quite easy to get an A. She also gives a lot of extra credit oppurtunities. As for the lab part, in honors you have to do 2 full lab reports, and don't have to do the weekly quizzes, which I found to be useful. The TAs (at least mine) do not really tell you how to write the reports so previous knowledge in writing lab reports would be useful for this class.
BSCI106H

ndk999 12/02/2011
Professor Via was a great teacher in my opinion. An entertaining lecturer, always has great examples, very fair tests, and no clicker questions. She gives over 30 points extra credit throughout the course, and holds review sessions before tests. Although she comes off as rude, she has a very organized teaching style and I learned a lot from her class. And, the tests are composed of the lectures, so there are no real surprises. I would definitely recommend her!!
BSCI106

goldilox 11/01/2011
Absolute worst professor I've had in 4 years of college- extremely unapproachable and condescending.
BSCI106

Expecting a B
Anonymous 10/11/2011
Via was enthusiastic and was a good lecturer. I liked that she always found many examples of the lecture material to help us understand it better. Watch out though, because those fun examples easily find their way to exams and I wasn't prepared for that the first time. My TA was good, but lab seemed pretty disjointed with lecture. They vaguely connected but it's not like they helped me get a deeper understanding of the lecture material, which is what we were being tested on.
BSCI106

Expecting an A
Anonymous 04/26/2011
Her lectures are easy to follow. She puts her lectures online and the material on the exams are from the lectures, not from the book. She has occasional homework assignments but they are extremely brief and take 10 minutes to do. She also gives out several extra credit assignments which is really nice. Don't be intimidated by her, it's not a difficult course and the material is easy to learn. If you study for the exams you'll be fine and definitely get an A without putting forth too much effort.
BSCI106

Anonymous 12/22/2010
AWEFUL... probably one of the very worst professors. Very rude and condescending. Funny, because her lectures dont add up to her attitude.
BSCI106S

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 12/18/2010
A lot of people bash on Dr. Via, but I don't think she deserves it. If you study a day or two in advance for her tests, you'll do fine. The lab is easy and she gives around 40 points of extra credit. The things she does in class are actually kind of funny - don't take her too seriously. She's very opinionated, you'll see it when she starts talking about evolution and religion. Go to the review sessions and stay after and talk to her. She says she gets to know a few students this way and it could end up helping you. Find her past exams and study them, they will be 60% of the current exam. Don't read the textbook. At all. All of her tests are based on her lectures. Take good notes and study from her outlines. Actually read the lab manual for the prelab quizzes, it'll help you study for the lecture exams.
BSCI106

Expecting a B
lgordon1 12/17/2010
Definitely have mixed feelings about this course/professor as well. The material doesn't seem that bad, and she makes the tests seem like they're no big deal, but that's not really true. I did pretty badly on all of the exams, but you do get to drop the lowest exam and quiz grade, and lab will boost your grade as well. I did like that she held study sessions pretty often and offered extra credit, but she is very hard to approach and can come off very condescending and rude. Overall, I did learn, and could probably do a lot better in the class knowing what I do now.
BSCI106

Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/16/2010
Everyone is being way to harsh on Dr. Via. I personally think she is a perfectly fine professor, I like the system she has for grading which includes multiple extra credit assignments and the ability to drop your lowest exam grade. She's a bit quirky but hey whatever it takes to keep you awake. The only advice I have is GO TO LECTURE- her exams are based of what SHE goes into great detail about, not the book. Also, do the extra credit, not only does it boost your grade but it honestly helps you do better on the exams.
BSCI106

Expecting an A+
cmoore16 12/15/2010
Dr. Via is an OK teacher. Sometimes it's hard to approach her and ask a question, but her outlines are really simple to understand. However, this class isn't as impossible as everyone makes it seem. She posts study questions before tests, and if you do them and study the answers, you'll be fine (as she tends to put in a couple of questions pretty much there). It is a hard class, and you'll have to study at least 3 days in advance. Just know her outlines and study questions and pay attention in class. She gives out 40 points of extra credit which can really boost your grade, and if you have a good TA, the lab will boost your grade as well. Overall, it's a pretty fair class.
BSCI106

Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/13/2010
Dr. Via is not a very good teacher. She makes the class really hard to understand a lot of the time, and her tests are kind of confusing. That being said, if your TA is good and you get good grades in lab, you'll be fine. Lab is 240 points, and I had a really good TA, which got me a lot of points. There was also like 30 points of extra credit in the class which really helps.
BSCI106

Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/12/2010
Everyone is bashing on Dr. Via. Wow. I'll start with the downsides of this class: I'll be honest. Yes, Dr. Via is a bit hard to approach, but when you do get the chance to talk to her, she's not that bad of a person. Her class is hard-I'll give you that. Her exams are almost impossible (unless you have access to old exams) so find someone who has taken her class and study from their past exams...it helps a LOT. She also expects you to know and memorize minute details. (That can get kinda annoying and frustrating) WHO CARES ABOUT THE STUPID BEE DANCE?! (Memorize that. Seriously. It has shown up on all her past exams) Upsides of this class: You learn a LOT--more than you possibly ever wanna know. She's pretty organized with her lectures and she always posts her lectures online so you can print them out and make notes on them during her lecture (THIS HELPS A LOT) Bottom line is: You're in for a challenge. Don't be lazy. Study hard and ask questions.
BSCI106

Expecting a B-
Anonymous 12/08/2010
Dr. Via is no good! Considering this is ONLY an intro course, she expects too much from her students. First off, she goes into excessive detail on the lecture outlines. There is just too much stuff and it's all presented very quickly. She spends half a second on each bullet point and maintains that frenetic pace for the entire lecture. If you ask for clarification, half the time she will pretend not to hear/understand you. Then, when you try to go over the outlines on your own time, you find that they are impossible to decipher because everything is phrased so weird. Second, everything under the sun seems to be fair game for the exams. If you don't memorize every little detail from the lecture notes, expect points off. Via also has a tendency to stick random textbook questions on there just for kicks. The one good thing about this course is the amount of leeway that is given in terms of grading. You get to drop your lowest exam and your lowest lab quiz, and there are bonus point questions which can give your grade a significant boost if you do all of 'em. There are also a lot of indirect grade boosters such as the lab quizzes (easy 100 points) and study questions (easy 40 points). I bombed the first exam (E) and did fine on the second one (high B). Didn't even bother taking the third one. Now it's the week before finals and I've got an 88%. Unfortunately, my chances of walking away with an A are nonexistent, so I'm just going to wing the final and take a low B.
BSCI106S

Anonymous 12/02/2010
Dr.Via is one of the worst teachers imaginable. If you want to keep your sanity, do not take her class. She not only is a horrible teacher, but she is also rude, inconsiderate, and ill-mannered towards her students. Her exams are UNREASONABLE!!! She expects you to memorize the exact wording of the lectures and if you know the answer but don't put it in her exact wording, it is wrong. So, it is entirely possible that you can study a lot and know all the material and still fail the exams. Bottom Line: Don't get Via, if you have to move around all your classes or get inconvienient times, just do it.
BSCI106

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 12/22/2009
Mixed feelings about this course. Via knows what shes talking about (most of the time - but couldn't explain C and N cycles in an exam review). She has very important messages about climate change, habitat destruction, and mountain top coal removal, all things i care about a great deal, but the way she prevents her knowledge about the subjects is very bullyish and abrasive. Plus side is - hardly studied and I got a B+ after 70's on all three exams. It kills me because if I had studied a little more I could have gotten an A. Via is survivable and okay - but take another professor if you can.
BSCI106H

Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/18/2009
Ok this class is not that bad despite some of these reviews! You don't even have to read the book once!! If you just study her lecture outlines, which are posted online, you will be fine for her exams. Also her clicker points this semester were easy points, we got all of the points just by being there and clicking in an answer, even if it was wrong. A lot of people got 90/90 points for that. Also there's lots of opportunity for extra credit and a test is dropped. Worst thing about this class is that she doesn't really curve. Plus BSCI106 is boring and a pain no matter who you take.
BSCI106

made4tv09 12/18/2009
Uninteresting, crazy and weird. I did not enjoy her class. It was beyond boring...Her exams were so pointless. The types of questions she asks sometimes you can't figure out how to answer them because of the wording. She also uses the ever-so-deadly multiple multiple questions which are also worded weird. The book isn't really needed. Uses way too many examples and you won't know which one will show up on the exams...Sorry if you get her.
BSCI106

Anonymous 12/17/2009
DONT TAKE THIS CLASS. i read the reviews for her before i took it but i figured that she couldn’t be all that bad. she was. this was the hardest class i took all semester - i studied for over 18 hours straight for the final and i still think i did awful. 1. she posts outlines online which are sometimes helpful, but most of the time are just missing WAY too many words and have weird fill in the blanks. 2. she gives tons of examples in class that she expects you to remember verbatim on the tests (but she gets mad if you use her examples in study questions...) 3. MULTIPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS ARE THE WORST THING EVER 4. she's an okay lecturer but is pretty rude to people asking questions and is REALLY tricky and mean about her clicker (attendance) points 5. she gives extra credit which is a plus.. maybe about 20 pts total for a semester of 600+ pts 6. lab was alright, i loved my TA which helped. we went over a lot of what was done in lecture, which (surprise surprise) was the stuff i actually learned rather than just memorizing. 7. when you get near the end of the class, for the 3rd exam, she expects you to memorize random phylums and pull examples out of her confusing confusing outlines wow really long review. but just DONT take this class period, even if you have to move around other classes to take it. i studied my butt off and im still getting probably a C
BSCI106

Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/16/2009
Via has the most boring and horrible lectures. She uses clicker questions against you, (asking extra clicker questions if she sees students leaving after a clicker). She will call you out during a lecture if she catches you leaving the class early. She is the most pretentious and RUDE woman I have ever met. You must study a lot in order to do well in this course. It is not only about reading the book or going to lectures, her exams are all about actually understanding the concepts and analyzing it. STAY AWAY FROM HER CLASSES! she has multiple-multiple choice questions... wtf?!?!
BSCI106

Expecting a B?
Anonymous 12/16/2009
She's horrible. Her outlines are online and since she "forgot" to upload some of our clicker points (I had earned well over what I ended with) there is really no reason to go to class and listen to her drone. Especially since half the time she can't even decipher her own slides or really doesn't seem like she knows what she's saying. Entirely too many statements started with "So I was learning about this last week..." Like everyone before said, the exams are awful. If you do take her, make sure you remember every example she gives in lecture because it's fair game on the exam. The exams require you to have memorized and know evvvvvverything backwards and forwards, with averages usually in the low 70s. Condescending is the understatement of the century. The only bright side is that she does offer some extra credit. My roommate takes BSCI106 with Jensen and loves it. Individual exams are even curved in that class.
BSCI106

Expecting a c?
Anonymous 12/15/2009
Don't listen to all the enthusiasm about Dr. Sara Via: nice interesting and helpful. She is the rudest human being I have ever met. She is so disrespectful, taunting students during class and threatening them with studying for her impossible exams. Her lectures are more like a performance, in which she obsesses and humiliates herself repeatedly. STAY AWAY STAY AWAY STAY AWAY.
BSCI106

Expecting a B
laurelapollo 12/01/2009
AVOID THIS PROFESSOR IF YOU CAN. I never knew someone so pretentious. Her lectures are very unorganized and sometimes I wondered if she even knew what she was talking about. I once made the mistake of emailing a possible mistake she might have made in lecture about DNA and she replied that she doesn't know much about it and made a guess as to why she is right. Her tests are unbelievable. Its not enough for you to know the material but to be able analyze it like it was an question in English class. She also likes harping about how evolution disproves the creationism a little to much.
BSCI106

Anonymous 08/20/2009
Ok so I'm not reviewing this prof, I just wanted to tell you all that if you buy the international edition of the Scott Freeman book you could pay about $45 from bookholders instead of $170 from ubc. It's the EXACT same thing, same # of pages with same print and pics on them.
BSCI106H

cninferno 06/05/2009
I hated her class. Yes, she was a good lecturer, but her tests were impossible and she was very condescending and almost ignorant. Her tests are formatted so there can be multiple correct answers on her multiple choice (commonly known at UMCP as "multiple-multiple choice questions"). Her lectures never really followed the textbook, which can be frustrating if you want to clarify a point she made in class. She also hates it if you use laptops during lectures, even if the students use it to type lecture notes. So, if you want to get all the notes down, I suggest you speed up your note-taking skills or bring a voice recorder.
BSCI106

Expecting a C
jaboomday 05/29/2009
I really liked Dr. Via as a person and as a lecturer. But what really killed me about her was her impossible tests. They're seriously impossible. She does this multiple/multiple choice where more than one answer can be correct, all of them can be correct, or none of them can be correct. It's so confusing! I hated the class because I have absolutely no interest in studying phylogeny of plants/algae.
BSCI106H

Anonymous 05/27/2009
She is not very nice and very condescending. She seems to think that she's like the smartest person ever and that all the students are stupid little children. She repeatedly lectures the people who actually attend class that if they skip class they will fail. It's like, why is she lecturing the people who are actually there about not being there!? Also, her lectures are really unorganized and hard to understand, and she focuses on details that are really not that essential to understanding ecology and evolution, while skipping over topics that are ACTUALLY important. Also, she is an environmental fanatic who seems to think that doomsday is coming any time now and she makes up "facts" such as "rainforest economics" that don't make any sense (especially if you already known something about REAL economics).
BSCI106

Anonymous 04/12/2009
I had more fun in bsci106 than in any other class that semester. Via made things interesting, easy to understand, and her tests are straightforward. Definitely utilize other materials, like the book, and MasteringBio if you want a good grade in this course, but even if you don't, it's not that hard to do well on tests. She will let her political opinions be known, however, so if you are bothered by liberal viewpoints, she may not be the best choice for you.
BSCI106

Anonymous 04/10/2009
She is evil. She hates when people walk into class late. Many of the things that she states when she is teaching are false and she is a terrible professor.
BSCI106H

Expecting an A
DN12 01/01/2009
I love Dr. Via! She is a pretty nice person and is helpful. At times she does seem annoyed, but overall she is still a good teacher.. And she will interact with you pleasantly if she recognizes you are truly interested (sit in the front, stay awake, talk to her after class about lecture). Via's tests have been multiple-multiple choice, and they are pretty good because you can have a chance to get some points even if you dont know all of the answers. My best advice is to form a study group. I did, and the results were great, if you can teach it yourself, you'll know it on the test! The tests aren't bad at all, and she drops the lowest one, and drops 2 online quizzes. Her lecture outlines are good, despite what everyone says. They have some minor mistakes on them, but they're not unusable. The best way to make use of them is to COME TO LECTURE and annotate the outlines with extra things she says in lecture, it helps, I got an A doing it. And always come back to the outlines when studying, especially with phylogeny, because you are expected to know it well. Give Via a chance, she's a respectable prof.
BSCI106

Expecting a C
what the hell!!! 12/22/2008
Via is only good at research and nothing else. Her weekly quizzes are extremely confusing. her multiple multiple choice is just intimidating. doesn't respect students and regardless of the fact that you study, you still going to get an average score on the exam unless you are Isaac Newton. SHE IS A BAD BORING HORRIBLE TEACHER, I AM SCARED OF HER. Occasionaly, she crack jokes which is not funny but weird.
BSCI106

Anonymous 12/05/2008
Reads off her powerpoint presentations. might as well not go to class, but even then her notes are not very organized and hard to understand when looking back at them. she makes an easy class confusing.
BSCI106

Expecting a C
Anonymous 12/05/2008
STAY AWAY FROM VIA! I REPEAT STAY AWAY FROM VIA!. she makes everything harder than it needs to be, tries to confuse you one weekly quizes and midterms. shes not really friendly and is extremely sarcastic. She doesnt care about your grade. does a bell curve even though she does not like to admit it. so the same amount of people getting A's will get D's.
BSCI106H

Expecting an A
jessgord 11/15/2008
Via was a terrible professor. Her powerpoints and outlines always contained mistakes and she seemed annoyed at anyone who asked a question...didn't respect students at all. Then again, the material isn't hard and even if you're stuck with her, you'll do really well if you study enough. Exams are the standard BSCI multiple-multiple choice plus some short answer. Lab's not too bad.
BSCI106

Expecting an A
Anonymous 09/27/2008
Although her lecture outlines were useless and confusing I found her exams pretty easy. If you paid attention during review session exam should go well.
BSCI106C

Anonymous 03/31/2008
I only liked her for the first lecture, and from there my opinion of her plummeted. She reads directly from her lecture notes so there is no point in going to class. I got an A in the course and skipped a good 2/3 of the classes once I figured out there was no point in going. The material isn't too hard and she tests you right from the lecture outline in addition to holding review sessions, though I never went. She also posts study questions with the answers, so it IS helpful in studying for the exams. The quizzes she gives are badly worded and it was hard to pick out an approriate answer. She didn't like you to ask her questions and like the others said, spent way to much time campaigning to save the rainforest. Aside from her boring lectures and lack of teaching skills, I didn't find the course too diffucult.
BSCI106C

Expecting an A
Anonymous 03/26/2008
This woman is perhaps the WORST biology professor I have ever encountered. She makes it very clear in the beginning of the course that she should be our last resort for help.She skipped important material in lecture to cover instead reasons that we should recycle and ways to save the rainforest. One lecture on that would have been enough but she managed to lecture about it for more than two weeks. She skipped human evolution even though it was still covered on the exam . The projector stopped working during the phylogeny lecture and although she didnt cover the material we were still expected to know ALL of the material for the exam. Dont even bother going to the last lecture on case studies because it is a pure waste of time as she goes through 50 min of the different organizations that are trying to save the rain forest.
BSCI106

Expecting a C
Anonymous 12/16/2007
I came to BSCI 106 with such enthusiasm and ready to work and give it all i got. Hoping for a good professor, unfortunately i got Via. She is very disorganized and could care less about her students. Her tests are practically undoable. I would not recommond her to BSCI 106, and avoid her at all costs.
BSCI106

Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/05/2007
I'll second the contention that Dr. Via is extremely pretentious and pedantic does not even begin to cover the adjectives I could use. She assigns weekly quizes that once was due the night before a midterm. I am honestly blown away by what this woman considers rational in the assessment department (far too much: one quiz per week, 3 exams, two major homework assignments a major scientific paper 10-12 pages, a lab practical, and expects us to be able among our other course obligations) given her whirlwind lectures darting from one set of minutia to the next and often not in synch with lecture outlines. I never missed one solitary lecture, but very frequently she would berate the class on the poor attendance (to those who were conscientiously attending mind you)and it would seem as far as my personal opinion that she often tried constructing the quizes in such a manner as to "trick" those who didn't attend... I'll let you deduce the problem with that logic. I feel she aims to punish rather than teach and her mammoth impetuous ego and not the teaching ability to back it up is exactly why this is the worst professor I've had in my 80+ accrued credit hours at a current 4.0 G.P.A. I also agree with those who mentioned her disorganization and skipping of important concepts of ecology and evolution.
BSCI106H

Anonymous 10/30/2007
I wouldn't recommend that anyone take Dr. Via's class if it can be avoided. She is not very receptive of students' questions, sometimes treating questions with frustration or acting like the student was stupid for asking. She doesn't do a good job explaining the material covered in BSCI106, just rushes through powerpoints that don't make a whole lot of sense. She spends a lot of time on less important things and little time on the topics students have difficulty understanding. She has quickly lost the respect of many of the students.