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Teaching Evaluations Summary

Michael D. Hattem

KNOX COLLEGE, 2018-2019

The instructor displayed an interest in my learning.

Me: 4.6 Dept: 4.6 College: 4.5

The instructor created an in-class environment that was conducive to learning.

Me: 4.5 Dept: 4.4. College: 4.3

The instructor challenged me with new or unfamiliar ideas.

Me: 4.7 Dept: 4.5 College: 4.4

The instructor provided helpful feedback.

Me: 4.4 Dept: 4.3. College: 4.2

The instructor provided clear explanations of important ideas.

Me: 4.6 Dept: 4.5. College: 4.3

The instructor simulated my enthusiasm for the subject.

Me: 4.5 Dept: 4.3. College: 4.2

The instructor was well prepared.

Me: 4.6 Dept: 4.4. College: 4.4
THE NEW SCHOOL, 2017-2018

Overall, my learning experience in this course was positive


What is your overall rating of this instructor’s teaching effectiveness?


What is your overall rating of this course?


The course was well organized.


The course was academically and/or creatively challenging.


The instructor was well prepared.


The instructor used class time effectively.


The instructor’s interactions with students were helpful and respectful.


Knox College, 2018-2019

HIST 373 Women, Gender, and the American Revolution

• I know that myself and many other students are disappointed in that Professor Hattem
will only be here for this year. I would like to take more classes with him, and
unfortunately, an off-campus program prohibits me from taking more classes.

• I know that Professor Hattem is a visiting professor, but I don't really know the logistics
of what that means. I know that in the past there have been visiting professors(such as
Professor Donnally last year) who left Knox. If this is the case with Professor Hattem
please please please do whatever you can to keep him. I'm a senior so it doesn't even
matter to me, but he would be a huge asset to the history department. He's dedicated,
passionate, and brilliant. I can tell that he would help students get into graduate school.
He's also very weird, but in the good nerdy weird/suitable-for-Knox type of way. Knox is
lucky to have him for this year, and I hope that that extends beyond just this year. On a
side note, someone should probably take him to a few jazz nights or something because I
think he spends too much time on his job, and a healthy social life makes
Galesburg/Knox a lot happier.

• Professor Hattem very noticeably cares deeply about each student learning as much as
possible, and regularly displayed interest in our individual learning styles/preferences. He
seemed much more attached to each student genuinely benefiting from the content of his
course than the majority of the other professors I have had at Knox.

• Professor Hattem was legitimately the most thoroughly prepared professor I've ever had.
He put so much work into planning everything and making sure that we had every
possible resource. He also demonstrated background knowledge on the time period to a
kind of insane degree. He's extremely well-read and used it in a helpful way to
supplement information in class rather than a preachy know-it-all way, which was nice.
HIST 275 Race, Sex, and Empire in North America to 1700

• Professor Hattem has been an invaluable resource to me both in my understanding of

American and Atlantic history, but also in my pursuits in applying to graduate school. I
am deeply indebted to Professor Hattem for his contributions to my academic
understandings of the centuries leading-up to the American Revolution while also
imparting upon me the importance of distancing oneself from the teleological approach to
history so that events are better understood as what they are, and not solely for how they
inevitably led into something else. He consistently provides his students with a
multiplicity of viewpoints to a given issue as to widen our understanding of said issue.
His contributions to me in the history department in the short term he has been here have
been numerous and I am incredibly thankful for his help to me.

HIST 295V Origins of American Capitalism

• To be honest I was not very interested in the material but the way in which Hattem taught
and made us think about it made me appreciate the material and gain new information.

• Professor Hattem took time to create the structure of the course, and it was apparent with
the inclusion of relevant and thought provoking readings. Prof. Hattem encouraged
classroom discussion to develop an engaging classroom environment. He emphasized his
availability and provided good feedback on assignments. Prof. Hattem has a deep passion
for his area of study which translated well in his teaching. While it is unfortunate that he
is only a visiting professor at Knox, I am glad that I was able to learn from him this term.

• Professor Hattem created an inclusive and cooperative learning environment. He would

always show up to class well prepared, and I could tell that a lot of thought when into the
reading assignments. The Reading Challenge definitely helped narrow in on key
concepts. I plan on taking another course with Professor Hattem in the future.
• Professor Hattem is an excellent professor who interacts honestly with his students and
tries to bring out the best from each student. He is understanding of circumstances and
has the humility of accepting his mistakes on the rare occasion that he makes one. His
interactions with students are definitely the highlight of his classes.

The New School, 2017-2018

LHIS 2080 The Revolution in American History & Culture

• Professor Hattem was very enthusiastic about teaching the course, which made class
super fun. He was able to keep all his students passionate and engaged about the subject
he was discussing in class. He also chose interesting and effective readings for the course
and good feedback on papers.

• This course was extremely helpful in understanding how history manifests itself in
specific social and political contexts. In previous American history courses I've taken, we
did not look at how histories have informed historical events, and the tools and
perspective provided by this course have helped me in my approach to other courses.
This course, or type of course, should be a standard requirement for history majors.

• Professor Hattem was great. He made the course fun, interesting and engaging. He was
always well prepared and enthusiastic on the topic of discussion, respectful of everyone's
opinions, and encouraging to voice agreements or disagreements. Not only that, but he
would constantly remind us that he was there for any questions and concerns we might
have. Similarly with assignments, he didn't give them for the sake of giving them, but in
order to help us work with difficult material. I am very glad I took this course.

• Professor Hattem is a wonderful instructor. He created an environment that allowed for

interesting, challenging, and entertaining discussions. He also worked with us to improve
our writing skills as both historians and university students.
LHIS 2018 Creating the Atlantic World: Empires, Enlightenments, Revolutions

• Reading Challenges were very useful in getting used to writing in an extremely concise
way. It definitely felt like it would help the way I approach writing my history papers. It
also felt like I paid more attention to the readings as well.

• Terrific teacher and made an 8 am class almost always engaging from the start. I've seen
people fall asleep in 8 ams before but not in this class.

• Professor Hattem enjoys what he teaches and it shows. His love for the material is
highly contagious.

• Professor Hattem very clearly cared about what he was teaching and the thoughts of the
people he was teaching. I think it was very noticeable during class that he encouraged
enthusiasm about the material, and it really made the class fun as well as being

• Michael is an extremely kind, knowledgeable professor that engages his classes in in-
depth, complex, and entertaining discussions. Both semesters that I had Michael as a
professor proved to be extremely valuable and fundamentally changed the way that I
view history. His classes have made me a better writer and historian.

• He was obviously passionate and knew what he was talking about so it was motivating
and reassuring.

• Overall a great teacher. very sad to see him leave from The New School. Wish i had the
chance of taking more of his classes.

• Taking both of Professor Hattem's classes this year was a delight. He does a great job
steering class conversation through all the key points we needed to hit in the readings. He
is also friendly, and makes the classes funny which helped me remember what he were
talking about because there is a good memory to associated it to. Professor Hattem also
makes good use of mixed media (videos and pictures mainly) to supplement whatever it
is we would be talking about. Again, I think this is super effective and helps facts and
arguments stick in my head. Overall, I had a wonderful experience with Professor
Teaching Evaluations Summary

Michael D. Hattem

Note: All courses were taught as a Teaching Fellow in which I was responsible for all of my
discussion sections’ lesson plans and all of the grading, including final grades.

Q: Was the relationship between the section (if any) and the course effective, and how could it be
improved? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your teaching assistant (discussion section
leader, lab section leader, grader or other assistant) as an instructor, and how might his/her teaching
be improved?

HIST 116 The American Revolution

Prof. Joanne Freeman, 7 lectures.

“I can honestly say that this is the first section for a course I've taken at Yale that has been
simultaneously useful/enlightening/perfectly complementary + supplementary to the lectures AND
legitimately enjoyable. I was prepared to have another boring, people-look-around-awkwardly-when-
the-TF-asks-a-question, why-am-I-even-here section (akin to some I've experienced in PLSC
courses) -- but this section couldn't have been any different. It was engaging, enlightening, funny --
really just fantastic. Michael Hattem is THE MAN. Look him up. No, seriously. He is truly and
honestly the best TF I've had yet at Yale. He's an absolute expert in his field but so humble and not in
any way patronizing. He's funny without trying to be. He knows when to jump into a discussion,
when to pose a thought-provoking question, when to challenge you on your ideas, and when to praise
you on your contributions. He's sympathetic and understanding of the trials and tribulations of
undergraduate life. He singlehandedly delivered basically impromptu lectures when Prof. Freeman
was hospitalized for several weeks in a row - and they were great! He also has amazing Constitution-
themed neckties.I think everyone in that section will agree with me when I say that Michael Hattem
is more than an incredible TF -- he's just one of those rare people who are simultaneously brilliant
and *good* and makes you love the class and the material that you're studying. Michael, if you're
reading this -- I know academia's a rough path to take, but please - for the sake of your future
students and the impact you'll have on them - don't ever give up on it.”

“Michael Hattem is probably the best teaching fellow I've had at Yale. While shy at first, he
eventually opened up to us, and became a great section leader, and also a very engaged lecturer
during Professor Freeman's unfortunate illness this term. Mr. Hattem, I now know, works incredibly
hard in all he does, which is apparently a lot. He seems eminently knowledgeable (a breath of fresh
air when so many TFs are lackadaisical and openly lazy). He could lead a section beautifully, and his
comments on written work were always apt. He made clear the point behind all of the work assigned,
even the reading responses, so they didn't feel like ‘busy work.’ Yale would be a paragon of a college
if every TF were like Mr. Hattem.”

“This man is the best TA I have ever had at Yale. Not only did he sub in for multiple weeks of
lecture when Prof. Freedman took ill, he also deftly lead our section to fascinating and lively
discussions. Really stellar historian and teacher. Totally made the course for me.”
“Professor Hattem is phenomenal. In addition to Professor Freeman's amazing lectures, Professor
Hattem is what really made the course as great as it is. He is insanely knowledgable about the topic
and is willing to help all his students at any moment. Professor Hattem would be willing to meet in
person or Skype at anytime to help with readings, proofread drafts, or just talk about the American
Revolution. I had never met such a helpful teaching fellow. I looked forward to go to every
discussion section. He really knew how to facilitate a discussion. We looked at primary sources,
learned about different historiographies, and really got a sense of what history is about. We were
required to write a weekly response to the readings that really helped us understand and critically
evaluate various texts. While the lectures by themselves were great by themselves, it was Professor
Hattem who made the class infinitely better. When Professor Freeman was absent for 3 weeks due to
her being ill, Professor Hattem filled in her place and also gave some amazing and engaging

“Michael was an excellent TF.”

“So impressive. First section I've had at Yale that actually did more than just get me participation by
proving I had done the reading. Perfectly aware of the reality of the work students actually do and
what would be most helpful in anticipation of major assignments and tests.”

“Michael was great. He was so willing to help out with papers and assignments and answer any
questions, and he led really great discussions. He was relatable and had control of the section while
still making it enjoyable for all of us.”

“My TA was good in not only helping us develop our academic skills through weekly reading
responses, but also introduced us as to how to study history. This was unique because it helped me
put a new perspective on history. Furthermore, he asked us very thought provoking questions that
we'd debate during section such as ‘Was the Revolution Radical?’ or ‘What was republicanism?’
This aligned with the course and really helped us focus on the argument of the course in its nuance to
traditional interpretation of those time in history. He led discussions well, and this allowed us to
further analyze this part of history in a new way. He was very knowledgeable and passionate about
the course, gave lectures for our professor while she was out sick, and very good at filling in for her.
He was helpful in helping us review for exams and very helpful and available through email, etc.
throughout the semester.”

“Michael truly cared about his section. He put in a ton of time preparing lessons and was very clear
with what he expected us to learn at the beginning. He was a bit off-putting at the start, but his
gentleness and care earned him the affection of our entire section. My understanding of the
Revolution was greatly augmented by the extra-work he put in providing primary sources and
teaching us. I am very glad I got Michael, and would recommend him as an advisor to anyone.”

“Michael Hattem was the best TA I have ever had!!!! He was invested in the material and made sure
we were as well through reading responses and engaged section discussion. If a student ever had a
question on material or needed help with an essay, Michael would be willing to help any time of

“Michael did a great job! He was clearly very committed to the section - he prepared topics for
discussion, brought in other documents for us to analyze, and spent a long time grading the papers.
Every section meeting had a clear goal. He genuinely wanted to help us become better historians,
which should be an integral part of any history course. Plus he stepped in for Prof. Freeman and gave
a bunch of the lectures (one of which was an original lecture he wrote, a few others which he
modified from her lectures).”

“Section was a great addition to the course; it definitely would not have been as fruitful without it.
The focus on historical analysis really changed the way I think about concepts and their application
in the world. I was afraid at the beginning of the course that the expectations of the section would be
overbearing, but the challenge was gratifying and led to a great appreciation of history. Michael is
great at starting discussion rolling and also playing an important part in the conversation without
dominating it. He did a wonderful job of taking up lectures for a few weeks, and he taught with

HIST 238 The Origins of the British Empire

Prof. Steve Pincus

"Mike is an awesome TA. This course was pretty tough for me, but he was incredibly encouraging.
He's sharp and keeps section moving forward, but is patient and respectful of all students. He
challenges everyone to think critically about the lecture's weekly arguments. I understood a full
week's lectures and readings better from Mike in 50 minutes than I did from Professor Pincus'
lectures, all do respect. I have zero complaints about Mike, he is a standup guy and better teacher. He
cares about his students, more than I can say about many that I've had at Yale. Yale: hang on to this
guy. I'd rather take a seminar with him than any of the other history courses I took this semester."

"Michael Hattem is a fantastic TA. Not only is he interested in getting students to think critically
about both the material and the professor's interpretation (something I really appreciated), but he is
also very warm and creates a sense of openness and enjoyment in the classroom."

"Michael Hattem not only lectured us about history but, more importantly, taught us how to do
history. Each week he would give us tasks that were intended to make us better historians (e.g.
Interpreting primary sources, making a narrative out of them). He also lectured extensively about the
different types of history, historiography and historical method. He always made himself available,
and was willing to offer advice regarding the History major and papers for other History classes.
Michael Hattem is one of the best TA 's I've had. I'll make sure to ask for his advice next year for my
senior thesis."

"The section as directed by Michael Hattem was absolutely instrumental for the class. Without his
constant reminders about the existence of the broader historiography of the origins of the British
Empire, the student is highly susceptible to gaining only a very narrow perspective of history from
the class. Michael, in an effort to better our understanding of history, ensured that every student
gained something more from the lectures and readings than just memorizing specific points about the
debates on political economic ideology. This meant that the discussions were not afraid to critique
Professor Pincus’ arguments, a fact which ultimate enlarged our understanding of not only the British
Empire but also history in general. Discussion were always amazingly facilitated. Since there was an
extensive reading list, Michael often pointed out to students which particular readings or sections
would be discussed without that guidance, section would not have been as fruitful as it was. The
forum posts were also very helpful in clarifying thoughts about the week’s lectures and readings.
Perhaps the greatest strength of Michael is his willingness to help whether in class or outside of class.
No other discussion section leader in my experience has shown Michael’s love of teaching. As a
result, the section was without a doubt the highlight of the entire course."
HIST 127 US Lesbian and Gay History
Prof. George Chauncey

"Michael was a great TA and was very responsive to my concerns. He always was willing to answer
my questions and help me out with my papers. Even though he didn't specialize in gay and lesbian
history, he was still extremely helpful since he used his historical knowledge and applied it to the
course. I felt really lucky to have been in Michael's section. He would make a great TA again for this
course, or frankly any other history course. Thanks for a great semester Michael!"

"Michael was a great TA: serious but funny at the same time, knowledgeable, and willing to admit
that he was still in a learning process when it came to this subject matter. When I told him that I
sometimes had anxiety when speaking up in class, he totally sympathized with me, which was
something I'd never experienced with another TA. Also, he was willing to sit down and go through
flaws in a subpar paper I wrote, and commended me on improving my writing style and content,
which felt great. He's also a very honest person and doesn't try to sugarcoat anything, which is a good
thing because then you know that his compliments/feedback are genuine. I guess if I had to posit one
weakness in his teaching style, I'd say that it sometimes seems as if he already has an established
"right" or "wrong" answer to a question, which in my opinion defeats the oftentimes subjective
nature of history discourse. Other than that, great job Michael I enjoyed having you as a TA."

"Michael seemed to care about his students doing well, and in sections did a good job of pointing out
what was important for us to know from each reading. Overall I think the sections helped me
understand the course material better."

"Michael is dope, as they say. Section was so much fun every week. The only constructive criticism I
can offer is that he sometimes cut off students with leading questions before they could make their
initial point. Their points, more often than not, were what Michael was trying to steer them toward.
But they would have gotten there more quickly if he hadn't prodded them toward it so immediately.
This was a small thing, but it's really the only criticism I can give, which hopefully is indicative of
how awesome section was. I learned a lot from Michael and my classmates in large part because
Michael fostered an open and honest community where we could all exchange ideas and thoughts
freely and without judgment."

"Michael was great! He led section well and did a good job of asking open ended questions that that
got everyone to participate. He also was upfront when he knew we didn't do the reading and
worked around it. Overall, a great TF!"

HIST 119 The Civil War and Reconstruction

Prof. David Blight, 1 lecture.

"Michael Hattem is the best TA that I have had during my four years at Yale. He is understanding,
friendly, engaging, and brilliant. His section may have been more work than the other sections
because he discussed the readings while some other TAs just went over terms and concepts from the
class. However, I thought that this really added to my understanding of the material and forced
students to do a better job of engaging with the readings. Not the best section for slackers, but I
suspect people in this section learned significantly more than in the others. Michael clearly puts a lot
of effort into his job. He writes substantial comments on papers, spends a lot of time creating reading
prompts and reading student responses, he responds quickly to student needs and suggestions, and he
is always willing to meet with students outside of class, to hold extra review sessions, to talk about
your ideas for your papers, etc. I nominated Michael for a teaching prize because he deserves it as
much as any other instructor I've had at Yale. I cannot recommend his section enough. Also, if you
google his name and read his profile on CUNY's website, you'll discover that he has an awesome
backstory. Michael is an all-around great guy."

"AMAZING. Wow he completely made this class worth it. He is absolutely brilliant, his love of
history is infectious, he did an amazing job fostering discussion. He went out of his way to help
students --for example by meeting on "google docs " to go over outlines and making very helpful
suggestions and encouraging us to improve our papers by asking leading and directed questions and
holding a review session fir his two sections. He spent a lot of time crafting reading responses that
make us carefully analyze and evaluate the reading--which really made the texts come alive, made us
think like historians, and helped us learn from the sources. I strongly disliked this class, but I would
100% take it again to have Michael as my TA. He will be brilliant professor one day."

"Michael was a phenomenal TF. He did a great job of leading discussion--asking probing questions,
asking thoughtful follow-up questions based on students' comments, and making sure we didn't spend
too long on one event, theme, or idea. He was very clear when it came to email correspondences with
our section as a whole--we always knew what was expected of us, which made section a less stressful
experience. He made himself available to those of us who needed help. In describing his section to
other friends of mine, I have gone so far as to say that they should figure out if he's teaching another
class and take it so that they can take his section--he's just that good."

"Michael was awesome. It sometimes felt like there was a gap between lecture and section, but that
was not Michael's fault, since lectures fell behind the pace at which the readings were assigned.
Michael inspired the section to think and approach the material the way a historian would, which I
really liked. Though I was only taking the class credit/D, I very much liked how Michael developed
my skills as a historian and forced me to think in a different manner."

"AMAZING, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. His section was the best part of this class. I learned so
much and he did a great job of synthesizing the material/emphasizing the important information. One
of the best TFs I have ever had."

"Michael did a great job leading sections. He kept conversations flowing well without forcing anyone
to speak but also making everyone feel comfortable contributing. We got through a lot of the reading
each week and connected the readings to lectures, to each other, and to larger themes. I thought the
reading tasks were very well done. Usually reading tasks feel like busywork to prove we've done the
reading, but Michael's questions were thought-provoking and definitely helped me get more out of
each reading that had an associated reading task."

"Michael was an outstanding teaching fellow - one of the top three I have had in my four years at
Yale. He was always prepared and facilitated conversation that was a great mix of big picture topics
and details."
HIST 119 The Civil War and Reconstruction
Prof. David Blight

“Michael D Hattem is a great teaching fellow. I was originally a bit intimidated by him but this
turned out to be nothing more than his interest in leading a constructive discussion and engaging all
of his students. I really enjoyed his section and will be happy to see him as a professor, if he chooses
to go down that path. I have never had as constructive a history discussion section as this one.”

“Michael was a fantastic Teaching Fellow. Throughout the sections that my section had, he
encouraged discussion by guiding us with various thought-provoking questions. He was never
looking for the "right" answer, but if thought he could challenge our answers, he did, and I think this
helped us to improve our critical thinking skills. Michael had us do reading responses which made
me focus and engage with readings by asking questions in ways that I wouldn't have done otherwise.
For our papers he gave constructive comments that surely helped me improve my writing. One thing
that struck out to me was that during the first section, he told us that throughout the class, we should
accept the challenge of understanding the South's perspective throughout the war, so that we could
understand that the war was not simply good vs evil, but a more nuanced war of antagonistic beliefs.
I appreciated this a lot as it added to my overall understanding of the history.”

“Michael was a level above any other TF I have studied with during my time at Yale. He was
incredibly gifted at engaging us in conversations and structuring discussions around topics we
learned in class. Furthermore, Michael harbored an incredible understanding of the course material
and was an expert on the Civil War era. He clearly cares deeply for teaching and making sure that his
students understand and appreciate what they are taught. Michael was an amazing and highly
valuable resource for this class. He was easily approachable and was very concerned with fostering a
better learning environment in sections. I am so glad I got placed in section with Michael as I firmly
believe he was able to improve my education and overall speaking and writing abilities just as much,
if not even more than Professor Blight.”

“Professor Hattem was one of the best TFs I have had in my Yale career. This is someone who would
always come to section prepared with thought-provoking questions about the reading and help push
us to think further. You could also tell that he really listened to what each student had to contribute
because he would ask further questions, whether to extend our lines of thought or to play the devil's
advocate, based on what we said. Michael was always willing to stay after class and discuss any
questions we may have, related to the course or otherwise. I came out of each section with a better
understanding of the reading, as well as a new way to understand it. I always found section well
worth my time, which is one of the best hallmarks of a phenomenal TF.”

“Michael was the best TF that I have had in my three years as a History major at Yale. He asked
insightful questions while engaging everyone with his genuine character and humor. He is the type of
TF that could teach his own lecture and nobody would ever question whether or not he was qualified
to do so. I am a big fan clearly.”

“Michael is a truly fantastic teaching fellow. He always came prepared to section and I knew I could
ask him any questions. He effectively led discussions, posing interesting topics for debate when
students otherwise refused to speak, and he helped get people who otherwise might be quieter
participants to speak more. He also provided really helpful feedback on each of the essays, dedicating
time to work with class members before the deadlines to talk about our arguments and help us
improve our history writing. As someone with more experience writing English essays, I appreciated
that Michael gave straight-forward advice about the style of history writing and was willing to work
independently with each student. I think each member of the section really respected Michael as a
historical thinker, which led to really helpful discussions each week.”

“This is one of my favorite courses I have taken at Yale, and it is in no small part because of
Michael. He is passionate, dedicated, and helpful. It was obvious how important my success in the
course was to him, and he was always willing to do anything he could to facilitate my learning. This
course would not have been the same without him, and I feel very fortunate to have had the privilege
of working with him.”

“Michael was a really effective teaching fellow who had a huge impact on my experience of the
course. The reading challenges he created helped structure the ways I engaged with the texts on a
weekly basis, and always helped me to be a more productive, thoughtful reader. He asked insightful
questions during section and did not dominate discussion, and he followed up precisely and
consistently with student comments to press us to clarify our points and back them up with