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Robert Shaffer
(History/ Philosophy)


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Past 6 Mo.
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This Professor's Average Ratings
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How effective was this teacher?
Not Effective (1)
5.88
Very Effective (10)
What is the difficulty level of classes taught by this professor?
Very Difficult (1)
2.94
Very Easy (10)
How would you rate this professor's availability outside of the classroom?
Never Around (1)
7.06
Always Around (10)
What is your overall rating? Would you recommend this prof to your friends? 
Not Recommend (1)
5.59
Highly Recommend (10)

This professor has been rated 32 time(s).


Student Comments about this Professor
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Positive Comments (15)

Subject: VERY Good  (Jan 16 2015, 02:06AM)
Student: Anonymous (Comm/Journ)
Class:History 105 (B-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Shaffer isn't a bad professor by any stretch of the imagination. People make the assumption because he talks in a monotone, which he does but that doesn't define a professor. He is very well educated, he is very informative, and if you are looking for high standards and need improvement on your writing skills... ABSOLUTELY take him! He is incredibly helpful when you have a question about a test or assignment. I'm taking him again this semester.
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Subject: Hard but good professor  (Mar 12 2013, 12:46PM)
Student: Anonymous (History)
Class:Recent U.S. History (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 I have not finished this class yet. Starting off the semester, I strongly disliked him. He seemed cold and got mad at people if they got up to use the bathroom before class or were less than 5 minutes late. He wants people to be on time. Try not to be late to his classes! After going to his office to talk to him once, I realized he really isn't that bad. I went in to talk to him about something and he asked how my oral presentation was going. I said I hadn't read yet and he gave me some information on what he was looking for and advice to understanding it and told me if I needed help, to stop by before class the day of the presentation to talk to him. After talking to him and since we are halfway through the semester, he seems to have warmed up to all of us and even if he hadn't, I don't think he is so bad. If you have trouble with disliking him, I encourage you to find something you can ask him about and go to his office and talk to him. I think he really likes that. In this class, we have a ton of papers based on a ton of readings and his syllabus has a paragraph for each day. It is very frustrating. And his study guide is different then all the other history professors study guides for exams. Rather than giving you a list of vocab terms, possible short and long essay questions and letting you go at it, he has 25 multiple choice questions and he goes into an in depth explanation of what he expects for them and a 5-6 paragraph essay which you get a small description of the prompt of. He isn't too harsh of a grader. We also have to do 2 debates. One on a topic we picked and one on a Supreme Court hearing. He gives us a list and we pick. We will also have a term paper due. He tends to go off about random things. Last class, he lectured on daylight savings time for 30 minutes. And he does that often and can't figure out why we are behind. But all in all, I think he's a good professor even though he is tough. I think I may take him again for another class.
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Subject: Hard, but worth it  (Mar 22 2010, 12:21AM)
Student: Anonymous (History)
Class:Early U.S. History (C+)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 I will admit, he is a tough prof and assigns you a lot of work. But he also manages to teach you a lot of stuff and you learn so much. If you're looking for a challenge, I would take him. If not and you want an easy grade, I would suggest picking someone else.
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Subject: Great professor  (Feb 03 2008, 08:03PM)
Student: Anonymous (History)
Class:20th c. America (A)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Here is a professor that truly cares about his students. I am teaching now, and he has contacted me several times to see how I am doing. He taught me a lot, and I could easily see that he cares about history and how it impacts our world. He inspired me to be a history teacher who works to open the minds of my students.
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Subject: Yeah he's hard so what   (Dec 20 2006, 01:49PM)
Student: Anonymous (Social Work )
Class:World History I  (A-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 To me it is refreshing to see a Professor who challenges his students. People you are not in High School anymore. You are in an institution of higher learning. Dr. Shaffer does expect a lot and yes you have to read (get over thats part of college). However if you do what is expected of you he is very fair and willing to help. If you just want an easy A then don't take him. However if you want to learn and challenge yourself then take him.
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Subject: High Expectations but Much Gained Knowledge  (Jan 25 2006, 11:14AM)
Student: Anonymous (History BSed)
Class:Immigration and Ethnicity (A-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Dr. Shaffer is a profesor who pushes his students like he pushes himself. He is a very knowledgable professor who is definitely worth taking once. The Syllabus is very lengthy but everything is spelled out clearly in it. For each assignment you know exactly what he wants and how he will be grading. Although there was a lot of reading throughout the semester, I learned more from that class than any other. One must talk in his class because it is discussion oriented. Even though one must stay on top of reading, one really benefits from the knowledge they obtain when finished.
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Subject: Ship should be honored to have him  (Jan 24 2006, 01:15PM)
Student: Anonymous (History Ed.)
Class:U.S. Immigration and Ethnicity (A-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Dr. Shaffer is a brilliant man and a very effective professor. The class was hard, but anything worthwhile usually is. There's alot of reading and believe me, he will know who has read and who hasn't with the asking of the first question regarding it. If you want to learn alot and get your money's worth, by all means take him. He could teach anywhere he wants and Ship is very fortunate to have such an academic stud flexing his cerebral muscle.
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Subject: Straight Shooter  (Dec 25 2005, 10:41PM)
Student: Landry Beck (Political Science)
Class:Teaching of Social Studies (A)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Dr. Shaffer is hard, that much is a given. But his class was quite rewarding and he does an excellent job trying to open your mind to different educational philosophies, especially with regard to controversy--the course theme. He gives out VERY DETAILED assignment guidelines and tells you exactly what he wants up front. Additionally, he gives a very fair amount of time for you to complete any given assignment, so there is no excuse for doing poorly. He's also quite honest, which I found to be a breath of fresh air. If he disagrees with you (and I know he disagreed with me alot LOL), he'll explain why. That's more than I can say for many of the professors here who have convictions but don't really have a clue in hell as to why they have them. Finally, he bends over backwards to help you out. He even mandates that you submit a draft of your book paper (which he examines individually--MEGAKUDOS) and tells you what you need to do in order to accomplish a higher grade. You really will use (and develop) every skill you have in his class- speaking, writing, planning, research, analysis, evaluation...honestly, this class put to use every academic bone in my body. Even though Shaffer demanded alot, I feel I've walked away with alot of educational background knowledge because of it. No surprises here! You earn an 'A', you get an 'A' and if you don't, you don't. He's a great professor all around.
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Subject: Got Knowledge?  (Dec 21 2005, 07:34PM)
Student: Anonymous (History)
Class:U.S. Immigration & Ethnicity (A)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Let's start off with some Q & A... Do you enjoy history and learning about history? Do you like to read...a lot? Do you find a challenge welcome? Do you want to be scholarly and be able to discuss history in a sophisticated manner? If you answered NO to any of these then Dr. Shaffer is probably not for you. If you answered NO to these then you will probably want to take some of the professors here at Ship that teach their classes like middle school: very juvenile and easy. However, if you answered YES and you have the desire to challenge yourself and become a better student of history then please take Dr. Shaffer. Now...he does assign a lot of work and a lot of reading. The mid-terms are very involving, but I appreciated the fact that he sacrificed the extra time on Friday afternoons so we could more fully develop our essays....50 minutes isn't enough time to write a good grocery list! It was definitely one of the more interesting classes I had this semester and I feel that I learned a great deal about many things...not just immigration and ethnicity! Dr. Shaffer is a fountain of information and he has a lot to offer... and for the energetic student he is great! If you're lazy...better find someone else to take history with though.
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Subject: Eh...  (Nov 27 2005, 02:18PM)
Student: Anonymous (History BSEd)
Class:Methods of Teaching (B+)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 So Dr. Shaffer does assign a ridiculous amount of work. And it isn't always fairly weighted. But, he is a very fair grader (usually a little on the easy side). You don't always cover what is really important in the class (example - we spent about 5 minutes on how to write a lesson plan, and over 2 weeks talking about a book on controversy in history). He is, however, one of the nicest guys you'll meet, and is more than willing to talk to you and help in any way that he possibly can. He always seems to be willing to bend over backwords just to help his students - to me, having a professor that cares is more important than having a professor that is super easy.
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Subject: He is Hard But Fair  (Feb 24 2005, 07:52AM)
Student: Kevin (History BA)
Class:T&P, Immigration, Diplomatic (A)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Dr. Shaffer is probably the best professor in the History Department. As previously mentioned, his syllabus is loaded with so much reading your head will nearly explode, but I've learned more in his classes than any of my other classes at Ship combined. Classes are usually on the smallish side, and arranged in a roundtable discussion format. If you like to frequently cut classes he will notice, and it will hurt your grade. There are usually four 1-2 page papers, a newspaper scrapbook assignment totalling about 10 pages, and 2-3 tests. His tests can be brutal; you will be there for at least the whole class period writing. There are usually 15 multiple choice and then 2 essays. His final is very challenging, so plan on writing for at least an hour and a half, even longer if you want a really good grade. His main attribute is his personality; he really cares about his students and is always there if you need help. If you're looking to learn and not afraid of being challenged, Dr. Shaffer is the professor I'd recommend.
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Subject: Hard, but Good  (Jan 10 2004, 02:13PM)
Student: RealTiny (History)
Class:Recent US History (C+)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 I really think that Dr. Shaffer is one of the most knowledgable professor in the History Department. He knows what he's talking about and he knows what it is you need to learn. It is VERY true that his class is hard. It is almost impossible to keep up with the reading if you're carrying 12 other credits, but it's worth it. If you're not a history major, then i suggest you stay away. But, if you are a History major, i think he's one of the most beneficial professors you can have. He knows how to make you think and apply concepts and in turn make you LEARN. I loved his class.
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Subject: Good teacher  (Oct 31 2003, 12:24PM)
Student: Anonymous (history/sec. ed.)
Class:recent history of the us (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Look, if youre trying to take all your classes in college so that you have the smallest workload, then youre wasting your time. Dr. Shaffer's class is designed not only to educate you about the topic, but to teach you the skills youre going to need in the real world with a history degree. There is a lot of reading, and his tests are challenging, but this is practical education at its finest
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Subject: No that bad  (Oct 20 2003, 08:22PM)
Student: Anonymous (history)
Class:history 203 (B+)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 I would not take this teacher if you are taking a gen ed. But if you are a history major this guy will make you think and learn. There is alot of work in his class, but he is more than willing to help you out. Also I would say he is a very hard grader.
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Subject: If you want to learn ...  (Mar 28 2003, 06:14PM)
Student: Anonymous (Psychology (BA))
Class:World History II (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Contrary to other opinions posted here, I think Prof Shaffer is an excellent teacher. I hated history in high school but have found with this professor that history does have a bearing on life today. He does give a lot of reading and his expectations are high, which I don't see as a bad thing. As long as you do the assigned reading and are prepared to discuss the issues in depth you'll do fine in this class. I have learned a lot in his class. He makes class interesting and is extremely fair and courteous. If you don't mind a bit of hard work and want to learn DON'T avoid him.
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Negative Comments (14)

Subject: Hard  (Jan 12 2015, 02:25AM)
Student: Anonymous (4-8 Education)
Class:History 105 (B-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Shaffer is hard and I never thought I would even get a B- after getting pretty much a C on everything. I had to write more papers for him than I did in WIFYS. His tests were hard and the study guides he gives you have so much information on them it's hard to study. I studied for at least 4 hours for each test and only got C's. Try not to take him but if you do, get ready for a challenge and a lot of hard work.
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Subject: Very difficult class  (Nov 30 2013, 11:38AM)
Student: Anonymous (Biology)
Class:HIS 105 (C+)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 This class was very difficult, there is a ton of reading and it seems like he expects you to know the information already. He requires you to do an on campus assignment which is very difficult if you are a commuter. The text books are absolutely terrible, the wording is very difficult to understand. He also has everyone in the class do a presentation. I would recommend that if you are a freshman DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS unless you want a challenge!!!
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Subject: BULL****!!! NO EXAGERATION   (Oct 24 2013, 11:30PM)
Student: Anonymous (psychology)
Class:HIS 106  (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 DO NOT TAKE, WORST CHOICE OF MY LIFE. Professor Shaffer was an awesome guy outside of the classroom but an awful professor. He talks very slowly and softly so sometimes it's hard to follow what he's saying. No doubt you'll get behind on the syllabus. His class is so hard and he acts like you give a s*** about his class and acts like you're all history majors or something. THIS IS A GEN ED. For this specific class you have exams and quizzes; both are challenging. The quizzes are short answer and exams are MC. You have to write 2 journal assignments; sounds short and easy but they are not!! Then you have to do a Shippensburg University assignment which is going to a presentation on campus and then writing about it. Then you have an oral presentation as well on a topic. I've heard other professors for this course are A LOT easier!! DO NOT TAKE, WORST CHOICE OF MY LIFE
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Subject: I will never take him again  (Jan 11 2008, 11:26AM)
Student: Anonymous (Elementary Education)
Class:Immigration (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 I know that Immigration is a 300 level History course, but I feel that Shaffer makes it like a Grad course. He assigns too much reading, which is impossible to do it all when you have a full-time schedule. He is not very good at giving notes. He will make certain articles optional but then close to the exam will change his mind and use those on the exam. His exams are very challenging. Just to stay alive in his class, you need to participate as much as possible, but that still wont help your overall grade. If you have the ability to take someone else then I would highly recommend it.
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Subject: gave him a shot  (Dec 11 2006, 10:07PM)
Student: hov (english)
Class:early us / us diplomatic  (C+)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 I took him twice... the first time was tough, but ok...by the second time, I realized I gave him too much credit. He's a nice guy, but tough...aside from the difficulty, the amount of reading is basically insane...and I'm an english major...reading is all I do. His class isn't bad, but it doesnt prepare you at all for any tests. Out of all the reading, little is on the test. Overall you put in a lot of work, and gain nothing. It's a shame really. I gave him two chances.
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Subject: do not take him  (Nov 05 2006, 05:58PM)
Student: Anonymous (history)
Class:theory and practice (B-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Avoid Shaffer if you can. Its not that he is not a nice guy, its just that he is such a hard grader and you get so bored of his monotone voice. He will never let you out early and never give you a break on any papers or any work you will do for him. He is very smart which makes the class even worse because he expects everyone to be thinking on the same level as him. The class is always boring and if you are not participating a lot, he will call you out and make you answer some difficult question.
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Subject: Will not use any of the information he teaches you  (Apr 23 2006, 07:18PM)
Student: Anonymous (History/ sec. edu)
Class:Methods of Social Studies (A-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Dr. Shaffer is a hard professor who plays favorites. I was not one of his favorites. Dr. Shaffer would pick on students and tell them that they were wrong in class. He would make a fool out of them. This class did not prepare you for teaching in the real world. All we did was read Hisotry on Trial and say how great Gary Nash is. He pounded us on the standards which are not as important in the classroom as classroom management. We had one class on Classroom Management but spend 2 months on the standards. Pray hard that you do not have him for methods.
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Subject: Never Take!  (Apr 02 2006, 09:10PM)
Student: Anonymous (History BA)
Class:Early History of U.S. (B-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 I have never actually taken the time to actually leave a comment on a prof. but this guy has driven me to. He is BY FAR the worst prof. I have ever had. He is extremely condescending and expects way to much from everyone. I would not recommend this guy to anyone!
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Subject: STAY AWAY  (Dec 15 2005, 04:49PM)
Student: Anonymous ()
Class:Immigration History (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 If you want to have any sort of life, then I would avoid him at all costs. He will make you read a sh*tload before coming to class, then quiz you on the stupidest aspect of the reading. He will keep you after class, and make up class periods on a friday afternoon. Dont expcet to get nice comments back on your writing. Your exams will go about 2 hours, and your final might be close to three. Even if you have a 50 minute class you have still have to stay. Remember its Shaffer's way or nobodys way..... dont take him!
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Subject: only if you are a history major  (May 03 2005, 10:17PM)
Student: Anonymous ()
Class:World History II (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 His class was the worst class I have ever had to sit through. The class revolved around analyzing and interpreting. He always had a comment for anything you had to say..usually a negative one or he would analyze your comment to the point of no return. This class would be fine for anyone majoring in history, but if youre not watch out. This class was hard, though I gained some knowledge from it. I would never take him again.
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Subject: Don't Take This Guy Unless You Absolutely Hove To  (Dec 18 2003, 12:26PM)
Student: Anonymous (Comm/Journ)
Class:Recent History of the US (B+)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Going to class everyday is like being bored to death by a Ben Stein clone. He gives you work like it's the only class you have. Also, he tells you to analyze and interpret, but he gives you a shitty grade on the tests/papers when you don't regurgitate the information from class. He goes on and on, so don't schedule a class right after his; you'll be late every time.
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Subject: Comments  (Apr 09 2003, 07:50PM)
Student: Anonymous ()
Class:N/A (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 His comments are smart against those he does not like. He will always be there, true, but he has a monotone voice and noone can understand him. He doesnt like to help most of the students in my class but would rather ridicule!
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Subject: Plenty of work for little gain.  (Mar 01 2003, 04:44PM)
Student: Anonymous (Biology)
Class:Military History (--)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Let me start off by saying that I may be a bit biased. I'm a biology major and not a history/philosophy major, so it might just be that I'm not used to these kind of classes at the above Gen Ed level. In defense of my argument, however, I will say that I know several history majors who were not pleased by the classes they've taken with this guy. With that in mind, here goes. I took professor Shaffer for Military History, which is a 300 level course. His work load was tremendous and his expectations of reading and writing were pretty demanding. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but considering that the workload for this class was equal to that of all the others combined in my 18 credit semester, something was definitely not right with this picture. The readings can be pretty interesting, depending on what mood you're in when you read them, your interest level and what the topic is you're reading about. He has you read several articles and then come to class to discuss them, often making you write several pages about each of them and turn them in. One of my biggest complaints about this guy is his unwillingness to accept any opinion that isn't in line with his own. I was under the impression that history was a science based greatly on point of view and interpretation, but apparently it is a concrete idea with Shaffer. On top of that, he was merciless with grading of some people's papers in the class (mine actually recieved decent grades) and was a stickler for the format of them in some respects. He seemed to like the ones that were bridging on plagerism of the books more than any original ideas, so if you take him plan on focusing your work in the direction of what the authors thing and not what you think. His discussions were largely unfocused with him constantly trying to draw correlations and parallels between documents that supported very vague, general and often pointless arguments to consider. The class was boring, seemed to drag on forever and largely unproductive. Definitely not what I was looking to get out of it. If it were up to me, I'd suggest Dr. Shaffer quit and go find a job somewhere that didn't involve teaching or any social interaction with other people at all. Short of that, someone should fire him and replace him with a circus monkey, I think it'd be a more productive class.
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Subject: Avoid  (Dec 07 2002, 09:21PM)
Student: Anonymous (Social Studies, Sec Ed)
Class:Teaching Methods (B)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Prof Shaffer is always there if you need to talk, but as a prof, at least for education, he is not good at all. He assigns WAY to much work, and you will not learn very much in his class that will help you as a teacher. Nice guy, but avoid him if you can.
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Neutral Comments (2)

Subject: well...  (Mar 30 2006, 05:35PM)
Student: jhara (english)
Class:Early U.S. History (C+)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 Hard class, lotta reading...I hate reading...but nice guy, almost funny...if you're willing to put effort in, take him, but if not, dont....I dunno, the guy is pretty smart, but hard.
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Subject: Okay, but Beware!  (Jan 08 2005, 08:26AM)
Student: Anonymous (History)
Class:Early History, Immigration (B-)
 12 of 37 students found this review helpful.

 History majors will do fine in his classes, but others might find him tough! He's a nice guy, but he grades hard and expects a lot from his students. He also NEVER finishes what he has planned on the syllabus cause he talks too much! Not to bad if you are willing to work!
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