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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The economics major where I currently teach

Truthfully, it's moribund.

Truthfully, we do not have enough faculty to staff a minimally acceptable economics major.

Here's the situation. We have three full-time economics faculty, teaching 6 courses per year (I ignore summer sessions for the moment); hiring part-time faculty in economics has proved difficult-to-impossible in the recent past. Here are the demands on us:
  1. 10 sections of intro econ per year (required for business majors).
  2. 4 sections of a freshman-level econ history class (newly required for business majors).
  3. 4 sections of statistics per year (required for business majors).
  4. 3 courses in the MBA program per year.

That adds up to 21 of the 18 sections that the three of us teach. Clearly, unless something gives, our ability to offer an appropriate slate of upper-level economics courses [1 section each of intermediate micro and intermediate macro per year; 1 section of money and banking per year (which we generally already do, as business students concentrating in finance tend to take it in fairly large numbers); selections from labor, environmental economics, international/trade/international finance] is, essentially, non-existent. (What usually gives is that some of the stat classes are taught by non-economists right now, but that's still not enough to allow us to teach anything like a reasonable selection of courses--take all the stat classes away, including the MBA stat class, and we still have 16 other courses we're responsible for.)

Or we could hire a fourth economist. Anyone want to guess how likely that is?

So we should probably put the econ major on hiatus. Or find some way to get the courses taught that need to be taught using non-local resources (e.g., on-line offerings from other institutions?). I certainly cannot, with a straight face, encourage anyone to major in economics here.



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