The economics major is a central part of a college education. But is that economics major doing what it is meant to do? And if not, how should it be changed? This book raises a set of provocative questions that encourage readers to look at the economics major in a different light than it is typically considered and provides a series of recommendations for change.
Responding to a Teagle Foundation initiative on the role of majors in higher education, the contributors - eminent economists and administrators - consider the relationship between the goals and objectives of the economics major and those of a liberal education. They address questions such as: What is the appropriate training for a person who will be teaching in a liberal arts school? What incentives would motivate the creation of institutional value through teaching and not simply research? They also explore whether the disciplinary nature of undergraduate education is squeezing out the `big-think' questions, and replacing them with `little-think' questions, and whether we should change graduate training of economists to better prepare them to be teachers, rather than researchers.
Providing a stimulating discussion of the economics major by many of the leaders in US economic education, this book will prove a thought provoking read for those with a special interest in economics and economics education, particularly academics, lecturers, course administrators, students and researchers.
Edited by David Colander, Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Economics, Middlebury College, US and KimMarie McGoldrick, Joseph A. Jennings Chair in Business, Professor of Economics, University of Richmond, US
Contents: Preface Michael Watts Introduction: A Discussion, Not a Report David Colander and KimMarie McGoldrick PART I: THE TEAGLE REPORT 1. The Teagle Foundation Report: The Economics Major as Part of a Liberal Education David Colander and KimMarie McGoldrick PART II: CHALLENGING THE CONTENT: WHAT DO WE TEACH? 2. Teaching Students to `Think About the Economy' Joseph Persky 3. The Economics Major as Illiberal Education Stephen A. Marglin 4. Moral Reasoning in Economics Jonathan B. Wight 5. Thinking for Yourself, Like an Economist Robert F. Garnett 6. Teaching Economics Students as if they are Geniuses James Wible 7. The Role for Depth in a Liberal Education Benjamin M. Friedman PART III: CHANGING THE WAY WE TEACH ECONOMICS 8. Using Pedagogical Change to Improve Student Learning in the Economics Major Scott Simkins and Mark Maier 9. Providing Incentives for Change: Evaluating Teaching Ann L. Owen 10. Reflections on Introductory Course Structures Paul W. Grimes 11. Economics and Liberal Education: Why, Where, and How Michael K. Salemi 12. Reinvigorating Liberal Education with an Expected Proficiencies Approach to the Academic Major W. Lee Hansen PART IV: STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS AND THE INTERDISCIPLINARY NATURE OF ECONOMICS 13. The Integrative Nature of the Economics Major Jessica Holmes 14. The Availability of Interdisciplinary Economics Educators and the Actions of Deans: Explaining the Small Contribution of Economics to a Liberal Education Arthur H. Goldsmith 15. The Economics Major at a Crossroads David Kennett 16. Crafting the Economics Major as an Exercise in Property Rights Neil T. Skaggs 17. Preserving Liberal Arts Education: A Futile Endeavor Brendan O'Flaherty PART V: VIEWS FROM THE ADMINISTRATION 18. Good Researchers Make Good Teachers Catharine Hill 19. Overstating the Challenges, Underestimating the Solutions George Daly 20. How the Shifting Landscape Affects our Students David W. Breneman 21. The Role of Incentives (and Culture) in Rebalancing the Economics Major Bradley W. Bateman PART VI: VIEWS FROM THE STUDENTS 22. What Economics Majors Think of the Economics Major Steven Jones, Eric Hoest, Richie Fuld, Mahesh Dahal and David Colander PART VII: CONCLUSION 23. Really Thinking Like an Economist John J. Siegfried References Index