I have spent considerable time and effort in curriculum development to make each course relevant, applied, informative, interesting, and challenging. In fact, I routinely ask my students to complete a mid-course review to assess how the class is progressing and make changes mid-stream during the semester to address students’ suggestions and concerns, which have led to several curricular innovations.
For example, in my master’s course I have incorporated elements of a flipped classroom by adding a discussion board so that students prepare a response to specific prompts based on the assigned readings that serve as a foundation for our in-class discussions. This has resulted in students being better prepared and the debates being more informed and wide-ranging than in the past.
In my undergraduate course, I have incorporated games into the classroom to enhance learning. In addition to raising the level of engagement in the classroom, the use of games has been an effective tool for teaching basic concepts while also enhancing non-cognitive skills such as cooperation and conflict resolution.
Finally, it has become clear that all students will need to be adept at consuming, producing, and using data in some aspect of their careers. In response, I have developed several exercises to help students become familiar with where to find economic data, how to manipulate it in a commonly used statistical software package, and most importantly how to analyze and interpret the results of their data manipulation in the context of empirical policy analysis.
Because of these experiences, I have come to understand that teaching is a dynamic endeavor, even for the most talented professors, as course content, student needs, and pedagogical tools continue to evolve over time. I welcome the challenge to improve each course from year to year.
ECON 7764 Topics in Labor Economics (Ph.D.)
The ultimate goal of this course is to prepare students to be practicing applied labor economists in any number of contexts: academia, policy analysis, or business. Along the way, students will gain a deeper understanding of the functioning of labor markets, become familiar with the latest developments in the literature on emerging topics, and learn about the research process itself. The fundamental outcome is to ensure that students are given the tools necessary to begin writing their dissertations including instruction on topic choice, commonly used data sources, and innovative methodologies. To that end, many of the assignments will be practical in nature and give students hands-on experience with data analysis, interpretation of results, and policy recommendations. Students should also feel free to use my office hours not only for questions about class material, but also any reading or other work you are doing in preparation for dissertations.
PPUA 7673 Capstone in Urban and Regional Policy (MPA/MPP)
This course provides a faculty-guided team project for students completing course work in urban and regional policy studies, including students doing the Masters of Urban and Regional Policy, the Masters of Law and Public Policy, and the Graduate Certificate in Urban Studies. The goal is for students to apply what they have learned in their academic coursework in a real-world professional setting working on a project for a client. As you work towards completion of the project, we will work on developing a number of professional skills, including: work plan formulation and project management; professional writing; developing feasible recommendations; client interaction; professional presentations; and effective group dynamics.
PPUA 6502 Economic Institutions and Analysis (MPA/MPP)
This course is designed to introduce the essential ideas and methods of microeconomics and their applications to a wide range of domestic public policy issues at the national, state, and local level. The overall goal of the course is for students to develop a solid understanding of how economic analysis can be applied in the formulation and administration of public policy. The course will be organized in lecture format with ample time for discussion of critical economic theories and applications along with a discussion board each week. In this course, students will develop a fundamental understanding of:
- Basic concepts of economic analysis.
- The “economic approach” to social issues and public policy and how economic concepts and models of economic behavior can help analysts devise better policies.
- Critical differences between “market goods” and “rights” – between the role of the private market and the role of government.
- Various paradigms in economic theory including the conservative approach of Milton Friedman and the liberal approach of John Kenneth Galbraith.
- Use of economic tools to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of public policies.
ECON 3410 Labor Economics (B.A./B.S.)
This course explores the functioning of markets for labor services from both theoretical and policy perspectives. We start the semester by developing theoretical models of both the individual’s decision to work and the firm’s decision to hire, and then use these models to consider the effects of such factors as income taxation, minimum wages, immigration, and technology growth on employment and earnings levels. We also examine the key determinants of compensation patterns and the distribution of earnings, paying particular attention to the changing role of education in the U.S. labor market. Many of the topics that we will discuss over the course of the semester—unemployment, income distribution, executive pay—are the same ones that you see covered by the news media on a regular basis. I encourage you to read a national paper like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Washington Post regularly and to be prepared to discuss current labor-related issues in class.