Failing Introductory Economics

In June 2014, I wrote a piece entitled “Reform Intro Economics” for Inside Higher Ed. There, I argued that then-current introductory economics courses were little changed from those of decades past. I further stated that the students of 2014 found the unrevised course somewhat unsatisfactory: Today’s students are … not accustomed to sitting through 50-minute … Continue reading “Failing Introductory Economics”

Did You Know? UNC’s Minor in Social and Economic Justice Doesn’t Require Economics Courses

UNC-Chapel Hill offers a wide variety of major and minor programs to its undergraduates, and each student’s résumé carries the authority of the first public university in the United States. However, if one peers beyond the grandiose titles of some students’ undergraduate programs, one is liable to find the contents rather vacuous. For example, UNC’s … Continue reading “Did You Know? UNC’s Minor in Social and Economic Justice Doesn’t Require Economics Courses”

Higher Education Is Shutting Student Minds

Colleges and universities used to proclaim that their mission was to give students a broad education that would expand their intellectual vistas—one that would open their minds. Most still say that, but the sad truth is that what passes for higher education these days often does the opposite. Many professors and some whole academic fields … Continue reading “Higher Education Is Shutting Student Minds”

The Problem of Higher Ed and Economic Mobility

Virginia’s top public universities are largely stratified by socioeconomic status. Consider the following statistics that appear in the new book by James V. Koch and Richard J. Cebula, Runaway College Costs: How College Governing Boards Fail to Protect their Students. At the College of William & Mary only 13.6 percent of the student body comes … Continue reading “The Problem of Higher Ed and Economic Mobility”

Did You Know? The Disappearance of Civic Education at Elite Colleges

Modern universities are ignoring their civic duty to teach their students how to become engaged citizens. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni released a report in 2018 that showed only 18 percent of universities required students to take a history course before graduation. This number is indicative of a growing historical ignorance among students. … Continue reading “Did You Know? The Disappearance of Civic Education at Elite Colleges”

Life Among the Academic Radicals

For almost a quarter century I have been a professor of economics at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. After years of working there, I have learned something about how my department’s academic radicals, who by dint of personality but not numbers have near-decisive control over many departmental decisions. WSU economics is a master’s-level department. … Continue reading “Life Among the Academic Radicals”

Intellectual Diversity and Academic Professionalism

Editor’s Note: This is a condensed version of a speech Dr. Otteson gave at a January James G. Martin Center luncheon. Our topic today is the importance of intellectual diversity on campus. I doubt there is anyone here who does not believe in the importance of intellectual diversity on campus, so I would like to … Continue reading “Intellectual Diversity and Academic Professionalism”

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Economics Program Lacks Historical Perspective

A few weeks ago I went camping with some fellow members of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter. Whenever we get together, there is sure to be an impassioned discussion—not just about the Carolina Panthers or the best brands of bourbon, but also American foreign policy and free … Continue reading “UNC-Chapel Hill’s Economics Program Lacks Historical Perspective”

Leisure studies: an academic field based on a utopian mistake?

With most academic fields, we know what they are about. Political science teaches about political systems and their workings; philosophy about how people have thought on questions such as ethics; literature courses have students read and contemplate worthwhile books.