On Tuesday, December 7, Prof. Carstensen hosted more than a dozen foreign journalists at the request of the U.S. Department of State. The journalists represented China, Bosnia, Germany, Switzerland, France, Sweden, and a slew of other countries. Prof. Carstensen provided an overview of Connecticut’s economic performance and the new initiatives the Governor has implemented; he highlighted the importance of the Biosciences Connecticut development and the commitment of Jackson Labs to developing a major research facility in Farmington at UCHC. Prof. Carstensen also discussed the current national economic situation and the complex situation with the euro narrowly and European economic health broadly.
Among those participating, was a film crew from Swedish television. At the end of the lively discussion with the foreign journalists, the Swedish crew filmed a five minute interview with Prof. Carstensen, which was sent to Sweden for inclusion in a national news program.
The Connecticut Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA, formerly CCEF) has asked CCEA to help developing a grant proposal for the Department of Energy (DoE) Sunshot Grant Program. The objective of the grant is to provide tools and strategies to reduce the non-hardware costs of solar photovoltaic systems, and it is meant to be developed as a multi-phase multi-disciplinary program. The proposal involves a very broad cooperation with private entities and other institutions, among which CEFIA itself and Yale University.
CCEA with the support Prof. Willig (CESE) has recruited and will work along with the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) and the Dept. of Geography. UConn participants will be Prof. Fred Carstensen (CCEA, Director), Prof. Daniel Civco (CLEAR, Dirctor), Prof. Jeffrey Osleeb (Dept. Geography, Head) and Prof. Chuanrong Zhang (Geography). The proposal was one of the winners, and UConn has a proposed budget of about $149,000 for the first year, with additional $169,000 for Phase II, which will take place over two years.
The panel discussion held on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 was featured in articles on UConn Today and in the Daily Campus. Professors Carstensen, Lanza, Minkler, Ross, and Wright led a discussion (moderated by Department Head Metin Cosgel) about the state of the U.S. economy and possible improvements.
On Tuesday, May 17, 2011, in the atrium of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine/Dentistry, Governor Malloy announced a $900 million investment to transform the Schools into an international leader in biomedical research, an investment that will generate more than nearly 3,000 construction jobs in the near term and 16,000 new jobs by 2037. Critically, the investment will generate sustained economic growth that delivers so much net new tax revenue to the state that the bonding is entirely self-financing–with a large revenue bonus for the state. The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis provided the dynamic (REMI) economic analysis on with the Governor relied. Prof. Fred Carstensen, Director of CCEA, attended the event and provided both electronic and print media backup explanations of the details on the economic analysis. The Center currently employs three department graduate students and two more are participating in its summer work.
Last week, Prof. Fred Carstensen participated in the external evaluation of the School of Economics at the University of Maine. The U.S.Department of Agricultural assembled the four member team, drawing on faculty from Boston University, Washington State University, Clark University, and UConn. The team reviewed voluminous written materials, including an extensive self-study, and then spent two and half days in intensive interviews with all administrators who engaged with the SOE in any capacity as well as the senior administrators of the University. Friday morning the team delivered an oral summary of their draft report to the Provost and Vice Presidents, the Dean and Associate Deans, and the School faculty.
The School of Economics at the University of Maine, in the team’s judgement, is a remarkably highly productive department, engaged in a remarkably wide array of scholarship, with a very strong record in external funding. The most notable were the three-year $1.8 million EDA grant to support a Knowledge Transfer Initiative, aimed to helping small and medium size businesses resolve critical challenges from technical production and design issues to marketing and personnel questions, and the five-year $20 million NSF grant (largest in University history) to support a comprehensive, state-wide Sustainable Communities initiative. In both grants, SOE faculty have leading roles. The School, with only seventeen faculty, supports a vigorous and nationally recognized Master’s program and participates in two multi-disciplinary doctoral programs. Notably, each faculty member negotiates the distribution of their time between research and teaching; the merit evaluation then follows from that contracted work load. Thus teaching varies from 3-3 loads down to 1-0, and, because of the balanced treatment of teaching and research, the SOE faculty enjoyed high morale and collegiality. And senior administrators look to SOE as a model for other departments and schools.
Members of the evaluation team all planned to bring elements of the SOE model back to their home universities.
On Thursday, April 28, the Undergraduate Academic Affairs committee of the UConn Undergraduate Student Government hosted its annual banquet to recognize Professional Excellence in Education among staff, advisers, and faculty at the University. The Committee received 26 nominations for the three categories of awards; based on these nominations, the Committee selected Professor of Economics Fred Carsensen as the Academic Educator of the Year. The student nomination cited his innovative and
challenging class on Contemporary Economic Issues: Globalization, and in particular his use of a “real time” textbook, the Financial Times. Students appreciate his discusion of current events, peppering in anecdotes and personal advice along the way. He also offers his students a rare level of academic freedom. This style encourages creativity and imagination, and his
students are always grateful, even if at first intimidated as they are whet they describe as “the audience to an improv
As UConn Today reports, Prof. Carstensen is participating in a major grant lead at the department of Chemistry to study the local production of biofuels. The goal of the $1.8 million grant from the US Department of Energy is to find local sources for biofuels as well as local catalysts and reactors useful for the production process. Prof. Carstensen’s role in the project is to study the economic viability of the biofuel industry in Connecticut, now and in the future.
Last Sunday’s Harford Courant featured a full page article by Prof. Carstensen. As a director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis (CCEA), he is frequently asked to testify in Hartford or speak in the media, and this article summarizes his take of the state of the State of Connecticut.
He opines that Connecticut has an economy with a shrinking working age population with declining skills that is typically slow to recover from a recession. From a policy perspective, he argues that the State needs to push the life science sector and address the unusually high energy costs and the inadequate transportation infrastructure. The aging population will also require more services than before. Finally, the State needs to provide a stable business environment with respect to taxes.