Fostering Teaching Excellence: Key Takeaways from the 2024 Spring GA Training Seminar

The Department of Economics recently held the 2024 Spring GA Training Seminar in Herbst (formerly Oak) Room 337 on March 29, 2024. This seminar provided a crucial platform for student instructors to develop teaching skills and foster discussions on effective teaching methods. Professor Richard Langlois, Professor Olivier Morand, and Professor Tianxu Chen, shared invaluable insights with first-time student instructors in the meeting.

The seminar started with Professor Morand’s presentation, focusing on the pedagogy of teaching quantitative content. Through interactive discussions, he emphasized the importance of learning styles and clarity in teaching.

Professor Langlois primarily discussed tips for teaching writing-intensive courses (W class), drawing upon his extensive experience in the field. He shared strategies for effectively engaging students in such courses.

Lastly, Professor Chen addressed the challenges encountered by student instructors in their teaching roles. She offered insights into fostering attendance, promoting student interaction, and managing email communications adeptly.

The seminar concluded with an open discussion, providing participants with the opportunity to exchange experiences, address challenges, and seek guidance from peers and faculty mentors. Through collaborative exchanges, attendees garnered inspiration, valuable insights, and peer support to refine and elevate their teaching practices. This seminar was coordinated by Professor Chen, and it is part of ECON 6492: Teaching Economics—a recently developed course tailored for first-time student instructors.

Economics Faculty Recognized for Excellence in Teaching

The Provost’s office at the University of Connecticut regularly recognizes faculty members with excellent teaching evaluations commending them as achieving “excellence in teaching”.

A number of faculty members in the economics department have received this recognition in the past year:  Professors Talia Bar, Ken Couch, Delia Furtado, Paul Hallwood, Olivier Morand, Susan Randolph, Kathy Segerson, Mikhael Shor, Owen Svalestad, and Jackie Zhao.

Congratulations to these economics faculty for their important contributions to the educational mission of UConn!

Undergraduate Mark Connolly chosen as University Scholar

For the second time in recent months, the Economics Department has had one of its students, Mark Connolly, chosen for the prestigious designation of University Scholar. Mark’s selection follows on the heels of the selection in August of Philip Gorecki, a double major in economics and molecular and cell biology. Administered by the Honors Program, the highly-selective University Scholars program is designed to provide “the most academically elite students at UConn” an opportunity to advance their UConn education through this special program. A key part of the program is in-depth and focused research on a project of the student’s choice. Mark was one of only 24 students recently selected as 2010 University Scholars.

Mark is pursuing dual degrees in Accounting and Economics, and is working toward his CPA degree. He is particularly interested in auditing and in environmental economics and has thus chosen to focus his project on environmental auditing. He will be studying the role that accounting firms can and do play in environmental auditing, and the potential for auditing to provide valuable information both to the audited firms and to the public. He is particularly interested in the use of audits as third-party certification. Mark will be interning this summer with PricewaterhouseCoopers to gain a greater understanding of the audit process. His faculty advisors on this project will be Professor Lawrence Gramling in the School of Business, and Professors Kathleen Segerson and Olivier Morand, both in Economics.

One advantage of the Scholars’ program is the flexibility it offers students in designing their plans of study. Mark has structured his plan of study and remaining coursework to give him the background necessary for his project. In the course of doing this, he will also be preparing himself for his next goal, graduate study in environmental economics. One day he hopes to be a research professor bridging the gap between industry and environmental protection.