I have been a full-time Professor of Economics in the Social Science Department of Lansing Community College since August 2002. I primarily teach Principles: Econ 201 (micro) and Econ 202 (macro). I typically teach overload, averaging 5 sections (20 credits) of these courses each fall and spring (winter) semester. In the summer I teach 2 sections of the online versions of these courses. Starting in the 2008-09 academic year, I have also been teaching two other courses for the first time, “U.S. Business and Economic History” (in the Fall) and “Comparative Economic Systems” (in the Spring). I maintain two other blogs. Econproph.com is used in my economics courses and eproph.com has notes about online teaching and e-learning.
Principles of Economics: Econ 201-Micro and Econ 202-Macro
Econ 201 and 202 are principles courses and form a full-year sequence. Each is a 4-credit course accepted for transfer to virtually all schools. These courses are generally required courses for the students. The content is highly defined by the transfer requirements of 4-year institutions. Face-to-face sections typically are full with 35 students (39 prior to 2006). Online classes also are full with 25 students each. My sections generally fill-up completely within the first 1-2 weeks of open registration.
What the students have in common: The course is required by their program, they intend to transfer the credit to a 4-year school, and they are not econ majors. A typical semester will see only 1 or 2 econ majors.
How the students differ:
- Major: Perhaps 1/3 of all students are intending to become business majors, perhaps a 1/3 are from other career-oriented majors such as pharmacy, interior design, graphics design, or education, and another 1/3 are either undecided or haven’t specified a major yet.
- Age and maturity: Any lecture has them: the fresh-out-of-high school, the “twenty-something-need-a-better-job” returning to education, the current MSU student looking for a native-English speaking econ instructor in a small class or cheaper tuition, the returning veteran, the laid-off mid-lifer, the working mother, the international student, and others I’ve forgotten. Online classes have even more diversity since they include both high school dual-enrolled students and students with an existing bachelor’s degree that are getting a pre-requisite for their Master’s degree admission. Online students, particularly in summer, could be anywhere geographically – a typical summer has students in 3-4 different countries on 1-3 continents and in 3-8 states in the U.S.
- Preparation for Econ: Economics requires significant critical thinking and math reasoning abilities (as distinct from math problem-solving skills). Some students are taking calculus while or before econ. Others aren’t so well prepared.
I teach independent sections of each, Econ 201 and 202, via:
- full 16-week face-to-face lectures, meeting twice per week for 2 hours
- full 16 week face-to-face lectures, meeting once per week for 4 hours
- online for 16 weeks
- online for 8 weeks (summer terms)
- hybrid for 16 weeks (meet once per week for 2 hours)
- both at main campus and at Livingstone Center
What I Do:
The curriculum committee of the econ program, of which I am part, determines required student learning outcomes based on transfer requirements of 4-year schools. The committee also selects the textbook. All other pedogogical decisions, roles, tasks, and work is my own, including:
- developing the overall design and structure of the course
- preparation of all tests, worksheets, assessments, quizzes, and 1/2 of the final exam (the other half is a departmental final exam).
- creation of all learning materials, including all online materials and the design of the Angel websites
- delivery of all instruction for all modes: lecture, face-to-face, hybrid, online
- feedback to students, including grading and assessment
“US Business and Economic History” and “Comparative Economic Systems”
During 2008-2009 I converted two existing LCC courses to an all-online format. These courses are Econ 213 – US Business and Economic History and ECON 260 Comparative Economic Systems. These courses are electives for students, although Econ 260 does fulfill LCC’s “CORE Requirement – Global Perspectives” for graduation. Both courses are 3-credit courses. Both will typically transfer to 4-year institutions but as general electives. Since converting them to the online format, enrollment has been improved. Sections have these courses have completely filled for three semesters now. I generally teach ECON 213 in the Fall term and ECON 260 in the Spring term.
A set of course learning objectives already exist, but I am responsible for all other aspects of course development and preparation. This includes text selection, lecture preparation, design of assignments and activities, selection of media, and development of assessments. Econ 260 will be offered for the first time in Spring 2009 as an online course. I will developing the materials and online design for this course in the fall 2008. I am looking forward to both of these courses. First, I am interested in the challenge of converting what has historically been a face-to-face, discussion based course such as Econ 260 into an online course. Second, one of my areas of concentration in my Economics Ph.D. studies was Economic History and the History of Economic Thought, so these courses are providing an opportunity to revisit a topic of strong personal interest to me.
I am one of three two full-time faculty teaching economics at LCC. The three two full-timers plus adjunct instructors who choose to participate constitute the Curriculum Committee for Economics at LCC. Through my participation in this committee, my primary responsibilities have been:
- Review and select textbooks for the principles courses. Given the large number of textbooks available, the frequency with which publishers update them, and the size of the average text, this is a formidible task. We typically review texts on a 3-year cycle, although circumstances have required a 2-year cycle for the last two selections.
- Set and revise learning objectives for all economics courses.
- Write, revise, and evaluate departmental final exams for the two principles courses.
- Assist in preparation, analysis, planning, and presentation of PRESS< for the economics program. PRESS is LCC’s academic program assessment process. It stands for Program Review, Evaluation, and Self-Study.
- Participate in decision-making on all other curricular issues related to economics courses.
Teaching Responsibilities: Madonna University
Assistant Professor of Marketing and Economics, 1989-1993
I started as an adjunct professor at Madonna University in 1987-88 but became a full-time Assistant Professor in Winter 1989. I started by teaching economics, but rather than the regular two-semester principles sequence, I taught “Basic Economics”, a one semester survery course intended for nursing and other healthcare students. One semester this class was taught on-site at Oakwood Hospital. In January 1989 I became the full-time Assistant Professor of Marketing and Economics at Madonna, a position I would hold until June 1993.
Since Madonna University is a small school that offers a wide variety of courses, programs, and majors, it was necessaryto teach a wide variety of courses. During my tenure at Madonna, I taught the following courses, with the first ones listed being the courses I taught most frequently (course numbers are from the current updated 4-digit system).
- Undergraduate courses:
- Principles/Introduction to Marketing, MKT2440
- Principles of Microeconomics, ECN2720
- Principles of Macroeconomics, ECN2730
- Economics for Human Services, ECN2710
- Business Policy, MGT4950
- Money and Banking, ECN3800
- Principles of Management, MGT 2360
- Sales Management, MKT3870
- Principles of Advertising, MKT3730
- Business Marketing, MKT3660
- Principles of Accounting I, ACC2010
- Graduate courses:
- International Trade and Finance, INB5350
- Economic Environment and Business, ECN5180
- Managerial Economics, ECN6100
- Economics and U.S. Healthcare Policies, ECN7020
- Essentials of Marketing, MKT 5160
- Marketing Strategy, MKT 5790
During my tenure at Madonna the business school expanded and developed several new programs and initiatives. I was actively involved in curriculum planning and delivery of these programs. One program was a Master’s program for Chinese students that was delivered 50% in China and 50% in a concentrated residency at the main campus. A second program was, again, a business Master’s degree targeted exclusively to medical doctors and dentists.
Madonna University’s students were primarily working adults looking to finish degrees and further their careers.
- Advising: Masters Thesis adviser for over ten graduate students
- Academic adviser for all undergraduate Marketing majors
- Faculty co-advisor to Business Honorary Society
- Developed new curriculum for Marketing major
- Served on University Admissions and Marketing Committees
- Advised on development of International Programs
- Developed and taught faculty development program on International Business on grant from US Dept. of Commerce
- Developed and wrote supplemental materials (workbooks, bibliography, and videos) for adding International business content to business principles courses on grant from U.S. Commerce Dept.
Adjunct Teaching Responsibilities
Henry Ford Community College
I taught economics as an adjunct professor at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan during two different periods. I first taught at HFCC in Fall, 1986 through Winter, 1989. During this period I taught 1 or 2 sections per semester of principles of micro-economics and macro-economics. Classes were face-to-face evening sections of 35 students each. I then returned to teach at HFCC in Winter 2001 through Winter 2005. During this second stint, I again taught the same courses. Over 13 terms, I taught 20 sections. During the last two terms at HFCC I taught exclusively online using the uCompass Course Management System.
One unique feature of the HFCC student population is it’s diversity. Dearborn is home to the largest Arabic population in the U.S. In addition to serving a typical suburban community college population, HFCC also serves this large Arabic community and the neighboring inner-city community of Detroit.
I taught as an adjunct professor at Walsh College in Troy and Novi, Michigan in 2001-2002. Walsh was significantly different from teaching economics at a community college. At Walsh I taught a 4-credit graduate E-Commerce course I developed. The course was part of a newly created M.S. Business Information Technology degree program. I taught 8 sections of 25 students each over 4 semesters. The degree program was new and I was the first to teach the course. The students were all working professionals in techology and managment. Walsh provided an interesting challenge in developing a new course from nothing. The first challenge was the lack of a textbook. In 2001, E-commerce was such a new topic that no real textbooks existed. I developed the theoretical framework for the class with my own notes and lectures and supplemented it with cases and selected readings. The second challenge was to make it sufficiently advanced and theoretical enough to be a true graduate MS course while maintaining the interest of working professionals that often wanted “down-and-dirty” how-to tech guidance. The solution to the second challenge was making a practical e-commerce development project the centerpiece of the course. The project included both the business justification and strategic analysis as well as the tech and coding development. I relied heavily on my own experiences in integrating business management, strategic consulting, and the tech development of my own e-commerce start-up business.
Wayne State University
While I was undertaking my Ph.D. studies at Wayne State University I again taught principles of micro economics and macro economics. Although technically I was a “Teaching Assistant”, I was given independent sections to teach since I was already an experienced teacher and had two Master’s degrees. I had full responsibility for everything except textbook selection: lectures, tests, grading, assesments, and assignments. I taught for five sections Principles of Economics courses of 40 students each over 4 semesters, counting the summer term. Since my sections were day-time main campus, students were typical 18-24 year olds, mostly full-time students. Wayne, being a major urban research university has a very diverse student population.
Monterey Peninsula College
Monterey Peninsular College was my first independent teaching experience. I taught principles of microeconomics to community college students. I only taught two semesters at MPC because relocation took me away from Monterey. In the first semester I taught a daytime section of fresh-from-high school students. Like the Monterey-Salinas community itself, the students were highly diverse with a significant Hispanic population. Most of the students would eventually transfer into either the University of California or Cal State systems. My second semester was very different. I taught on-base at Fort Ord, U.S. Army base. The classes started at 4 pm each day and virtually the entire class consisted of enlisted soldiers. I can’t say they were the intellectually the sharpest or best prepared students I ever had, but they were clearly the most dedicated and hardest working I have ever had. These soldier-students were often literally running in to make class, dog-tired after an all-day hike in gear, still coated in mud. Yet they paid more attention and took notes and asked questions as much as any other class I have ever had. Their effort motivated me to give my best. It also served as powerful reminder to me of how community college is viewed as the “ticket” up for large numbers of working class and other less-advantage people. This has become part of my motivation to teach still.
Wright State University
My first adventure in teaching was at Wright State University while still an undergraduate student. In my senior year at Wright State I was a teaching assistant for the SPC 203, Business Communication class. This was a required class for all business undergraduate majors and was provided by the Speech and Communication Department. I had an excellent background since I was both a successful speaker on the WSU intercollegiate speech and debate team at the time and I was pursuing two bachelor’s degrees, one in business finance and one in speech/rhetoric. Students attended a 1hour lecture each week provided by the professor and I taught a 2 hour lab each week. The primary activity in the lab was listening to students give speeches and providing feedback. Some speeches were developmental and called for formative feedback and suggestions. Other speeches were for summative assessment for which I did the grading. I learned two valuable lessons as a teacher myself that year. First, I learned that I enjoyed teaching and was very comfortable as the teacher in a classroom. Second, I learned the importance of adapting to each student’s needs. In speechmaking, some students are petrified and need encouragement and nurturing. Others needed to be challenged to bring out their best. And yet others are skilled already but can still benefit from tips and more coaching.
Corporate Training and Development
Between 1984 and 1994, I developed and taught several corporate training and development programs as part of my consulting business, Planning Solutions.
Zellerbach (The Mead Corporation)
Between 1984 and 1993, I was engaged by the Zellerbach division of The Mead Corporation to design, develop, and deliver a series of educational programs for employees. Zellerbach was an approximately $2 billion ($4billion in today’s dollars) wholesale distributor of printing papers, packaging materials and equipment, hospitality supplies, and other paper products through a network of over 100 warehouses and sales offices nationwide. The primary objectives of these educational and training programs was to improve all employees’ understanding of how an industrial distributor made profits (the “economics of the business”), the strategic goals and direction of Zellerbach, and how their jobs and decisions affect the firm’s profits. I designed and delivered five different programs during this period.
- Inventory Management and Purchasing. 1984-1985
- Economics of the Business for Managers 1986-1991
- Economics of the Business for Sales Reps 1988-1990
- Sales Management 1990-1993
- Advanced Sales Management 1990-1993
- Strategic Management of the Packaging Business 1992-1994
- Strategic Management of the Hospitality and Supplies Business 1993-1994
I was responsible for the entire programs from initial conception, design, production of materials including texts, workbooks, presentations, and videos, and on-site teaching of sessions. The most common format was face-to-face 3-5 day sessions held off-site at hotels across the country. One program, the Packaging Management program involved distance-learning modules completed by correspondence followed by a face-to-face session. Learning activities included short lectures-discussions, extensive group problem-solving exercises, role-playing sessions, videos, and workbook problems. In total well over 1,600 people partipated in these programs. The programs were discontinued when Mead sold the Zellerbach division to International Paper.
In the late 1980’s a General Motors and the United Auto Workers contracted with leading economists to develop 1/2 day and 1 day programs for UAW hourly employees. The topic of these programs was primarily macroeconomics and international trade. The objective was educational (not training) to help hourly workers understand the macro environment the company and union were facing. The materials were prepared by the UAW national headquarters. I taught the program five times at locals in Pontiac and Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1989-1990.
In 1984-1985 I taught classes at License Exam Trainers in Santa Ana, California. LET is private, for-profit training school that teaches courses that prepare students to take financial licensing examinations. The courses I taught were 3 and 5 day sessions that prepared students to take the Series 7 and Series 63 National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) exams. In 2007, NASD was replaced by FINRA. These licenses are necessary in the U.S. to sell mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and other securities. I studied for and obtained my own Series 7 and Series 63 licenses, as well as property and life insurance licenses, while in the employ of Dean Witter Reynolds, an NASD and NYSE broker in 1978.