Economics Department Working Groups

In a statement of support and solidary that was issued in June 2020, the Economics Department made a commitment to do its part to fight systemic racism and adopt practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for all marginalized and underrepresented groups.

To follow through with our commitment, we have created three working groups that will identify and initiate best practices for eliminating racism and all forms of prejudice, bias, and discrimination and ensure that all of our students have the resources and support needed to advance in the field of Economics. The working groups are comprised of Economics faculty, but we will be reaching out to students in the fall to collaborate with us and join our efforts.

1. Classroom Climate/Experience Working Group: The group’s goal is to develop teaching practices that support students from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds. The group will focus on three areas in particular:

  • How to talk about race/discrimination in class in a way that is broadly inclusive
  • How to run class in a way that makes everyone feel heard and does not shut anyone down
  • Exploring more flexible grading practices

2020-2021 Goals: The group plans to survey students and alumni on classroom experience and develop a set of best practices for the department.

2. Curriculum Working Group: The main goal of the curriculum working group is to ensure that course content across the entire curriculum is relevant for engaging students with a wide range of knowledge, life experiences, and interests. The group will explore alternative principles-level textbooks that provide more exposure to economic research that is diverse in both authorship and topics, such as CORE Econ. We will offer suggestions for incorporating schools of thought designed to address group-based inequality such as Feminist economics, stratification economics, institutional economics, and political economy, as well as make recommendations for new course offerings. Finally, we will examine other pedagogical tools that can be used to foster a sense of belonging and engagement with economics.

2020-2021 Goals: The group plans to examine the course content across the entire curriculum to identify how we are currently exploring issues of inequality and discrimination, as well as other topics that are relevant for diverse students and provide suggestions for course development, new course offerings, structural changes to the major, and other curricular changes that will strengthen student engagement with economics and incorporate diversity, justice, and sustainability; 2) identify a replacement textbook for Mankiw, such as Core Econ.

3. Access to Resources for Advancement in Economics Working Group: This group aims to improve the representation of students of color in both the economics major and the economics field. The group will work to identify the departmental resources that are necessary for students to sustain interest in economics and succeed in their courses. We will focus on three areas in particular:

  • Increasing the visibility of the department to attract a more diverse group of students
  • Create co-curricular activities to help students connect with one another and build a sense of community within economics
  • Foster opportunities (internships, summer research, research fellowships, etc.) that will inspire and prepare students to influence the generation of economic knowledge and the direction of economic policy.

2020-2021 Goals: The group will work to ensure that our students have the resources they need for academic success (peer tutoring, additional advising, financial support for resources needed that the College won't cover, etc.) in online courses. The group will also rethink the URC application process to improve the diversity of applicants. The group plans to increase the visibility of the department by partnering with the ESA, WOE and other existing organizations and support faculty-student meetings. Finally, the group will reach out to alumni as potential partners and mentors for current students.