Professor Bill Demory
Job Title: Economics Instructor
Department: Business Division
Office location: Signal Peak, O-121
Email Address: email@example.com
Instructional and interest areas: Economic Education
Education: Master of Arts in Economics and Entrepreneurship for Educators, University of Delaware, Newark, DE; Master of Business Administration, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA; Bachelor of Science in Public Administration, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
There is good news, and bad news about the study of economics.
The good news is that economics is everywhere in our daily lives, e.g. sports, government, religion, medicine, science, military, and law. Thus, in some ways this may be the most practical and/or useful class offered at the community college level.
The bad news is that this can be the most boring, dismal, convoluted, abstract, contradictory, confusing subject matter to study. Why? First, this is not an exact science; rather a combination of subjective thinking with objective thinking. Economics is the study of choice under the condition of scarcity. There are tradeoffs involved when makng choices. Choosing one alternative leads to a forgone choice. Using cost and benefit analysis helps us make smart choices on all kinds of issues. So, once you understand that it is mostly about a new way of thinking, it becomes tolerable. Secondly, I have often said (jokingly) that we should not allow a student to take any economics class until they are at least 40 years of age. This subject is a lot more interesting if you have personally experienced many of the economic situations that arise in ones life. I can personally attest to this; as an 18 year old, I flunked my very first economics class at the University of Arizona because, a) it was boring, and b) I didn't go to class very often. For those of you who are not recent high school graduates, I think you'll have an advantage and will soon understand what I mean.
Because of the two bad news points I just noted, my approach to teaching both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics is probably a little different than most college econ instructors.
First, I do not consider myself a teacher. Rather, I view my position as a moderator, facilitator, orchestator, or coach. Rather than bore you with all the research, the fact is that the best instructors at this level are the ones that present a variety of learning opportunities to a class, and then get out of the way and let students learn on their own. In fact, many students can learn more from a fellow student (who might be able to restate a principle or idea in a simpler way), than they do from the "talking head" at the front of class. Obviously, the instructor should always be there to help when students need help with any of the learning opportunities, which I will.
Secondly, I doubt that any of you want to be like Ben Bernanke when you grow up. Thus, if you are not planning on becoming an economics major and/or working as a professional economist, I believe it is important for me to present this course material accordingly. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I have spent a lot of time sorting through what's important in the text, versus what's not important so that you are not completely bombarded with a gigantic text which will only confuse the learning process. In fact, studies have shown that our short term memories can only handle about six or seven new concepts/ideas/principles before they start squeezing out existing knowledge in our short term memory. This is probably an oversimplified explanation of the process, but I'm sure you get the idea.
By now you have been preached to that learning is a lifelong process - which is true, so I'll skip that sermon. However, along those lines, I compare our PHYSICAL muscle-tone to our MENTAL muscle-tone. That is this - if you don't use it, you'll lose it. So my advise to you is to always seek opportunities to learn something new, because from that experience you will grow, mature, and change for the better, and keep your mind from turning to mush. In fact, some of the most painful experiences can be the most rewarding, because you'll discover that it is exciting to discover that "your reach can exceed your grasp." For those of you who have accomplished something which you previously thought was not probable, you know exactly what I mean.
Lastly, if you've not already discovered this, learning is lot more about asking good questions than about getting the correct answers. Critical thinking skills that involve a curious mind are at a premium in the workplace today, so please try to develop the ability to locate, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information via probing questions - you'll then enhance your chances of success in any lifetime endeavor.