Faculty at the meetings noted that students’ emotional fragility has become a serious problem when in comes to grading. Some said they had grown afraid to give low grades for poor performance, because of the subsequent emotional crises they would have to deal with in their offices. Many students, they said, now view a C, or sometimes even a B, as failure, and they interpret such “failure” as the end of the world. Faculty also noted an increased tendency for students to blame them (the faculty) for low grades—they weren’t explicit enough in telling the students just what the test would cover or just what would distinguish a good paper from a bad one. They described an increased tendency to see a poor grade as reason to complain rather than as reason to study more, or more effectively. Much of the discussions had to do with the amount of handholding faculty should do versus the degree to which the response should be something like, “Buck up, this is college.” Does the first response simply play into and perpetuate students’ neediness and unwillingness to take responsibility? Does the second response create the possibility of serious emotional breakdown, or, who knows, maybe even suicide?
As the father of a college student, a high school student and a middle school student, and as a college professor, I see this first hand. I have seen my own kids panic over getting a low grade (B?) and I have had my own students blame me for their lack of performance. I'm not pointing fingers as I know this is a collective failure of pre-college teachers failing to prepare students for the independence, personal responsibility and higher expectations for college-level work; of parents for stepping in too quickly to help their children when they are struggling; and of college professors/instructors for failing to maintain high standards out of fear of student backlash or worse.
But I also know that caving to low standards of personal expectations set prior to college does nothing to prepare college students for life outside of college.
A quick side story: The only class I came close to failing in high school was public speaking. I wasn't a great high school student, but I could manage B's and C's in most classes with minimal effort (seems I was even an economist back then). But public speaking, well, I sucked at it. Even though I was in a class of people I knew, I was deathly-scared of talking in front of others. Not just 'I'm a little nervous' scared, but 'wet-my-pants' scared. 'Vomit-on-my-sweater-mom's-spaghetti' scared. I tried. I really did. I tried to pick topics I knew. I tried to find ways to calm myself down. But my fears kept getting the better of me. I got a 'D' in the class. Not because the teacher didn't teach me. Not because my parents didn't step in to twist the teacher's arm to get me a higher grade. Mrs. Knode didn't give me a 'D' in public speaking. I earned it.
And I am grateful.
I learned from it. That 'D' was a challenge. I could've either said 'I suck at public speaking, so I will always avoid it,' or I could do what I did: figure out a way to get better at it.
Today, I can stand in front of a class of 200 students and talk for an hour three days a week. I can go to a professional conference and talk in front of an audience of people who are all a lot smarter than me.
I still get nervous. I'm still not a great public speaker. But thanks to that 'D' I know that I need to put in effort to get better.
What if my parents had stepped in and twisted the teacher's arm? What if Mrs. Knode had settled and given me a 'B''?
Getting a 'D' sucked. But I'm better for it.
So my unsolicited advise to all is this:
Parents: Help but don't solve. Guide but don't direct. And by all means, support your kids' teachers rather than blame them. Believe it or not, most of your kids are not geniuses, superstars, or presidential material (mine of course are, but yours? Not so much.). Sorry. But they can be successful even with an occasional stumble or failure.
Pre-College Teachers: Maintain standards. Don't be afraid to be critical. You don't have to be an ass about it, but tell students when their work is not good enough. Tell them when their effort doesn't meet your standards. And stand up to parents. Parents are going to bitch, they are going to complain, they are going to blame you. It's part of your job--and it sucks. Deal with it and remember that if you cave to low standards, you are passing the problem on and setting the students up for future failure.
College professors/instructors: Hold students to a higher standard than they have ever been held. Fail them if they earn it. Pass them if they earn it. Give them the grade they have earned, not the grade they demand. Stop worrying about student evaluations--especially if you are tenured. Yes, you should strive to be a great teacher, but don't target good evaluations by lowering your standards. Find ways to challenge students and they will reward you...and remember that if you cave to low standards, you are passing the problem on and setting the students up for future failure.
Students: You get what you earn. Teachers and Professors don't GIVE you a grade, you EARN your grade. A lack of success is not the fault of your professor, your high school teacher, your parents or the village. It is a result of the effort your put in. That's not unfair. That's FAIR. You get back what you put in. Don''t blame others for your failures--find a way to succeed. It's hard, it takes effort, others will find it easier than you--oh well. Suck it up. You can handle it--if you want to. And even with your best effort, you might not get what you think you deserve (I still have dreams of being a major-leaguer, but unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I can't hit a curve ball...or a fastball...OK, I can't hit at all). Move on, you will find where you can succeed. And remember that if you cave to low standards, you are setting yourself up for future failure.
BOONE, NC — In an incident that students involved are calling “absolute gold” and “oh my god hang on a second I’m dying”, local freshman Matty Bridges reportedly called his Economics professor “mom”.
“Oh god, ok so he had a question while we were going through the PowerPoint, right? So when he raised his hand he goes ‘uh mom?’” laughed Bobby Trenton, who was sitting next to Bridges at the time of the faux pas. “Then the room went completely silent, the kid grabbed his book bag, pushed away from the desk and then just left. He ran into like two desks and the door on the way out.”
Within mere hours, classmates noted, Bridges’ name was absent from the class registry, and hallmates have claimed he has yet to emerge from his dorm room closet.
“He was kind of robotic about it…like he had left his body,” observed Natalie Fredericks, who seemed concerned. “I heard him muttering ‘oh my god, oh my god, oh my god’…I think he farted when he knocked into the door on the way out.”
Bridges has reportedly dyed and cut his hair and deleted his Facebook since dropping the course. When reached for comment said only: “It was early, okay? I-I meant to say “ma’am”…SHUT UP!”.
Professors often belittle their students for procrastination. From the inbox:
Many of you may be aware that we have seen performance issues today in AsULearn. In an effort to isolate the issue, we will temporarily restrict the process of import/restore to the non-peak hours between 5PM and 9AM each weekday.
The AsULearn service will still be available 24/7; only the teacher's ability to import/restore course materials is being time-limited. Other imports, such as gradebook/scantron imports, are not affected. NOTE: Files may still be added to the course, and no other course functionality will be affected.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding as we work through this problem.
AsULearn is our Moodle course management system. "Import/restore" is when you take your saved course (i.e., syllabus, quizzes, other assignments) from a previous semester and move it to the current semester. Today is the first day of classes. So, yes, a bunch of professors waited until the last minute to get ready for the first day of class (I did my import/restore last week).
I review the history of economics and its role in policymaking at EPA and provide insight into how economics has changed national environmental policy in the United States. EPA economists and economics make significant contributions to the agency that extend beyond the very important one of providing decision-makers with a sense of the benefits and costs of relevant policy options. An obvious triumph of economics is widespread adoption of market incentive-based policy instruments. Other noteworthy contributions by economists exist but may be less obvious. Taken together, these success stories—or failures, for those who think economics should have made even bigger contributions—provide lessons on how economics can play its role in the policy process. Have economics and economists made a difference to environmental policy? The answer, from my experience, is an emphatic yes. And some of our most profound influences have probably been outside the scope of a benefit-cost analysis.
Al discusses the early history of environmental economics at EPA and how the influence of outside economists helped inform and expand economics at EPA; successes including the increased use of market incentives; Executive Order 12291 and benefit-cost analysis with examples including Alar and lead in gasoline; and ends with the current state of environmental economics at EPA and thoughts for the future.
Full disclosure: Al is my boss and a great one, but I would be recommending this anyway. I think the article is appropriate for any environmental economics class but I would think it's especially useful for cross-listed classes with a lot of non-economics majors who may not understand how environmental economics is relevant at EPA.
This work is not a product of the United States Government or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the author is not doing this work in any governmental capacity. The views expressed are those of the author only and do not necessarily represent those of the United States or the US EPA.
I was recently advising an economics student about PhD programs in US economics departments (straight econ, not agricultural or other departments) with fields in environmental economics. I excluded ag econ because of the more limited teaching opportunities at the non-RI university (other than East Carolina University and Appalachian State University, who would hire an aggie in an economics department?):
This is the list that I came up with (in alphabetical order):
Arizona State University
Georgia State University
Iowa State University*
North Carolina State University*
University of Arizona
University of California San Diego
University of California Santa Barbara
University of Colorado
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Kentucky
University of Maryland
University of New Hampshire
University of New Mexico
University of Michigan
University of Oregon
University of Tennessee
University of Texas
University of Washington
University of Wyoming
The list seems a bit short. What am I missing?**
*These is a combined econ/ag econ program. I think the diplomas say PhD in Economics.
**The list has been updated from the comments and additional investigation prompted by the comments. Please note that Harvard, Duke, Chicago, MIT, Stanford etc are also fine schools where one can be well-trained in environmental and resource economics in an economics department. It's just that most people who are looking at those places aren't coming to me for advice.
How do you get them to actually read the required readings?
A survey of undergraduates on 23 campuses by the National Association of College Stores, expected to be released on Thursday, found that students spent an average of $563 on course materials during the 2014-15 academic year, compared with $638 the year before.
The decrease is due in part to the rise of textbook-rental programs, which cost less, association officials note. But of those students who did not buy textbooks, the report noted, a greater percentage than in the past said it was because "they believed them to be unnecessary."
Another recent survey of college students, by the Book Industry Study Group, found a similar change in attitude, says Nadine Vassallo, a project manager for the group. "Students say, We see the materials as recommendations rather than requirements," she explains.
A separate survey of professors on the same campuses, meanwhile, found that they almost never see the course materials as optional. "What we think is happening is students are waiting to see how much the material is used before they buy them," Ms. Vassallo says.
I'd like to see these results correlated with student grades because it is my hunch that if you don't buy/read the book then either (a) you don't learn as a much and will do poorly on exams or (b) you aren't inclined to do well in college anyway (i.e., sample selection).
From my sophomore level environmental and resource economics class:
Im an environmental chemistry major so i had to take the class for my major. He's a nice guy, he doesnt seem full of himself like people have said on here. for lectures he just kind of draws graphs with abbreviated notes and arrows so its kind of hard to follow if you dont know much about economics. lots of extra credit though, and really laid back
SUMMARY: Distilleries are navigating a bourbon-barrel shortage, as increased demand for the drink coincided with reduction of logging of the white oak wood. Prices of barrels are up sharply. The shortage reflects a supply-chain conundrum. Upstream, barrel makers face a wave of demand because a half dozen established bourbon distilleries and 300 new, craft distilleries are increasing production amid a bourbon boom. Downstream, they face a shortage of white oak wood used in barrels because the lumber industry hasn't rebounded from the housing market's collapse.
CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Students can evaluate the effect of an increased demand for bourbon barrels and white oak in general and the decrease in the supply of white oak on the equilibrium price of bourbon barrels.
QUESTIONS: 1. (Introductory) Is the demand for bourbon barrels a derived demand?
2. (Introductory) What has caused the increasing demand for bourbon barrels? What has caused the increasing demand for white oak?
3. (Advanced) What has caused the decreased supply of white oak?
4. (Advanced) "Leroy McGinnis's Missouri-based company, McGinnis Wood Products Inc., gets about four email requests a day for barrels. He turns most down. Like many of his competitors, he has only enough capacity and wood to fill orders from longtime customers. The rest go on a waiting list, perpetuating a bourbon barrel shortage now entering its third year." Should Mr. McGinnis raise prices so as to eliminate the excess demand for his company's barrels?
Reviewed By: James Dearden, Lehigh University
Here are the quantities:
And from the article:
The logging industry last year rebounded to produce 8.6 billion board feet as the housing market recovered. But the white oak supply hasn’t caught up with demand from barrel makers. There was plenty of white oak to harvest, but not enough loggers to cut it, forestry experts say. “So many logging firms that went out of business or shrunk in size, their capacity was limited,” said Jeff Stringer, a University of Kentucky professor of hardwood silviculture and forest operations.
"This blog aims to look at more of the microeconomic ideas that can be used toward environmental ends. Bringing to bear a large quantity of external sources and articles, this blog presents a clear vision of what economic environmentalism can be."
Don't believe what they're saying
And allow me a quick moment to gush: ... The env-econ.net blog was more or less a lifeline in that period of my life, as it was one of the few ways I stayed plugged into the env. econ scene. -- Anonymous
... the Environmental Economics blog ... is now the default homepage on my browser (but then again, I guess I am a wonk -- a word I learned on the E.E. blog). That is a very nice service to the profession. -- Anonymous
"... I try and read the blog everyday and have pointed it out to other faculty who have their students read it for class. It is truly one of the best things in the blogosphere." -- Anonymous