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Last updated January 2010.

I will not be updating this site regularly.

Teaching Philosophy
I believe students should develop their ideas and hone their skills in a climate of academic freedom; without fear of unorthodoxy, and free of interference.

I believe that students learn skills, professional behaviour, and standards of scholarship through the role model of their instructor and classmates.

I believe that students have the right to expect that I will maintain and update my skills and knowledge, and that the most current knowledge and interpretations are being taught.

I believe that students have the right to expect that evaluation and feedback given them is a true and sincere measure of their knowledge and skill level.

I believe students need opportunities to learn from various teaching styles to meet their individual needs. However, any single instructor need not provide all teaching styles to all students on demand. I believe it is sufficient to explain my teaching approach and standards in a clear and explicit manner, and to advice students of the availability of alternative instruction opportunities.

I believe that the duties and responsibilities of professors are different for first-year or first-time students than they are for senior undergraduate and graduate students. My approach is to lecture and hold in-class discussions when class size precludes seminars or individual tutorials.

I believe that the responsibility for learning by senior and graduate students lies primarily with the student. The role of the professor is to guide, to assist, to discuss, to suggest, and to mentor rather than to transfer mere information. My approach with small size classes is a seminar/workshop format or individual tutoring.

I believe that the relationship between students and professors should be a professional one in which each accords the other due respect and consideration with respect to keeping appointments, forms of address, and decorum at all times.

On Preparation and Prerequisites
Much of economics is cumulative and cross disciplinary. Students are expected to have satisfied any course prerequisites, or be prepared to learn such material or skills on their own. I shall discuss material and examine according to the standard set by the course, even if I do not cover prerequisite material in the course itself. For example, material in a prerequisite course may be examined, or mathematical techniques may be employed if either is prerequisite for the course.

On Grading
I regard grading as one of the more distasteful but necessary aspects of my duties. I assign letter grades rather than percentage grades. (There are some exceptions.) I do this to emphasize the subjective element that exists in any process of evaluation. Percentage grades, in my judgment, give a false impression of "exactness" or that the "correct" answer can be divided into a fixed number of items, which are either present or absent. I use letter grades also to discourage haggling over an extra point or two. This is an unproductive exchange as neither the professor nor student can, in good conscience, really believe that the evaluation procedure can be fined tuned to such a degree of precision. I believe it is more helpful to explain my letter grade assignment.

In general, for essay style answers and term paper assignments, I assign a grade of C or C+ to work that demonstrates average competence and grasp of the material, and which is well presented and well written. I then assess whether the work demonstrates: (1) superior research or analysis; (2) superior writing, structure and presentation; or (3) superior conception or insight. The presence of any of these elements raises the the mark by one letter grade, so that the presence of all three elements will earn an A. Creativity and originality beyond this will merit an A+, which I regarded as a rare grade rather than "highest" grade.

I subscribe to the notion of a minimum "standard" that should be met. Therefore, I do not "mark on a curve"; that is, I do not have a preconceived distribution of grades. Unless the class size is large enough, and the class enrollment procedure leads to a sample for which distribution curve types or shapes are known, I find no justification for any sort of mandatory curve in determining final grades.

On Deadlines
I believe in firm deadlines; extensions are not granted. Students who receive routine extensions gain an advantage over their classmates who adhere to the course requirements. This is unfair. Further, deadlines are a feature of real life; an economist assigned to prepare an analysis for the Finance Minister cannot simply ask that the budget be delayed until they finish their assignment. Meeting deadlines is a discipline associated with professional responsibility.

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