It is with great enthusiasm and a little surprise that I write this letter, the first to our alumni community in my new role as chair of the Department of Economics. Surprise because having just returned in Fall 2017 from over two years away working for the United Nations in Switzerland, I welcomed the chance to settle back into the rewards of teaching and research at CSU. Despite my own half-hearted efforts to stand back for a while, there is just too much great and important work – and the potential for a lot more – to pass up the opportunity.
To give you a sampling of what I mean, drawing from the very recent past:
- Ed Barbier, one of the world’s foremost thinkers on ecology and economics – and I’m not using hyperbole here – joined the Department in Fall 2017, greatly deepening our programs on both the environment and economic development.
- By way of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies as well as its program on the Global Demography of Aging, we welcomed Dr. Ray Miller as a new assistant professor. His research investigates the determinants and consequences of health disparities and social inequality.
- Jo Burgess-Barbier as a new special assistant professor. Most recently teaching at the University of Wyoming, Dr. Burgess-Barbier’s research focuses on the role of the environment in sustainable economic development.
- Assistant Professor Anders Fremstad got national news coverage for his research on carbon taxes and income inequality (check it out at The Economist and NBC news).
- Associate Professor Anita Pena was interviewed by National Public Radio about her work (joint with graduate student Edward Teather-Posadas) on the impacts of field sanitation conditions on US farms on the food economy.
- Associate Professor Daniele Tavani just published the second edition of Growth and Distribution with Harvard University Press, one of the most important textbooks featuring alternative macroeconomic theories and applications (his two co-authors are titans in the field).
- We host a world-class weekly seminar series featuring internationally-renowned speakers as well as our own graduate students; you can catch video recordings of them here.
- The Regional Economic Development Institute, an engaged research enterprise housed in the Department, is doing groundbreaking work on the overlaps between struggling urban and rural regions, especially in Colorado. It’s got some interesting plans for engaging with the new National Western Center in Denver, including creating new opportunities for undergraduate training and research. Dr. Stephan Weiler, its Director and William E. Morgan Professor of Economics, is currently the Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair at City-REDI, an urban-focused associate organization at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. (He’ll be back next semester).
- We have become the home for Feminist Economics, the economics discipline’s premier journal on gender, where I also serve as editor. With the help of the Provost, beginning in Fall 2019 the Department will host a two-year post-doctoral research and teaching associate who specializes in the racial, ethnic and/or gender dimensions of poverty and inequality.
- We have started revamping our introductory economics courses to be more engaging and relatable for students from a wider diversity of backgrounds and passions, which includes making the associated text open electronic access and therefore free to students. And the Department just conferred the first Keller Faculty for Excellence in Teaching Award to Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator Nancy Jianakoplos, established by recently retired economics professor extraordinaire Robert Keller.
It is a tremendous time for the Department, and I am thrilled to lend its students and faculty support and leadership. Part of that is about strengthening communication and connections with alumni. We will of course be reaching out from time to time to forge those links, but please feel free to contact me directly at any time with ideas, questions, or just to check in.
Elissa Braunstein, Professor and Chair
Department of Economics
Braunstein’s recent successes emblematic of department’s rise
CSU’s Department of Economics is enjoying an upward trajectory, and that rise is reflected in its new chair, Elissa Braunstein.
An interview with professor and senior scholar Ed Barbier
A year and a half later, Economics Professor Ed Barbier reflects on Colorado State University and his time with the College of Liberal Arts.
CSU alumna uses economics degree in the world of reporting
Erin Douglas ('18) double-majored in economics and journalism and media communications, and found that the pair gave her an edge over other reporters.
Bob Keller celebrates great teaching
Economics Professor Robert Keller dedicated his CSU career to elevating educational programming across the campus and inspiring curiosity in his students. Keller recently created an endowment to support excellence in undergraduate teaching.
Stephan Weiler supports graduate student research
Stephan Weiler’s career is devoted to developing strategies to spark economic vitality in struggling areas. Together with Kari Weiler, he created an endowment to support graduate students who focus their research on regional economics.
Other Department News
- Under the surface: How CSU economists tracked a disease in Flint’s water crisis - Sammy Zahran and David Mushinski used statistical analysis to determine the source of the outbreak of Legionnaries' disease in Flint
- College of Liberal Arts enjoys successful Fulbright award season - featuring Stephan Weiler's research on regional economic growth and development
- Outstanding Grad: Jacob Howard Moore - Moore ('18) is now at Oxford University pursuing a master's degree in economics
- How to design carbon taxes - Anders Fremsted's research have been featured nationally, including in The Economist and NBC News
- The Dynamics of Development: How school attendance differs by gender - Niroj Bhattarai ('18) examined issues of global poverty in his dissertation research, focusing on school attendance in Nepal