Without realizing it, I have been practicing the scholarship of teaching and learning since I began teaching in 1955-56. I continually experimented with different approaches hoping that by the time students completed my courses they had not only mastered the economics content but could also demonstrate to friends, colleagues, and others they could actually do something with what they had learned. This idea began to take more concrete shape in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I regularly taught writing intensive courses in economics, taught a research course for junior-senior economics majors, tried to incorporate more active learning techniques into large introductory lecture courses, and interacted regularly with a wide range of private, public, and non-profit sector employees to find out what they expected of the economics majors they hired. I also gained exposure to “problem-based” learning while it was being introduced into the conomics curriculum at the Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
The fruits of these activities materialized in my 1986 American Economics Review paper, What Knowledge Is Of Most Worth – to Economics Majors. In the subsequent ten years I developed and applied a full-fledged proficiencies based approach to introductory, intermediate, and graduate-level courses. In the years since retirement I am preparing a series of papers elaborating on this approach, and I hope to pull this material together in book form within the next several years.
Expected Proficiencies for Economics Majors
What should graduating economics majors know about economics, and how should they be able to demonstrate what they learned as economics majors? In an on-going series of papers, Hansen describes what prompted him to conceive of a proficiency-based approach to the major and his current description of these proficiencies and various ways that students can demonstrate their mastery of these proficiencies.
Central to a proficiencies-based approach is the structuring of individusal courses so as to help students develop these proficiencies. This requires a blend of different kinds of pedagogies, a clear statement of course objectives, course materials, learning activities, and assignments that can contribute to building these proficiencies, how course examinations can assess student mastery of these proficiencies, and how proficiency-based courses can be evaluated.
Hansen is currently exploring the links between his proficiency-based approach to the major and (a) the proficiencies being developed in general education courses students take as freshmen and sophomores, and (b) the meaning of a liberal education. Of particular relevance are 16, 25, 30, 32, 35, 37, 38, and 39.
- “Economic Efficiency and the Distribution of Benefits from College Instructio n,” with Allen C. Kelley and Burton A. Weisbrod, American Economic Review, 60 (May, 1970) pp. 364-369.
- “Political Economy of Course Evaluations,” with Allen C. Kelley, Journal of Economic Education, 5 (Fall, 1973) pp. 10-21.
- “Readings on Effective Teaching,” Journal of Economic Education, 5 (Fall, 1973) pp. 63-67.
- “The Principles Course: What Should Be In It and Where Should It Be Going?” American Economic Review, 65 (May, 1975) pp. 434-437.
- A Framework for Teaching Economics: Basic Concepts, with G. L. Bach, James D. Calderwood, and Phillip Saunders. New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1977. 52 p.
- “Economics Course Content,” with Phillip Saunders and Arthur L. Welsh, in Phillip Saunders, Arthur L. Welsh, and W. Lee Hansen (editors), Resource Manual for Teacher Training Programs in Economics, New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1978, pp.9-16.
- “Improving Classroom Discussion in Economics,” in Phillip Saunders, Arthur L. Welsh, and W. Lee Hansen (editors), Resource Manual for Teacher Training Programs in Economics, New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1978, pp. 127-168.
- “Organizing an Economics Course,” in Phillip Saunders, Arthur L. Welsh, and W. Lee Hansen (editors), Resource Manual for Teacher Training Programs in Economics, New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1978, pp. 235-268.
- “Course and Instructor Evaluation,” in Phillip Saunders, Arthur L. Welsh, and W. Lee Hansen (editors), Resource Manual for Teacher Training Programs in Economics, New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1978, pp. 283-312.
- “Learning Aids in Classroom Teaching,” in Phillip Saunders, Arthur L. Welsh, and W. Lee Hansen (editors), Resource Manual for Teacher Training Programs in Economics, New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1978, pp. 313-332
- “Teacher Training Programs in College Economics: Their Development, Current Status, and Future Prospects,” with Phillip Saunders and Arthur L. Welsh, Journal of Economic Education, 10 (Spring 1980), pp. 1-9; an abridged version appears in Proceedings and Papers, Sixth Intern ational Conference on Improving University Teaching, Lausanne, Switzerland, July 1980, pp. 790-798.
- “Student and Faculty Attitudes About the Quality of Student Writing Skills and What Might Be Done to Improve Them,” Wisconsin English Journal, 21 (October 1981) pp. 13-19.
- “Improving Classroom Discussion in Economics,” Journal of Economic Education, 14 (Winter 1983) pp. 40-49.
- “Teaching the Concept of Demand: Another Approach,” Journal of Economic Education, 15 (Spring 1984) pp. 148-153.
- A Framework for Teaching Economics: Basic Concepts, with G. L. Bach, James D. Calderwood, and Phillip Saunders. New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1984 Edition. 52 p.
- ”What Knowledge Is Most Worth Knowing, for Economics Majors?” American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 76 (May 1986), pp. 149-152. Reprinted in slightly revised form as “What Knowledge Is Most Worth Knowing?” Liberal Education 76 (Sept/Oct 1990) pp. 22-25.
- ” `Real‘ Books and Textbooks,” Journal of Economic Education, 19 (Summer 1988) pp. 271-274.
- ”Economics,” in Charting A Course: Social Studies in the 21st Century, A Report of the National Commission on Social Studies in the Schools. Washington, DC: National Commission on Social Studies in the Schools, 1989, pp. 37-41.
- “Improving Classroom Discussion in Economics Courses,” with Michael K. Salemi, in Phillip Saunders, and William B. Walstad, editors. The Principles of Economics Course: A Handbook for Instructors, New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1990, pp. 96-110.
- “The Economics Major in Liberal Arts Education,” with John J. Siegfried, Robin L. Bartlett, Allen C. Kelley, Donald N. McCloskey, and Thomas H. Tietenberg in Carol G. Schneider, editor, Liberal Learning and the Arts and Sciences Major, Vol. 2 . Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges, 1991, pp. 25-42.
- “The Economics Major in American Higher Education,” with John J. Siegfried, Robin L. Bartlett, Allen C. Kelley, Donald N. McCloskey, and Thomas H. Tietenberg, Journal of Economic Education, 22 (Summer 1991) pp.197-224.
- “The Economics Major: Can and Should We Do Better than B-?” with John J. Siegfried, Robin L. Bartlett, Allen C. Kelley, Donald N. McCloskey, and Thomas H. Tietenberg, American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 81 (May 1991) pp. 20-25.
- “Teaching a Writing Intensive Course in Economics,” Journal of Economic Education, 24 (Summer 1993), pp. 213-218. (I have another version incorporating the various attachments that the Journal did not feel it could afford to print.)
- “Using the Wall Street Journal to Highlight the Usefulness of Key Economic Concepts,” in How Professors Use the Wall Street Journal in the Finance & Economics Classroom, Princeton, NJ: Dow Jones & Company, 1993, p. 12.
- “Bringing Total Quality Improvement into the College Classroom,” Higher Education, 25 (April 1993), pp. 259-279. A slightly expanded version of this paper containing the student surveys used in the course appeared under the same title as Report 97, Center for Quality and Improvement, University of Wisconsin-Madison, March 1993, 29 pp. Reprinted in Steve Brigham (ed.), CQI 101: A First Reader for Higher Education, Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education, 1994, pp. 259-279. Also, reprinted in G. H. Doherty (ed.), Developing Quality Systems in Education, London: Kegan Paul, 1994, pp. 149-173.
- Economics 100: Fall 1994 Reading Packet, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Fall 1994, Part A Introductory Material: Part B Evolving Views of Capitalism and the Market Economy; Part C Analyzing Current Economic Issues, and Part D Examples of Current Economic Issues and Policies. Pages, 200.
- “A Total Quality Improvement Approach to Student Learning,” in W. Gijselaers, et.al. (eds.), Educational Innovation in Economics and Business Administration: The Case of Problem-Based Learning, Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995, pp. 20-29.
- ”Total Quality Improvement in the Classroom,” with Michael Jackson, Quality in Higher Education, 2 (1996) pp. 211-217.
- ”Improving Classroom Discussion in Economics Courses,” Revised version, with Michael K. Salemi, in Phillip Saunders and William B. Walstad, editors, Teaching Undergraduate Economics: A Handbook for Instructors, New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1998, pp. 207-226.
- Integrating the Practice of Writing into Economics Instruction,” in William E. Becker and Michael Watts, editors, Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 1998, pp. 79-118.
- ”Principles-Based Standards: On the Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics,” Journal of Economic Education 30 (Spring 1998) pp. 150-156.
- “Expected Proficiencies for Undergraduate Economics Majors,” Journal of Economic Education 32 (Summer 2001) pp. 231-242.
- “Use It or Lose It: Teaching Literacy in the Economics Principles Course,” with Michael K. Salemi and John J. Siegfried, American Economic Review 92 (May 2002) pp. 463-472.
- “Proficiency-Focused Learning and Instruction,” Presented at Showcase 2003: Excellence in Challenging Times: Improving Work, Learning, and Climate, UW-Madison, April 14, 2003.
- “Student Course/Instructor Evaluations: Assessing A Proficiencies-Oriented Economics Course,” Presented at 2004 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Economics Association, Chicago, Ill, March 20, 2004.
- “A Proficiency-Based Economics Major: Its Architecture and Artistry,” Presented at Midwest Conference on Student Learning, University of Akron, Ohio, November 5, 2004.
- “Designing and Implementing “Proficiency-Based” Economics Courses,” Presented at 2005 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Economics Association, Milwaukee, WI, March 11, 2005.
- Discussing Economics, with Michael K. Salemi, Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, 2005. Pg. 400.
- “Proficiency-Based Economics Course Examinations,” Presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Economics Association, Chicago, IL, March 24, 2006.
- “Proficiency-Focused Learning and Instruction: Expected Proficiencies in the Economics Major,” Presented as a Poster Session at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2006 Colloquium on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Madison, WI April 1, 2006.
- “Creating a Student Course/Instructor Evaluation Instrument for a Proficiencies-Based Economics Course,” Presented at UW Teaching Academy, 2006 Teaching & Learning Symposium, Madison, WI May 17, 2006.
A bibliography of my work on the scholarship of teaching and learning follows:
- “Prediction of Graduate Success in Economics,” Journal of Economic Education, 3 (Fall, 1971) pp. 49-53.
- “How We Educate and Train New Economics PhDs,” American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 80 (May 1990) pp. 437-444.
- “The Education and Training of Economics Doctorates: Major Findings of the Executive Secretary of the American Economic Association‘s Commission on Graduate Education in Economics,” Journal of Economic Literature, 29 (September 1991) pp. 1054-1094.
- ”Needed Skills for Human Resource Professionals: A Pilot Study,” with Robyn A. Berkley, David M. Kaplan, Quian-Sheng Yu, Carolyn J. Craig, Jill A. Fitzpatrick, Mark R. Seiler, Diane R. Denby, Paola Gheis, Deborah J. Ruelle, and Lisa A. Voss, Labor Law Journal, August 1996 (also Proceedings of Industrial Relations Research Assocition, Madison, WI (August 1996 Meeting), pp. 524-534.
- ”Graduate Training and the Early Career Productivity of Ph.D. Economists,” with Thomas Buchmueller and Jeffrey Dominitz, Economics of Education Review 18 (February 1999) pp. 65-77.
- “Links from Graduate Education in Economics to the Labor Market,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 13 (Summer 1999) pp. 147-152.
- ”Adapting a Quality Function Deployment Model to Optimize Professional Education in Human Resources/Industrial Relations Programs,” with Michelle Murphy, Nicole Mehlek, and Dianne True, in John Troy, Malcolm Pettigrew, Piet Keizer, and Jeannette Hommes (editors), Learning in a Changing Environment, Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999, pp. 191-227.
- “Developing New Proficiencies for Human Resource and Industrial Relations Professionals,” in Bruce Kauffman and David Lewin (editors), New Research on Labor Relations and the Performance of University HR/IR Programs, in Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations Series, New York: Elsevier, 2001. Volume 10, pp. 209-233.
- “A Proficiencies Approach to the Academic Preparation of Human Resource Professionals,” Human Resource Management Review 12 (2002). Pp. 513-538.
- “Ph.D Program Learning and Job Demands: How Close is the Match?” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 94 (23) (May 2004): 266-271.