The University of Nevada, Reno welcomed nearly 70 economics experts and teachers from 20 states to campus April 8-10 for the second annual Economics Teaching Conference. Professors gave presentations on topics from the recession to gaming, as participants networked and shared tips to improve the teaching of economics across the country.
“This conference gives the University some great national visibility, both for our academic programs, as well as the physical setting,” said Bradley Schiller, a Nevada economics professor and organizer of the conference. “We plan to be hosting it for the foreseeable future, hopefully with more and more participants.”
The conference is a West-coast version of the Economics Teaching Conference held at Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania for the past 20 years. Nevada was chosen to permanently host the new conference largely because of Schiller’s popular Essentials of Economics textbook, designed for beginning economics students.
Schiller, along with Thomas Cargill, also an economics professor at Nevada, and Mike Salemi of the University of North Carolina, gave keynote speeches throughout the three days. There were also many breakout sessions in which participants traded teaching techniques and learned how to implement new teaching tools, including the use of music, YouTube and Facebook, to help students understand lessons.
“Instructors are always looking for new ideas to liven up classes and to stay on top of their subject,” said Schiller. “Here they were able to share thoughts on what works and what doesn’t.”
Special presentations by Nevada Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki and Nevada economics professor Bill Eadington focused on the boom-and-bust cycle that characterizes Nevada’s economy and on the economics of gaming, respectively. Though most of the conference was held in the William Raggio Building on the University campus, participants made trips to the National Automobile Museum for a reception and dinner and to the Reno Aces’ Stadium to watch a baseball game.
“The conference turned out very well and we had a lot of fun,” said Schiller. “We’re very pleased with our second year hosting the event.”
Plans for next year’s conference, set for March 10-13 in the Joe Crowley Student Union, are already underway. Schiller expects to more than double the attendance for the third annual event.
“Our long-run goal is to make Nevada economics a center for research and teaching,” he said. “This is a huge step toward that goal.”
For more on the economics department, visit the Economics Department website.