Committee Spotlight: Q&A with KimMarie McGoldrick, Chair of the Committee on Economic Education
KimMarie McGoldrick is a professor of economics at the University of Richmond as well as co-editor of the Journal of Economic Education, and she currently serves as the chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education. She answers some questions about the committee's mission and activities.
The mission of the Committee on Economic Education is to "improve the quality of economics education at all levels: pre-college, college, adult, and general education." Can you tell us more about how the committee works toward this goal?
The Committee supports projects at all levels of education. An example of our work at the pre-college level: members of the Committee served on the Writing Committee of the Council for Economic Education (2008–2010) tasked with updating the Voluntary National Content Standards. The Standards serve as a guide for K-12 curriculum developers in that they present 20 Content Standards representing enduring ideas, concepts, and issues of economics with specific achievement benchmarks and sample exercises for grades 4, 8, and 12.
Most recently the Committee has focused on college-level economic education. In 2011, the Committee organized the first annual Conference on Teaching and Research in Economic Education (CTREE) with the Journal of Economic Education as a co-sponsor. The conference includes traditional research paper sessions and panel discussions that cover a wide range of topics at all levels of education including diversifying economics, assessment, enhancing math and research skills, pedagogic practices, teaching online, and large enrollment classes. What sets this conference apart from more traditional research conferences is that it also provides the opportunity for professional development in the form of workshops during which experienced instructors provided examples and guidance. Recent topics include using FRED, classroom experiments, and fostering belonging. CTREE also serves as a meeting place for the economic education community, supporting more extensive pedagogical innovation projects such as Team-Based Learning.
While the most recent focus of the Committee's work has been at the undergraduate level, the Committee is exploring several projects with the AEA Task Force on Outreach to High School and College Students. We are partnering on projects that explore methods to reach high school students and increase AEA support for and engagement with Community College instructors.
The pandemic brought many challenges to education in general; what kinds of challenges does the committee face in its current work?
The economic education community has been particularly impacted in terms of heavier teaching loads and expectations for a greater degree of student-centered activities. Many have had to pull back from participating in research in terms of projects/papers currently underway and serving as discussants and reviewers. In 2021, the Committee held CTREE as a virtual conference garnering the highest registration numbers in its 11-year history. As we move back to a face-to-face format, the challenges instructors face in terms of securing resources and travel permissions for attending conferences have resulted in a temporary reduction in conference participation.
The AEA has established a new AEA Distinguished Economic Education Award acknowledging sustained and impactful contributions in economic education. Who is eligible for consideration and what are the details involved with this new award?
The Distinguished Economic Education award is designed to recognize those who have a sustained contribution to the field of economic education. Qualified recipients will be able to document at least 15 years of excellence across several areas, including teaching impact, scholarship of teaching and learning, mentoring of students and young faculty, and service to the profession. Acceptable evidence of excellence includes letters of support from those familiar with the nominee’s work, the nominee's professional vita, and evidence of impactful teaching. Nominees need not be employed at an academic institution.
Submissions for the 2023 CTREE Conference will be open from September 15 – December 1. What kind of submissions are encouraged, and who should consider attending the conference in early June?
Although the conference supports paper presentations that document pedagogic innovations (such as classroom experiments, cooperative learning, or team-based learning), panel discussions of timely topics (including diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives), and workshops designed to enhance teaching or research on economic education, well-designed research paper submissions are especially encouraged. A poster session will be piloted at CTREE 2023. Appropriate topics for the session include preliminary or pilot research projects/results, teaching strategies, descriptions of diversity/equity/inclusion efforts, specific in or out of class learning activities, or descriptions of programs which are designed to enhance economic understanding.
What are some resources or initiatives for educators that people may not know about, either from the Committee on Economic Education or in conjunction with other AEA committees and task forces?
The Committee organizes seven sessions at the ASSA meetings annually, including a poster session and a session that is published in the AEA Papers and Proceedings. One session is co-sponsored with the Journal of Economic Education and is subsequently published in the journal as a symposium.
The Committee partnered with the AEA Task Force on Outreach to High School and Undergraduate Students in economics to develop the Expanding Diversity in Undergraduate Classes with Advancements in (the) Teaching (of) Economics (EDUCATE) Workshop. This workshop provides opportunities for instructors of undergraduate courses to take part in course design activities and experience pedagogical strategies that will engage all of the students they teach. Attendees will have opportunities to identify learning objectives that focus on the students' ability to "do economics" and to participate in pedagogical practices that enable students to be active participants in economic analysis. All accepted applicants are expected to fully engage with each of the three phases of the overall program. This includes completing pre-workshop activities, fully participating in all sessions and activities at the workshop, and developing and implementing a plan to put what is learned at the workshop into practice. The workshop focuses on cooperative learning, engaging lectures, data integration, and classroom experiments. Workshop leaders will work with participants to integrate the lessons learned into their own courses. Participants will be provided opportunities to share their work at the 2023 CTREE and ASSA meetings. They will engage with issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the workshop including opportunities to think critically about course goals and learning outcomes, their relationship to pedagogical choices and assessment, and how such decisions might have disparate effects on those of different races, genders, and ethnicities. In addition, attendees will learn how to discuss the sensitive topics that are an important part of the economics classroom.
How can people get involved or volunteer to help with the committee's work?
Please feel free to contact the Chair, sharing your interests and expertise. The Committee also supports independent projects in a variety of ways. For example, the Committee provided the National Science Foundation funded Team-Based Learning project with assistance in advertising their post-CTREE workshop.
What is the best way to stay up-to-date on the committee's activities and new initiatives?
Many of the AEACEE initiatives and ongoing events are posted on the Committee's website; however, we anticipate launching a new newsletter in 2023 that will provide notices of projects, conference sessions, calls for papers, etc.