Economic crisis moves from the TV to the classroom

Bo Gemmell

Many professors are talking about Wall Street’s woes during their classes

The current financial crisis and bailout plans are making their way from news headlines to Kent State classrooms.

Some professors are expanding their curriculum to include discussions of current events, especially those concerning the subprime mortgage crisis.

Because of its connection to his class, economics assistant professor David Vera said he devotes an average of 10 minutes per class to discussing the financial news or showing students other media.

“It allows me to introduce a topic,” he said. “Some things going on in the economy are directly linked to a model I’m going to talk about in class.”

Vera uses current events most in his Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory and Policy class, but he also mentions them in Principles of Macroeconomics.

Sophomore exploratory major Kyle Sholtis said he learns about issues facing the nation’s economy in a microeconomics course. He said assistant professor Curtis Reynolds discussed the weak economy in addition to his lecture.

“He explained it well,” Sholtis said. “I just couldn’t comprehend all of it.”

While today’s economy has a direct connection to classes in the economics department, it’s also being incorporated in other fields.

Aerospace studies professor Lowell Bailey said he usually talks about a current event each time his Defense Studies I class meets. Bailey last discussed the economy with his ROTC cadets when the Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 700 points on Sept. 29.

Bailey said he averages about five minutes discussing current events during the senior-level class because he wants the students to “start thinking outside of college life.”

“Obviously, everybody’s concerned about the economy right now,” Bailey said.

He said that he and the cadets also follow the presidential election, because the president serves as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Mathew Butler, sophomore athletic training major, said his chemistry professor discusses the economy at least twice a week.

“I know enough to hold a conversation with someone about it, but I wish I knew how many jobs were lost,” he said, adding it’s important to stay up-to-date on the economic situation for voting reasons.

Contact general assignment reporter Bo Gemmell at [email protected].