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The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

New Course Streamlines Economics

This fall, students with high school experience in introductory economics will have the chance to take a condensed, one-semester course that comprises both micro- and macroeconomics.

The economics department added the three-credit ECON 003: Principles of Economics to its fall course listings to serve as the introductory class for students who have completed prior economics coursework.

According to economics professor Arik Levinson, director of undergraduate studies for the economics department, “The course will move faster through material than Econ 001 or Econ 002. It is aimed at students who have had some high school economics, but not enough to get a 5 on both AP exams.”

The course, which will be taught by professor Behzad Diba, was conceived in response to a spike in the number of students with high school experience in economics.

“The students in Econ 001 and 002 are quite heterogeneous in terms of their background and facility with the topic,” Diba said. “We hope some students will be better served by the new course.”

Diba said the syllabus would cover the material at a quicker pace, with a more individual reading of the textbook and homework exercises on Aplia, an online coursework supplement.

“We follow the standard textbooks and cover the topics at the same level of depth. It just goes faster and relies more on students to take an active role in learning the material,” he said.

Levinson said he expects the class, which is capped at 50 students, to be a popular option.

“We have tried to boost its chances of success by coaxing one of the department’s most engaging and popular teachers – Behzad Diba – to launch the first semester,” he added.

The class would count collectively for the economics major’s Principles of Microecenomics (ECON 001) and Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON 002) classes; economics majors would still need to take another elective to fulfill the major requirements.

“Students who have the background will be able to move more quickly through the courses about the tools of economics (micro/macro/stats/metrics) into courses about those applications of economics in which they are most interested,” Levinson said in an e-mail.

The School of Foreign Service Curriculum Committee has not approved ECON 003 yet as an option for fulfilling the SFS economics requirement, according to Senior Associate SFS Dean James Reardon-Anderson.

“We really have to see how this works because currently we require a full semester of micro and macro and to put it into one [course] would result in a change in the curriculum,” he said.

Reardon-Anderson said that it was not implausible for the SFS curriculum to accept the course as a prerequisite instead of ECON 001 and 002; since the curriculum committee only received the report last week and the course is a new arrival, however, they would re-evaluate the prospects of utilizing the course during the next academic school year.

Regarding the use of ECON 003 for the McDonough School of Business economics requirements, MSB Associate Dean Norean Sharpe said in an e-mail, “We won’t know until this fall, as our curriculum committee won’t meet again until September. This issue will be early on our agenda, so that we will have a decision in time for pre-registration in October and November. All current students must follow the existing requirements of both ECON 001 and 002.”

She added that since MSB students do not take their economics requirements until sophomore year, the MSB curriculum committee would have some time to figure it out for the incoming freshman class.

Anna Highberger (COL ’13), a prospective economics major, said that after her exposure in high school to economics, some of her economics courses reviewed the same concepts.

“I really wish they would’ve had it for me as a freshman,” she said.

According to College Associate Dean Thomas Chiarolanzio, the course was created after recommendations from an external evaluation facilitated by University Provost James O’Donnell.

Chiarolanzio said he was pleased with the addition of the course.

“I think it’s a welcome course and a welcome change,” he said. “It creates more options overall, and I’m glad they investigated it.”

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