I would like to clarify details concerning how the Economics 101 course was conducted this semester, in response to the Dec. 7 editorial, “Finish strong.” Here are the facts:
First, the course did in fact end at Thanksgiving break. It did so, so that I could travel to give a course on Mortgage Markets and Structured Finance as a part of a team from the International Monetary Fund’s Institute for Capacity Development. As you may know, I am a professor of the practice, and one of my duties is to maintain engagement with the economics profession. I pursue this in many different ways, but one of the ways is to be involved in developing and delivering courses on behalf of international organizations. The preparation work that I do for these courses, as well as the interactions I am able to have with government officials around the world when I teach these courses, greatly help inform and enhance the teaching I do at Duke. As Duke’s student body grows ever more global, having knowledge of international regulatory agencies and the challenges they face becomes more and more valuable.
Second, Economics 101 this semester was no vacation. In order to accommodate my absence, I scheduled the course to meet three days a week for 75 minutes each session. This actually resulted in the course’s exceeding the standard number of contact hours for a standard Duke course by a significant margin, even though the course ended at Thanksgiving.
Third, the course did end with an exam, and the exam was comprehensive.
Fourth, all of the details concerning the conduct of the course were included in the syllabus, which was distributed and discussed with the students, and to the best of my knowledge has been available on the EcoTeach website.
I find the tone expressed in the editorial to be one that implies that I am shirking my responsibilities as a Duke professor and an educator. I assure you that I take both of those responsibilities extremely seriously. I would have hoped that you would have also taken your journalistic responsibilities equally seriously, by seeking out some facts before composing and printing this piece.
Director of undergraduate studies and professor of the practice of economics