Friday, September 23, 2011

Presidential Debate Twitter Project

Kassens Principles of Macroeconomics and Labor Economics courses again did a Twitter Project in which they watched the Presidential Debate last night, wrote a brief from the perspective of either the RNC or DNC, then discussed their briefs in groups today in class and put a Tweet together.

Some great conversations were going and applications of class material were heard all over the classroom. 

Students in the Principles course did not like hearing the bickering going on between candidates and wished that the contenders were more specific about their plans.

Students in the Labor course wondered if reducing corporate taxes to induce job creation would actually work as it still might be cheaper to outsource jobs or substitute labor with capital (as grocery stores do with self-checkout lines.)

A great way to spend the class period on a rainy Friday.  In case you don't Tweet, below are their entries (that can be found at @roanokeecon)

Principles of Macroeconomics

Last night’s debate shows voters that republicans r ready 2 make big changes 2 tax code, gov spending, immigration, & healthcare.
Ongoing battle between Perry & Romney is only starting 2 heat up. Discussion of tax cuts 4 small business & middle class #gopdebate
#RNC see I 2 I in repealing #Obamacare, lowering taxes, cre8ing bus friendly enviro. RNC 2 adjust energy, SS, & illegal immigration plans
Same policies, different deb8. RNC plans 2 “lay back” as corps take control. Need a stable candidate who is confident in their stance #DNC
Labor Economics
Hard to believe the same corporations who moved jobs abroad will be willing to bring jobs back #realtalk #changewecabelievein
GOP candidates tossed out some ideas on fixing the economy but based on the past, we are skeptical if they will work
#RNC is united against Obama & 4 tax re4m, human capital improvement & guarding our border

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Visiting Assistant Professor, Darshak Patel

The Roanoke College Economics Program has three new faces amongst the faculty this year.  Over the course of the coming weeks you will be introduced to each one.  

Meet Darshak Patel. 

Darshak received his PhD in Economics from the University of Kentucky (just like Garry Fleming) and joined the Roanoke College Economics Program as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics for 2011-12.

Darshak has an incredible story.  His parents moved to Kenya in 1978.  He and his brother were born in Nairobi, and lived in Kenya through high school (British school system).  Darshak has already shared great stories about monkeys taking his cell-phone, running up a tree, and only dropping the phone when someone else called the phone.  The ring startled the monkey, and he tossed it out of the tree.  (Unfortunately, Darshak and his friends were not so lucky about their wallets.)

Apart from Economics, Darshak has a tremendous passion for soccer.  He is a big fan of the Arsenal Football Club, a team based in the English Premier League. His hobbies include playing soccer, cricket, snooker and occasionally a round or two of golf. Darshak also loves cooking and trying different types of meals. His most exotic meals include eating a wide range of game meat in Kenya -giraffe, zebra, antelopes and many others. Darshak’s favorite vacation spot is Maasai Mara in Kenya. It is a safari destination where you can stay at a lodge or a camp site and at certain times go look for animals in the wild.

Darshak’s current research focuses on how individual, personal, social and institutional factors affect the time it takes for students to transfer from two to four-year colleges, to dropout, and to graduate from a post-secondary institution. Other research areas include patents and innovations.

Darshak is teaching three sections of Principles of Microeconomics this semester.  Join us in welcoming him to the team!

Friday, September 9, 2011

American Jobs Act Twitter Project

Students enrolled in Dr. Alice Louise Kassens ECON 122 (Principles of Macroeconomics) and ECON 267 (Labor Economics) were given an assignment based upon President Obama's September 8 Job's Speech in which he described his American Jobs Act.

Students were required to watch the speech and write a 400-word brief from the perspective of either the Republican or Democrat leadership (students' choice).  They brought these briefs to class on September 9 and got into small groups of students writing from the same perspective.  In their group, they shared the contents of their brief and put together a Tweet (147 characters) that the Republicans or Democrats might write.

The purpose of the assignment was to keep students aware of current issues in America and link material learned in class to the world around them.

The students in both courses were fairly evenly split between writing from the RNC or DNC perspective.  The classroom was abuzz as they shared their thoughts and summarized them into a Tweet.

Collectively there were 8 Tweets, 4 from each course.  Those Tweets are being released today on the Roanoke College Economics Program Twitter account.  In case you don't Tweet, they can be seen below.

ECON 122 (Principles of Macroeconomics)
#americanjobsact is our key to the future.  “Made in America” is our American dream.  Put America on top!

Pass this job bill now!” Heard that 20 times.  RNC urged to pass the bill without any idea of how to fund it #americanjobsact

Obama plans to stimulate with New Deal-esque plan, tax reform and spending cuts.  Business and personal tax cuts will encourage hiring and spending

The President’s plan has already been attempted and failed.  This proposal adds more debt to nation and puts a burden on tax payers.  Government spending is the last thing we need

ECON 267 Labor Economics

We’re bringing jobs back to Americans through spending on infrastructure and public schools.  Hopefully this is the boost the economy needs!

Let’s end this political circus & put our parties aside, reform taxes, increase our foreign exports, and rebuild America while rebuilding American lives

AJA is self-defeating.  What makes this different from Stimulus 1?  Why increase our debt when you could lower the deficit?

Hopefully the DNC & RNC can come together to pass the Jobs Act to boost the economy through education, infrastructure, & incentives for small businesses & the middle class

What would you Tweet?  Share with us!  Add your Tweet to the comment section below.

The Tweets do not reflect the opinion of Roanoke College, the Economics Program, or Dr. Alice Louise Kassens.  Additionally, they do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the students as they were not required to choose the perspective that they personally believe in.  This project was adopted from William M Rodgers of Rutgers University and modified for Roanoke College courses.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Visiting Assistant Professor, Deborah Spencer

The Roanoke College Economics Program has three new faces amongst the faculty this year.  Over the course of the coming weeks you will be introduced to each one. 

First, we would like to introduce Deborah Spencer. Deborah received her doctorate in Economics from the University of Notre Dame and served on the Economics faculty at SUNY Cortland for eight years before relocating to the New River Valley with her family.  She is a native of Roanoke. 

During her time away from the classroom, Deborah managed (with partners) a commercial property interest in Hillsville, Virginia and has worked in retail management at Wachovia (now Wells Fargo).  She has maintained a long-term relationship with the Peacework Development Fund in Blacksburg and is passionate about global experiential learning. 

Deborah is thrilled to be returning to the classroom and the college campus where she feels most productive and most at home.  This semester Deborah is teaching Principles of Microeconomics and Money & Banking.

Join us in welcoming Deborah to the team!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Undergraduate Work-Study Research Assistant Position

Dr. Kassens ( is looking for one work-study student to fill a position as a Research Assistant.  The position is paid and the selected student will assist Dr. Kassens in her ongoing project analyzing the relationship between clinical depression and labor market outcomes.  For more information about the position go to

If you would like to be considered for the position, please contact Dr. Kassens by Monday September 12.