Teaching

Classes I Teach

Econ 202: Principles of Microeconomics

This is my “Welcome to College!” class. I love this class. We have a good time. But, it’s hard. I’m a pretty ruthless grader. Why? Two reasons: (1) each exam is composed of problems from the end of each chapter and (2) I give you the answer key to the problems at the end of each chapter. So, you already have the answer key to each exam.  You just have to do the problems at the end of each chapter. Oh, here’s one more reason, I give out a lot of bonus points during our classroom games and exercises. So, here’s the formula for success: (1) come to class every day and gather the bonus points you will need, (2) do the problems at the end of each chapter, (3) check your work against the answer key, and (4) come see me if you need help. Do those four things and you will do great. Don’t do those four things, well…

Econ 303: Intermediate Microeconomics

Econ 303 is just Econ 202 on steroids. The aforementioned “How I Teach” and “How I Grade” are pretty much the same. However, in Econ 303, the material is harder and more complex, there are no multiple choice questions on the exams, there are fewer opportunities for bonus points and there is more game theory. And, one more thing, we take an “Unconventional Final”. What’s that? Lets just say that during this final you can prey upon and steal points from your classmates.

Econ 495: New Institutional Economics

New Institutional Economics (NIE) is a school of thought founded by Douglass C. North (also my dissertation advisor). NIE is a theoretical framework that weaves together economics, political science, history, anthropology and game theory. This class will separate your intellectual life into two epochs: before and after your introduction to NIE.  Before NIE, you are bombarded with data, stories, accounts, and ideas from multiple classes in multiple disciplines. It can be overwhelming. It can be hard to make sense of it all. But, after this class, you will see the patterns, connections, and linkages that make our interconnected world so intriguing.

Econ 490B: Social Good Lab and Econ 490C: How to Change the World

Our education system is designed for domestication. And, as designed, it successfully transforms many of our audacious, curious, and playful young people into individuals that are paralyzed by perfectionism, tentative about taking the initiative and unwilling to throw themselves and their work into the real world out of fear of failure. It did it to me. It may have done it to you. In these two classes, I employ my Rewilding Pedagogy.  It is designed to get you to shed your submissiveness, rediscover your uniqueness, and share your vision of the world with the rest of us.

Student Testimonials

Econ 495: New Institutional Economics

“After finishing my undergrad, I went on to grad school… twice. It follows I’ve taken my fair share of classes. And yet, Dr. Humphrey’s N.I.E. course is honest-to-god one of the only classes I still remember with crystal clear accuracy. The content is mind-blowing.” – Sean Slattery (’10)

“New Institutional Economics (NIE) changed the way that I think. It introduced me to a new field of study and profession that I would never have otherwise considered. I had always intended to work in international development, but because of my experience in the NIE course, I chose to do so through the legal profession. If you are interested in working in international development, an understanding of NIE is essential.” – Nicole Cochran (’13)

“NIE is not your run of the mill economics class. It’s a biology class in which the organism being dissected is society itself. It’s a psychology class in which your subject is the fundamental guiding principles of the human psyche. It’s a philosophy class in which every thought experiment you thought you understood gets flipped on its head and shifts your paradigm closer to truth. It’s an economic class in which the stakes are real and the outcome is an ability to navigate the murky waters of societal constructs with more than mere gut reactions. It’s challenging, eye-opening and beyond rewarding.” – Stephanie Hough (’15)

Econ 490B: Social Good Lab and Econ 490C: How to Change the World

“We create and develop our own knowledge. We are our own teacher; we rejected the traditional classroom structure and channeled this dynamic into our approach towards development. Our student-centered philosophy created our client-centered approach. All of our programs have reflected this value. It was a decision made by students, our thoughts and convictions are our own and we own them.” – Santiago Sueiro (’13)

“…unlike any other class I had participated in—class work was primarily participatory, homework self-directed, and traditional grading inadequate in capturing the real and consequential outcomes of our research, programs, and fieldwork. The compilation of people and experiences enhanced my understanding of the world and made me a stronger professional, student, and person.” – Sarah Alvarez (’12)

“The educational experience I had longed for. I learned through experience.  I made mistakes and it was in the moments where I stood back up and pushed through that gave character.  It was this experience that has in many ways attributed to who I am today.” – Daniel Tees (‘12)

Teaching Schedule

I usually teach the following sequence of courses:

Fall

  • Econ 202: Principles of Microeconomics
  • Econ 303: Intermediate Microeconomics
  • Econ 490B: Social Good Lab

Spring

  • Econ 202: Principles of Microeconomics
  • Econ 490C: How to Change the World
  • Econ 495: New Institutional Economics

Other Courses I Have Taught: 

  • Econ 201 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Econ 342 Law and Economics
  • Econ 381: Microfinance for Development
  • Econ 384: Economic Development
  • Econ 488: Game Theory
  • Econ 488K Indigenous Cultures and Economic Change
  • Econ 488M Political Economy of Violence
  • FSEM 100: Do’s and Don’ts for Do-Gooders
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