Dear Friends of the Economics Department:
To quote Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” This sentence seems to describe the current situation in academics in general and the Economics Department specifically. There are many exciting activities currently being undertaken in the department; however, there are also many challenges, given the current budget situation, even with the passage of Prop 30. As resources become even more scarce, we are required to seek support from our friends and, unfortunately, cut some activities that were very dear to our mission.
First, regarding the “best of times,” we were able to hire a new faculty member who joined the department in August 2012. Heather Stephens is an assistant professor, having just completed her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. She is taking the lead on our annual economic forecast, following the retirement of Professor Joe Magaddino. This spring (April 26, 2013), Heather will unveil the new Regional Economic Forum. Be sure to visit the department’s website (www.csulb.edu/economics) for more details on the event. We are very pleased to have Heather join us and continue the annual event.
Another positive action that occurred this year is an increase in the number of student scholarships that the department is able to award. This spring, we will be able to award five scholarships to our most deserving students. Due to the donations of our alumnus Brad Lancaster, we will award two Ray and Marge Lancaster Scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each. We will also award two Gene R. Simonson Scholarships, thanks to donations from Professor Emeritus Gene Simonson and alumnus Clyde Kendzierski. The fifth scholarship we will award is the Settlemyer Family Scholarship. During times like this when the expense of a college education is increasing, it is always a pleasure to reward our great students with some financial assistance that they have earned through their hard work in the classroom. We thank our alumni for their generous gifts.
The challenges that the department faces are significant but also provide us with an opportunity to rethink our approach to education. Every five years, the department is required to conduct a self-study. This study is used as the foundation for an external review team to evaluate the department. We are in the process of preparing the self-study, and we will use the results of our efforts and the comments of the external reviewer to build an even stronger department that meets the needs of educating economists in the 21st century.
I thank all of you that have supported the department over the last year. Your efforts and contributions really make a difference.
I look forward to hearing from all of you,
Wade E. Martin
Chair, Department of Economics