University of Greenwich shows the way!

13 Jan, 2015 at 11:20 | Posted in Economics | Comments Off on University of Greenwich shows the way!

The last seven years have not been easy for the global economy as well as the teaching of economics. The recent financial crisis and the Great Recession have led many economists, non-economists and students in economics to question the state of the discipline, wondering to what extent it provides the necessary tools to interpret the complex world we live in, signalling a deep dissatisfaction with economists’ ability to provide solutions to real world problems. Employers have recognised that the economics graduates that the standard curriculum generates are not equipped with the skills that the real world requires. Likewise, students themselves have recognised that the tools and theories they learn don’t enable them to make sense of the world they live in, let alone to address and solve real world problems …

charles-schulz-peanuts-think-bigThe reason the revalidation of the economics programmes at the University of Greenwich is special is that it constitutes one of the first institutional responses to current pressures from students, faculty, employers and policy makers to produce more ‘world-ready’ graduates. In redesigning our economics programmes we – the economics programmes team – have decided to:

– Address socially relevant economic questions in all core economic courses by adopting a historical and pluralistic perspective right from the start and throughout the programme.

– Add two new compulsory courses – Economic History in the first year and History of Economic Thought in the second year, and an optional course Political Economy of International Development and Finance in the third year.

– Integrate the concept of environmental and social sustainability – in the teaching of economics in all courses, as well as provide specific courses such as Environmental Economics and Environmental Regulation and Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility.

– Eliminate from the curriculum those topics that tend to be taught by default just because they appear on standard economics textbooks rather than because they are recognised as truly useful in understanding how economies really work.

However, we do not isolate the development of a pluralistic perspective to only a few courses, but rather integrate it in all our courses by approaching real world problems from the perspective of different theories, both old and contemporary, comparing, contrasting, or at times synthesising them. This should help the students to develop a critical perspective towards current economic theories and evolving economic events, and develop an understanding about the limitations of theories and models (for example, what happens out of equilibrium), and think more widely about the historical, institutional and political context of economic behaviour and policies …

Sara Gorgoni

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