Professor Kalina Staub noticed something about her undergraduate students last year: they were interested in the course material, they loved talking economics – but they didn’t come to her office hours!
In talking with her students she discovered a number of reasons. Students had jobs and other commitments during her office hours; they were more comfortable working in groups than one-on-one with the instructor; they felt they were intruding on the instructor’s time when coming to the instructor’s office.
Professor Staub (pictured left) concluded that we could help many of our students learn by setting up a separate studying/tutoring center in Gardner Hall. The Economics Department “demoed” the center on a small scale last year, and we found that students did benefit greatly from access to the center. The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences was impressed with the results as well. He provided a budget for renovating Room 009 in the basement of Gardner Hall and converting it to the EconAid Center. Professor Staub and Professor Rita Balaban, the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Economics, worked to design a comfortable and functional space for study and mentoring.
We had an opening ceremony for the EconAid Center on 23 October 2017. Senior Associate Dean Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld and Assistant Dean J Cohen (both pictured left) participated, viewing the space and speaking with the students using it. The students had already voted their approval through their heavy use of the room; it is one of the most popular destinations in Gardner Hall.
Thanks again to the Dean’s office for financial support and to Professors Balaban and Staub for the tireless efforts in bringing the EconAid Center online!