Maria-Carmen Guisan [mcguisan]
What subjects do you teach? What types of students do you have?
I teach Econometrics applied to economic development and employment in Europe, America and Worldwide. I teach to students of Economics graduated and undergraduated. My main concern is to teach and research on the role of education, investment and social capital on development. I have international presence as an outstanding author at Ideas.Repec (amont top 5%) and editor of two international journals:
Applied Econometrics and International Development
Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies
As President of the Euro-American Association for Economic Development Studies I am administrator of the Blog of this Association:
Can you provide a link to a site where we can see something about what you do or the center where you work?
I am Professor of Econometrics at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). The Website of my team of education and research is: http://www.usc.es/economet/welcomei.htm
Our Blog on World Development: http://euroamericanassociation.blogspot.com
How have your past experiences prepared you for teaching? How did you become interested in education?
I think education is a very important for socio-economic development. I have tried this way to contribute with teaching and research to improve development in my country and in other areas of the World.
Who was your most influential teacher and why?
An advanced student receives influence not only attending lectures of their teachers but also reading books and documents written by international researchers. Among direct teachers the most influential has been the Spanish Professor J.Bernardo Pena-Trapero, my Doctoral Thesis supervisor in year 1975. Among international researchers the highest influences in my research came from Lawrence R. Klein, Nobel Prize of Economics in 1980 and prestigious econometrician of the Wharton School of Economics, and Edward F. Denison, from the Brookings Institution, one of the most relevant pioneers on the positive effects of education on economic development.
What is your educational philosophy?
A good teaching of applied econometrics needs in my view three approaches: 1) teach methodology useful to answer real questions, what requires to know several approaches and to learn to choose the adequate methodology in this regard. 2) Teach students to analyze data of real variables and to ask questions about the causes of their evolution and international comparisons. 3) To estimate econometric models and select among them in order to find explanations about the causes and impacts of economic variables.
What is the most challenging aspect of teaching for you?
University professors with a good research profile usually tries to teach not only to the students in the classroom but also to many international readers of their research thorugh internet and printed documents. Regarding students in the classroom the main challenge is to contribute to teach them to be open minded, make interesting questions and to try to get answer through the study, because many students are mainly interested in passing their exams with little regard on complex issues that help to understand the actual World. Regarding teaching thorugh publications it is important to surpass the difficultures to spread economic knowledge beyond the narrow limits of academic journals, and to have a presence in the media.
What kind of relationship do you have with your students?
A right relationship based on mutual respect. It is somewhat disappointing to check that many students are not grateful to professors that help them to understand important and complex questions, as it has been shown in Capozza, D. R. (1973). “Student Evaluations, Grades and Learning In Economics,”
Western Economic Journal, March 1973., and other studies. In my experience only highly motivated students evaluate adequately to their best teachers, while low motivated students usually do not the best evaluations for teachers who teach more.
What is the secret to instilling interest in knowledge?
In the cases of highly motivated students it is easy to make general questions before to give answers, because they immediately show interest in the subject, but with other students the question is more difficult and usually requires to analyze particular examples before to make general questions.
What is your philosophy on homework and grading?
Homework usually is limited to some supplementary readings. Grading is based on attending lectures, work in the computer and comments on optional readings.
Is it possible to teach creativity? how?
Creativity of interest for Economics students is mainly related with learning to be "a solving problems person". In my country, for the moment, it is not always easy to involve students in this aim, because the general system of education is not focused this way, but of course always there are a few students interested in learning how to solve real problems.
How do you establish authority? What do you do when a discipline problem arises?
Fortunately I have not experienced this kind of problem for 40 years of teaching experience at university. Students in my center are usually responsible and respect reasonal rules.
How do you individualize your teaching? How do you handle the different ability levels of students in classes?
This is a difficult question in practice. Voluntary readings and comments, valuable for grading, is an option that help in this regard.
Would it be a good thing if teachers had economic incentives based on student performance?
It is not an easy questions. Economic incentives might be right for teachers who help students to learn interesting knowledge and pass the examinations, but may be unfair if are based only in one of this approaches, or if they are based on learning unrelevant contents.
Besides more financial resources, what do today's schools lack?
As an European Union country, university researches usually suffer too many bureacratic obstacles to get European financial help, as it is shown in our Blog entry related with this questions and the Manifesto of thousands of European researchers:
"European Universities: Reactions to abuses and misuses of bibliometrics and bureaucracy in evaluation of researchers"
There are also particular problems in Spain, related with low level of support to university research in Economics and in other subjects.
What are some ways you have incorporated technology into the classroom.
We have a long use of computer programsfor econometric exercises, for several decades, and more recently we have included power point presentations which help to increase students´attention. Besides we guide them to use and select internet documents through the economics database Ideas.Repec or other resources.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain