Letter From the Chair, Fall 2010

Author: Richard Jensen

Rich Jensen

Last year was an eventful one for our department. It began with long-time Notre Dame Professor Bill Leahy joining our department. Bill brings a wealth of experience and excellence in teaching and will continue as our director of undergraduate advising for all economics majors.

Also last year, one of his former students, Jim Sullivan—who is now a member of our faculty—won one of the prestigious Joyce Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Our major continues to grow dramatically, having more than quadrupled since my arrival at Notre Dame in 2000. Students who have benefitted from the enhanced rigor of our major now attend the best economics doctoral, public policy, and law programs in the country, while many others work at prestigious firms.

Our department also continues to grow, and with the hiring of international economists Joe Kaboski, Antoine Gervais and Jeff Thurk, we now have 23 faculty members. Kaboski, the David F. and Erin M. Seng Foundation Associate Professor, does research that focuses on the sources of economic development and microfinance.

All our faculty also continue to publish cutting-edge research that improves society’s understanding of the economy, and so allows Notre Dame to inform important social policy debates.

The research of Kasey Buckles, Bill Evans, Dan Hungerman, and Jim Sullivan has received substantial coverage in the national media. With the receipt of several new grants, we also generated nearly a million dollars of external research support this past year.

Assistant professors Eric Sims and Abbie Wozniak were appointed as research fellows of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Chris Waller, the Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics, is on leave so he can serve as vice president for research at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and in this role attends Federal Open Market Committee meetings where U.S. monetary policy is made. He is also teaching a course on monetary policy for our majors this semester.

In related news, the Federal Reserve Board this month appointed one of our alums, J. Nellie Liang, as director of the new Office of Financial Stability Policy and Research, which will identify and analyze potential risks to the financial system and the broader economy and support the supervision of large financial institutions. Liang received her undergraduate degree in economics at Notre Dame in 1979.

The future of economics at Notre Dame has never been brighter.

Richard Jensen

Professor and Chair 

Department of Economics