ERC opens for economics students

On Sunday, the economics department launched the pilot year of the Economics Resource Center (ERC), a service now available to students enrolled in “Principles of Microeconomics.”

The ERC will be open on Sunday, Monday and Thursday from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. in Schapiro 141. Unlike the economics Teaching Assistant sessions, which focus on specific problem sets and units of the course, the student tutors in the ERC will be available to discuss general concepts and provide extra practice on relevant problems.

“Tutors will have access to study guides with extra practice problems, and we hope that students will see the ERC as a place where they can work on improving their economics problem-solving ability,” Lucie Schmidt, associate professor of economics, said. “We believe strongly that this ability is not innate but instead is something that can be developed and improved with practice.”

This year, the ERC is funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation through the National Bureau of Economic Research. If the pilot program is successful, the department hopes the College will then implement “a regular funding stream for it moving forward,” according to Schmidt.

“We find that many students find economics challenging and would like to have more opportunities to work on practice problems and improve their skills,” Schmidt said. “The Math and Science Resource Center (MSRC) is so successful, and the economics department has felt for some time that we’d like to do something similar.”

To publicize the new program, the department plans to hand out flyers to all students in “Principles of Microeconomics”  and to disseminate the information through the MSRC, the Peer Tutor Program and the Study Skills Corps.   

Although the pilot program will only be available to students in “Principles of Microeconomics,” in the future, the economics department hopes to expand the offerings to students in “Principles of Macroeconomics” and some of the intermediate courses, according to Schmidt.