Dr. Monica Litzenberger is a lecturer in the Department of Economics. She received her PhD from SUNY Binghamton. You can find her teaching Introduction to Microeconomics (ECO 182), Introduction to Macroeconomics (ECO 181), Microeconomic Theory (ECO 405), and Economic Statistics and Data Analysis (ECO 380)!
Why did you choose economics? Why did you choose your subfield?
ML: I fell into economics, like most people. I started out in computers, but after my first computer class I decided I wanted to work in the business world. But since we didn’t have a business major, economics was my only option. However, it made a lot of sense to me, and I loved how it challenged me and allowed me to use my math skills in an applied manner. But I wasn’t the most studious student, so I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and worked in the “real world” (New York Life Insurance company) for 3 years. During those years, I realized that I needed to do something more meaningful and challenging with my life so decided to pursue my PhD and become a teacher.
What research are you working on right now?
ML: Unfortunately teaching 5 classes at 2 schools leaves me little time for research. But my passion is teaching and teaching for understanding rather than memorizing, and I have spent a lot of time exploring ways to do this.
What was your favorite paper to write, and why?
ML: I actually started teaching using the flipped classroom style over 20 years ago, long before it became the trend. I was looking for ways to get the students more engaged. And since videos were not an option, I created reading guides for my students to complete before coming to class and then did applications of the concepts in class. I enjoyed doing it but realized that, as with everything, it wasn’t possible to make everyone happy. And, unfortunately, it was the weaker students that didn’t like it, so I went back to my traditional in class lecturing, but it will be interesting to see if the current trend of flipped teaching will last longer than it did for me.
What is your favorite class to teach, and why?
ML: I’ve taught so many different classes and I really love teaching most of them. I’ve loved working with seniors on their final projects and I love teaching the intro classes because I love encouraging them to think through problems and learn to have confidence in their abilities.
What was your favorite class as an undergrad?
ML: I hate to admit it, but I really did love my Intro to Economics class because I had a very energetic and engaging teacher even though there were over 500 students in the class. It was the first class that I ever took where it just “clicked.”
What is your top piece of advice for your students?
ML: Follow your heart and keep an open mind. It’s good to have goals, but if you keep your mind open you may end up somewhere far better than you ever imagined.