In the Department of Economics, we believe our mission is to produce creative decision makers. Creative decision makers are people who have learned to adapt their expertise to find the best solution when they are faced with new problems.
- These people differ from others because:
- They do not simply view problems as a way to apply existing knowledge.
- They are comfortable with the notion of continuous, lifelong learning.
- They are expert learners.
- They have the ability to transfer learning to new diverse contexts.
- They are not locked into one narrowly-defined job, but rather have the capacity to learn a variety of jobs.
- They will be more likely to succeed in whatever their chosen path.
- We believe that the best way to develop these abilities is to practice solving real-world, ill-structured problems. And that is precisely what the senior economics experience is all about.
Life is full of problems that are murky, messy and maddening. We like to refer to these as ill-structured problems. People who manage to solve ill-structured problems will find success in life. We can all agree that one goal of a college education is to prepare students for life. Thus, we feel like we have an obligation to teach you in such a way so that you learn how to solve ill-structured problems (Lilly, Redington and Tiemann, 1999).