Dr. Franklin Mixon
COLUMBUS, Ga. — Even though he teaches economics, Columbus State University professor Franklin Mixon knows it’s a subject that most college students don’t embrace immediately.
His just-published book, “New Developments in Economic Education,” aims to help combat that problem.
Students “may or may not realize how important (economics) is to them right now at 18, 19 years old,” said Mixon, a professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance in CSU’s Turner College of Business. “It might just be a boring class to them at this point. (Essays in the book) offer unique ways of teaching economics.”
For example, one of the book’s contributors uses a Charles Dickens novel, “Bleak House,” as a setting to discuss entrepreneurship.
“Several of them use famous literature — Dickens and other people,” Mixon said. “They provide examples of where, in novels that famous writers have written, you can pick up things to teach economics with.”
Mixon teamed up with Richard J. Cebula, professor of finance at Jacksonville University in Florida, to edit the collection of 19 essays by nearly 30 economics professors from across the nation. Published by Edward Elgar Publishing, the 288-page book will be released in March.
Each of the book’s essays address a topic in teaching economics, with the overall goal of deepening students’ understanding of economic reasoning and providing tools to apply that knowledge and insight to real-world problems. Contributors discuss a broad range of techniques and strategies, from syllabus creation to effective classroom demonstrations to the use of literature and film in illustrating economic principles.
“It’s all about trying to reach today’s students,” Mixon said. “You have to try to dig around a little bit more than you did in the past just to maintain their interest — especially in a subject like economics.”
Mixon, who joined Columbus State in 2010, spent more than a year working on the book. “It was enjoyable to do,” he said. “I’ll do this again in the future.”
Mixon said he’s always on the lookout for ideas to help make economics easier to understand and more relevant to students. He’s previously published articles about how teachers can use movies, YouTube clips, books and sports to help students better understand economics.
“I’m always thinking that way when I’m watching television or movies,” he said. “If there’s any kind of economic content that I can write up and make interesting, I’m always on the hunt for that sort of stuff.”
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