MSU Economics team awarded a University-wide Excellence in Diversity Award

December 11, 2020 - Karessa Weir

The MSU American Economic Association Summer Program Team, has been honored with a Michigan State University Excellence in Diversity Award for their work recruiting high achieving female and minority undergraduates for an intensive 12 week education experience.

The award was announced Dec. 8 by Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar R. Bennett.

The team was nominated by Economics Chair Dr. Steven Haider, Associate Chair Dr. Jeff Biddle and supported by former Dean of Social Science Rachel Croson, Economics Professor Timothy Vogelsang and program participant Ini Umosen. They received a plaque in the category “Unit – Excellence Progress Toward Advancing Diversity within Community.”

“The AEASP Team performed admirably in attracting the AEASP to MSU, but then more importantly, created and executed an AEASP for five years that truly is changing the complexion of our discipline,” wrote Drs. Haider and Biddle in their nomination letter.

Nationally, the AEASP has existed since 1974 and rotates through different universities every four to five years. Under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Jeitschko who served as the director of the program for two years, MSU applied to the prestigious program and, facing “incredibly intense” competition, won the right to run the program from 2016-2020. Drs. Haider and Biddle said.

The team includes Economics Professor Dr. Lisa Cook, who had served as Associate Director of the program and assumed directorship in 2018 when Dr. Jeitschko moved to his role as Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Provost for Graduate Education. Dr. Cook was recently selected to serve on the Biden-Harris transition team. Associate Director Tony Doblas-Madrid, an Associate Professor of Economics, has been with the program for five years. Dr. Christine Moser, Professor of Economics at Western Michigan University, also served as Associate Director while Kirstin Heard and Mary Wortley coordinated the program.

With an annual budget of $1 million, the team secured funding from numerous sources to support the full-time, summer mini-degree program. They recruited students who were housed and offered extra curricular activities in addition to their courses.  Over five years, 177 students completed the program, designed to prepare students for graduate studies in Economics.

“In the field of Economics, MSU faculty are now considered to be leaders in issues of diversity,” Drs. Haider and Biddle wrote.

The group will be recognized in a pre-recorded ceremony on February 24 2021.