The Department of Economics in the College of Letters & Science is seizing the opportunity to bolster its already impressive national position by combining vigorous support from donors with Chancellor Biddy Martin’s Madison Initiative for Undergraduates (MIU).
The MIU is incrementally increasing undergraduate tuition to provide support for in-demand majors, student services and financial aid. In the first two rounds of MIU awards on campus, the Department of Economics has been awarded eight faculty positions.
The department has been able to leverage those future positions with three recent major gifts establishing named chairs. The result: Donor-fueled packages of research support that have attracted star new faculty in a down economy, with MIU hires to follow.
Among the new faculty added are Kenneth Hendricks from the University of Texas at Austin, Christopher Taber, a labor economist recruited from Northwestern University, Lones Smith from the University of Michigan and Randall Wright from the University of Pennsylvania.
“It was nice to get these slots at a time when our competitors were constrained,” said Professor Ananth Seshadri, chair of the department. “It shows that the University and the College value our department, and that means so much to the faculty we’re recruiting and the donors who make these remarkable gifts.
“Madison is an ideal place to live for my family. The package that donor support has made possible is really the only way a public university like Wisconsin can compete with the leading private schools.”
New Faculty Member Christopher Taber
“Madison is an ideal place to live for my family,” said new faculty member Taber, who also was recruited by Duke University. “The package that donor support has made possible is really the only way a public university like Wisconsin can compete with the leading private schools.”
“I was motivated by the desire to help the department maintain the excellence it has achieved,” said former faculty member Lau Christensen, chairman of Christensen Associates, who established the Laurits Christensen Chair in the Department of Economics. “With Ananth established as the new chair and seeing the direction of the department, it was a natural time for me to make this gift.” Professor Steven Durlauf holds the Christensen Chair.