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Spotlights: 2006

Peter and Chris Stanley September 27, 2006
Resource Economics Alums Peter Stanley MS '72 and son Chris Stanley BS '97 team-up to provide fresh cut flowers to The Home Depot stores
Hillary Gelardi and Bernie Morzuch Fall, 2006
Hillary Gelardi Named 2006 Vijay Bhagavan Teaching Assistant of Distinction

Hillary Gelardi, shown here receiving her award from Dr. Bernie Morzuch, is the 2006 recipient of theVijay Bhagavan Teaching Assistant of Distinction Award given to Teaching Assistants of Excellence. Hillary has been a Teaching Assistant in ResEc 211 Introductory Statistics for the Life Sciences for three semesters. She has earned top evaluations from her students and the admiration and thanks of the professors with whom she has worked. Hillary will complete her Master’s degree in May 2007.
John Spraggon and Christian Rojas Fall, 2006
Resource Economics is happy to welcome two new faculty members:

Dr. John Spraggon joins the department as an Associate Professor after being on faculty at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario from 1999-2006. Dr. Spraggon completed his M.A. and Ph.D. at McMaster University and eared his B.A. in Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Spraggon joins the Experimental Economics Group in the department. He has published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Experimental Economics, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and the Journal of Public Economics. His work focuses on the decision-making by individuals in different institutional settings. Dr. Spraggon is teaching graduate microeconomics and experimental economics courses in the department.

Dr. Christian Rojas joins the department as an Assistant Professor after completing his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech University in September 2005 and serving for a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He holds a M.S. degree in economics from Virginia Tech and a B.A. in economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. Dr. Rojas’s dissertation focused on Demand Estimation with Differentiated Products: An Application to Price Competition in US Brewing. In addition, Dr. Rojas is conducting research using experimental economics to evaluate the role of information and monitoring in cartel stability. He was named the 2004 Graduate Student Teacher of the Year in the Department of Economics at Virginia Tech and is experienced with using interactive technology in classroom

Nathalie Lavoie August, 2006
Resource Economics faculty Nathalie Lavoie receives Honorable Mention for the 2005 Outstanding American Journal of Agricultural Economics Article

Each year the editors of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics choose the Outstanding Journal Article for the previous year. For the year 2005, Dr. Nathalie Lavoie's article "Price Discrimination in the Context of Vertical Differentiation: An Application to Canadian Wheat Exports" won an Honorable Mention for this award. The article examines the ability of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) to price discriminate in wheat exports. The conceptual model shows that the CWB's ability to exploit cost differences in pricing depends on the extent of differentiation between Canadian and U.S. wheat. The model is implemented using monthly confidential price data for exports to four markets from 1982 to 1994. The empirical results support the conclusions that (1) the CWB has market power emerging from product differentiation, (2) the CWB price discriminates across export markets, and (3) Alchian–Allen effects are important in pricing in markets valuing quality such as Japan and the United Kingdom.
Julie Caswell October 16-17, 2006
Resource Economics professor Julie Caswell and her co-authors of an Institute of Medicine study of seafood consumption briefed federal officials, congressional staffers and the media about the findings in Washington, D.C.
  Fall, 2006
Congratulations to Our Award-Winners:
John Stranlund John Stranlund
College of Natural Resources and the Environment
Outstanding Achievement Award for Research

Dr. John Stranlund has earned national and international recognition as a leading scholar in the analysis of the regulation of pollution and has made distinctive contributions through the use of experimental economics methods. John’s research program focuses on the theoretical design and experimental evaluation of environmental policy (e.g., the regulation of air and water pollution) and natural resource management (e.g., the management of water, forests, and fisheries). Effective environmental policy and natural resource management requires an understanding of the resources being managed, their ownership (or lack of ownership in the case of common pool resources such as air), and regulatory systems and the incentives they create.

John’s work uses economic theory to evaluate the incentives of companies to comply with environmental and resource management policies and, recently, uses experiments (in the laboratory and the field) to test the theory in simulated real world conditions. This body of work is important because the key factors that influence who complies and to what extent with policies, and ultimately the outcomes achieved (e.g., cleaner air), are difficult to evaluate in complex situations. John’s work focuses on evaluating the types of market mechanisms (e.g., emissions trading) that are increasingly being used both nationally and internationally to regulate pollution. He has also used these methodological approaches to analyze the governance of communal natural resources such as forests in developing countries. Thus his work provides important tests of the effectiveness of such policies exactly at the time they are increasingly popular and becoming more widely used by governments.

Sheila Mammen Sheila Mammen
College of Natural Resources and the Environment
Outstanding Achievement Award for Advising

Dr. Sheila Mammen arrived on campus a little over a decade ago as Head of the Consumer Studies Department, a department that had a large and vibrant undergraduate program in two majors. As well as being Department Head, Sheila advised students in the Family and Consumer Sciences major. When she joined the Resource Economics Department, Sheila became the driving force in recruiting for the major. She served as Undergraduate Program Director from 2003-2005, more than doubling the number of department majors.

During her tenure as Undergraduate Program Director, Sheila was the first point of contact for any undergraduate interested in the major. She provided each candidate with individual attention to make sure that he or she was making the correct decision when choosing Resource Economics as a major field of study. Furthermore, once a candidate made a decision to enter the major, Sheila assisted that person with selecting an area of concentration. She was not satisfied simply with having potential entrants use her as the initial contact for our program. She went out and actively recruited students for the department. She realized the depth of undergraduate talent out there waiting to be tapped. She was unwilling to let it alone. She wanted to show these potential majors how rewarding the discipline of Resource Economics can be.

Sheila perennially focused on making things better for the student. As an example, she recognized the importance of providing students with applicability of their discipline while they were taking courses. As a result, she instituted enrollment in an internship as an avenue for application. In the Consumer Economics track to Resource Economics, students are required to do an internship. Lining up potential internships for students is no small feat. Sheila personally took on this task. Students rave about this aspect of the major. They cite Sheila’s care and tenacity as the reason for their success. Sheila is the ultimate advisor. She considers all angles pertaining to making a Resource Economics major’s experience the best possible.

Glenn Caffery Glenn Caffery
Chancellor’s Citation Award

Glenn Caffery is the Director of the Statistical Lab in the Resource Economics Department, a job title that definitely does not capture all he does. His intelligent leadership put the Department of Resource Economics at the Information Technology forefront as people discovered his amazing abilities, abundant energy and endless willingness to assist others. Glenn is the person who put Personal Response Systems (PRS) into large auditoriums on campus. UMass Amherst is now the leading campus in the world for “clicker” use with over 8,000 clickers in action in an academic year. He rewrote the PRS software to aid grading of student answers and he was a co-PI on the Davis Education Foundation Grants to Redesign Large Lecture Courses with technology. As the Director of the UMass IT Program, Glenn has led an IT Minor that is the crown jewel of the program and is being cited throughout the country. When Microsoft named UMass the First IT Showcase School in the nation, he was cited as a critical person in creating the IT environment that Microsoft found so attractive on campus.

Glenn was a driving force behind the Learning Commons opened on campus in fall 2005. He was early to recognize the power of the LC to transform undergraduate learning and on his own visited several around the country. He then made the rounds on campus as the Director of the IT Program to share this vision with key people. He wrote a document describing what the Learning Commons could be and was asked to introduce the Learning Commons to the campus with a kickoff event. He still had miles to go before a LC appeared on campus. He attended numerous meetings, and went on a cross-country fact-finding trip to Arizona and Indiana to answer lingering questions about these new uses of a Library’s space. Glenn has led with tremendous energy, brilliant insights regarding students and technology, undaunted optimism, and a collaborative style that captivated all.

Bernie Morzuch Bernie Morzuch
TEACHnology Fellow 2006-07

Bernie Morzuch’s commitment to teaching is off the charts; this is particularly evident when he is teaching a demanding, large, general education course in the field of statistics. Since his early career at UMass Amherst, he has taught biometrics, now Introductory Statistics for the Life Sciences, building this course into one that is recognized across campus for its quality. Bernie’s course evaluations are stellar in undergraduate and graduate courses. He has won several campus and national teaching awards over the years. What is most admirable about Bernie’s approach to teaching is that his enthusiasm never fails and he is always in the process of improving his courses.

Bernie’s commitment is to the learning of students. He combines meticulous preparation with an infectious wonder and tough standards. His use of the blackboard is masterful. Starting in 2002, Bernie began participating in the Davis Grant on Redesigning the Large Classroom as part of the team teaching Introductory Statistics in the Resource Economics Department. Bernie was chosen to participate based on his phenomenal teaching prowess, achieved without the use of technology. He contributed a multi-semester test of teaching approaches by progressively adding new elements from semester to semester. In spring 2002 he taught as usual without technology. Then in spring 2003 he added OWL (on-line testing) and in fall 2003 added the Personal Response System (PRS). Using careful experimental design and statistical analysis, this experience convinced Bernie that the technology aided student learning. Bernie will be using his year as a University of Massachusetts TEACHnology fellow to take his use of the “blackboard style” to a new level, using a Tablet PC, with color, in the classroom to project to the big screen for all to see, and with digital capture for reviewing post lecture.

Dan Lass Fall, 2006
Dan Lass Demonstrates Use of Technology Enhanced Classroom
Dan Lass teaches Introductory Econometrics with a laptop connected to the projection system in the demo classroom (Tobin 204). Dr. Lass also uses Personal Response System (PRS) "clickers" for students to participate in the course. The new radio frequency transmitters he is using allow students to do calculations with their own personalized data sets. Dan downloads these data to students the evening before class. He also uses the old technology -- the chalkboard.

The goal of the Classroom Improvement Project (Instructional Technology for UMass Classrooms), is to provide 90 classrooms across campus with projection, video, and audio equipment. The project focuses on general-purpose classrooms with 30–90 seats that lack instructional technology beyond overhead projectors and internet access. >>more