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Economic Educator Faculty
Charity-Joy Acchiardo is a Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Arizona. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Journal of Economics Teaching. In 2018, she edited Dystopia and Economics: A Guide to Surviving Everything from the Apocalypse to Zombies. Her work in economic education is multifaceted and includes: econshark.com, a website highlighting the economics of Shark Tank; a compilation of entries from Humans of New York that serves as a springboard for economic inquiry; a guide on how to make a memorable first impression as an instructor; and forthcoming works on the economics of dating, using Pixar films to teach principles of economics, and econkahoots.com, a website dedicated to making the economics classroom more engaging. Dr. Acchiardo's passion is sharing her joy about economics with others, and she is a frequent speaker, both domestically and internationally, at workshops for educators and students. She has an MBA from Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a Ph.D. from George Mason University. Learn more at joyfoecon.com.
Debbie Henney Director of Curriculum, Foundation for Teaching Economics
Debbie Henney is an economics professor and director of the Center for Economic Education at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. She is also the Curriculum Director for the Foundation for Teaching Economics. An economic educator for 22 years, she spent the first 10 years of her career teaching economics in the high school classroom. Her work with teachers began in 2006 as a Master Teacher for the Arizona Council on Economic Education and Mentor Teacher with the Foundation for Teaching Economics. Debbie has since had opportunities to serve as Executive Director of the Arizona Council on Economic Education and President of the Arizona Council for the Social Studies. Debbie loves teaching economics! Outside of the community college classroom she feeds her passion for economic literacy by writing lessons and curriculum units for the economics classroom and presenting programs, workshops and in-service trainings for schools, teachers and students around the world.
Kim Holder Director, UWG Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy and Senior Lecturer of Economics, Richards College of Business, University of West Georgia
Kim Holder is the Director of the University of West Georgia’s (UWG) Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy and a Senior Lecturer of Economics in the Richards College of Business (RCOB). She’s an alumnus of UWG and Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
Holder’s academic research focuses on creatively teaching with media and social media to break down barriers to economics education. She created the National Rockonomix Contest (Journal of Economic Education, www.Rockonomix.com) along with other innovative techniques (“Putting Yourself in the Picture with an ECONSelfie”, International Review of Economic Education, “Art of Econ: Incorporating the Arts through Active Learning Assignments in Principles Courses”, Journal of Economics and Finance Education, and “The Economics of The Hunger Games”, International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education) in order to engage today’s students. She is also the co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Macroeconomics (W.W. Norton) and the Digital Implementation Guide for Mankiw’s Principles of Economics (Cengage), instructional resources for teaching economists.
Her work in economics education has been nationally recognized by the National Economics Teaching Association’s Best in Class Award, the National Association of Economics Educators’ Rising Star Award, and the Best of the West Employee of the Year Award for the University of West Georgia. Kim also gives back to her community through service on the boards of the Journal of Economics Teaching, the Association of Private Enterprise Education, the Journal of Private Enterprise, and the UWG Athletic Foundation Board of Trustees.
Tawni Hunt Ferrarini Professor of Economic Education, School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Lindenwood University
Tawni Hunt Ferrarini, Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute, is the Robert W. Plaster Professor of Economic Education at the Lindenwood University. She also serves as the Associate Professor of the Hammond Institute for Free Enterprise. Prior to arriving at Lindenwood University, was the Sam M. Cohodas Professor at Northern Michigan University (NMU), directing the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship. In 2015 the National Association of Economic Educators elected her president. Her innovative teaching methods, relevant research, and professional service are dedicated to illustrating how growth and prosperity stem from the actions and interactions of responsible and accountable individuals.
Ferrarini also serves as a faculty scholar for the Council on Economic Education (Japan), and Mackinac Center for Public Policy (Michigan). Her reputation as a dynamic and engaging speaker on economic topics brings her around the globe and into unusual places. She is widely known for exciting a wide variety of audiences about how sound economic reasoning helps people take firm steps toward leading personally rewarding and secure lives.
Ferrarini's accolades are numerous. Some include: the 2016 Upper Peninsula Economic Development Alliance Nonprofit Award, 2012 Council on Economic Education’s Albert Beekhuis Center Award, 2010 Michigan Council on Economic Education Educator’s Award, 2009 National Association of Economic Educator's Abbejean Kehler Technology Award (inaugural recipient), and a distinguished faculty member at NMU in 2009.
In addition to publishing in journals, she has co-authored Economic Episodes in American History (2019) and Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know about Wealth and Prosperity (2016, St. Martin’s Press). She earned her doctorate from Washington University, where she studied under the 1993 Nobel laureate Douglass C. North, and has a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale.
Ninos P. Malek Professor of Economics at De Anza College (Cupertino, California) and an Economics Lecturer at San Jose State University
Ninos P. Malek is a Professor of Economics at De Anza College (Cupertino, California) and an Economics Lecturer at San Jose State University. He also taught Economics and Advanced Placement Economics at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, California for fourteen years.
He earned his B.A. and M.A. in Economics from San Jose State University and a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University. Dr. Malek has been recognized for his teaching excellence at both the high school and college level. He placed second in the 2008 international Economics Communicators Contest in Las Vegas, Nevada sponsored by the Association of Private Enterprise Education. He was a 2018 finalist for Outstanding Lecturer at San Jose State University and he is the 2018-2019 recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award given by the College of Social Sciences at San Jose State University.
Dr. Malek has led several teacher and student workshops for various organizations including the Fraser Institute, Foundation for Teaching Economics, California Council on Economic Education/Bay Area Financial Education Foundation, California Association of School Economics Teachers, The Gus A. Stavros Centers for Economic Education at Florida State University and The University of South Florida, The Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University, and the Office of Economic Education at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Malek has been published in peer-reviewed economics education journals, Newsweek and The Mercury News.
Dirk Mateer Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Arizona
Dirk Mateer is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Economics in the Movies (2005), Essentials of Economics (2015), and Principles of Economics (2017). His website: dirkmateer.com houses over 500 media assets that relate economics to popular culture. Dirk is also an award-winning instructor. He has been featured in the "Great Teachers in Economics" series and he was also the inaugural winner of the Economic Communicator Contest sponsored by the Association of Private Enterprise Education. While he was at Penn State, he received the George W. Atherton Award, the university’s highest teaching award, and was voted the best overall teacher in the Smeal College of Business by the readers of Critique Magazine. At the University of Arizona, he received the best large class lecture award in the Eller College of Management. He also founded the Journal of Economics Teaching in 2015 in order to create a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to innovative instruction in economics.
M. Scott Niederjohn Professor of Economics, Lakeland University
M. Scott Niederjohn is Dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship and Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust Professor of Business Administration at Lakeland University in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Professor Niederjohn is also the Director of Lakeland’s Office for the Advancement of Free Enterprise Education. Dr. Niederjohn holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Marquette University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
Professor Niederjohn has published more than sixty articles, monographs, reports, and curriculum materials in journals such as Applied Economics, Monthly Labor Review, Journal of Urban Affairs, Eastern Economics Journal, Journal of Private Enterprise, and Wisconsin Interest. He co-authored the 2nd edition of Economic Episodes in American History a supplemental high school textbook.
Professor Niederjohn’s research is concentrated in the areas of economic education, public policy analysis, and applied microeconomics. He serves on the Governor’s Council for Financial Literacy, and has received the Governors Financial Literacy Award in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2018.
During the fall of 2013, Professor Niederjohn was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the University of Luxembourg. He serves on the board of the (National) Association of Private Enterprise Education. Professor Niederjohn was recognized in the December 2014 issue of Money Magazine for his work in the shaping the landscape of financial education curriculum.
Brian O’Roark Professor of Economics at Robert Morris University
Brian O’Roark received his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. He is the author of dozens of scholarly articles in areas such as public finance, the economics of information security, and economic education. He serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Economics Teaching, and is the editor of the Economics and Popular Culture Series for Routledge Press. In 2020, Brian will be a regular presenter at the Smithsonian Association in Washington, DC discussing economics and pop-culture. He has won the Mid-Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration Innovative Teaching Award and a Best in Class Teaching Award from the National Economic Teaching Association. At Robert Morris University he has won the Undergraduate Teaching Innovation Award and the President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. His first textbook, Essentials of Economics, is available from WW Norton Publishers, and his book, Why Superman Doesn't Take Over the World: What Superheroes Can Tell Us About Economics, is available on Amazon.
Signè Thomas Project Director for the Stavros Center at Florida State University
Signè Thomas is the Project Director for the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education at Florida State University (FSU). She teaches economics and is a Research Associate for the DeVoe Moore Center at FSU. She is known as a strong advocate for economic freedom and veterans.
She enjoys advancing economic freedom and economic literacy through educational program implementation, textbook and curriculum content development, teaching, event planning, and organizational growth. She is heavily involved in promoting economic literacy across colleges and high schools, particularly through teaching educators in an online setting, leading teacher workshops in Canada for the Fraser Institute, and speaking for the Foundation for Economic Education’s seminars for high school and college students.
She founded the social enterprise Students for America’s Military, Inc (SAM), and over the years has been recognized on a plethora of occasions for her philanthropic work with veterans and active duty military. She makes it a priority to travel in her “spare time,” and she enjoys fostering confidence in women through her boutique, BeYOUtiful & Confident by Signè. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Affairs as well as her Masters in Applied Economics from Florida State University. Signè is pursuing her doctoral degree in economics from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín.