Meet Our Faculty – Chelsea Dowell

“I am a graduate of Wofford College where I studied business economics, mathematics and authentic southern hospitality. I earned my master’s degree in economics at the University of Kentucky, where I discovered an unexpected passion for teaching college students and earned the Nomination for the Most Inspirational Woman of Gatton Award. I have since published research papers in peer-reviewed journals in the field of economic education, as well as presented at many Economic Association conferences.”

KWC responsibilities
“I have served as assistant professor of economics for the last two years, developing and instructing economics courses ranging from introductory principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics to managerial economics and money, credit and banking. Prior to this, I taught at the University of Kentucky and survived the blizzards of Upper Iowa University.”

Where did you grow up?
“I am a native of Louisville, home of the world famous Kentucky Derby. I first visited the KWC campus when I was about 11 years oId. I was on a traveling halftime basketball show called the Mini-Pros, and we did tricks like the Harlem Globetrotters.”

Why did you choose to teach economics?
“I want my students to learn to think like economists, so they can become educated and engaged citizens. I teach my students how to think – not what to think. A lot of textbooks say economics is the study of scarcity, but economics is the study of choices. Scarcity may be the reason we have to make choices, but ultimately, I think economics is the study of choices.

“I give students the tools they need to analyze those choices for themselves. Every decision has costs and benefits. It is how we value those costs and benefits that leads us to the choices we make. I teach students how to find information, analyze information and ultimately how to choose what is best for them. I never tell my students my personal political opinions because I want them to decide for themselves what they think is best.”

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
“My favorite part of teaching is engaging my students in experiential learning. They not only get to experience what life will be like after college, they also get to see firsthand how their work has meaning.

“Whenever possible, I include authentic assignments, like writing a business proposal or presenting in a congressional briefing style. Students remember the work they did and talk about it with other people. That is pretty amazing. I feel like I truly win when students continue talking about economics after they leave the classroom.”

What does The Wesleyan Way mean to you?
“Since I started teaching at Wesleyan, I have taught managerial statistics once per year. That class is getting so much attention that we may offer it every semester. It is a required course for most business administration majors, but it is also open to other students interested in research.

“The ‘International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics,’ edited by Gail Hoyt and KimMarie McGoldrick, suggests that students do a research project with real data and then analyze that data with a regression model. A side note suggests students will get more from the project if they are paired with a real business and analyze their data. I took that suggestion and paired it with one of my own passions, serving our community.

“I used the basic premise of this project and reached out to Dr. Christine Salmon with KWC’s Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning. Since I was new to the area, I did not have any connections in the community, and she introduced me to several non-profit organizations in Owensboro and surrounding areas.

“I spoke with many, and our students have performed research for the Senior Community Center of Owensboro-Daviess County, Daniel Pitino Shelter (for the homeless), Owensboro Human Relations Commission, and Matthew 25 Services. I look forward to pairing more students with community non-profits. Non-profit organizations often do not have the funds to accomplish research on their own, and students have the opportunity to provide research and give back at the same time.

“At the end of the semester, the non-profit organizations are invited to hear the final presentations, and we see the benefits of an entire semester’s worth of learning. The non-profit organizations send representatives to share with the students how they will use their research in the future. The students get to hear just how impactful their work has been. It is amazing to watch them as they share ideas back and forth. This represents The Wesleyan Way to me. I am truly thankful to be a part of it.”

What you like to do in your spare time?
“My new puppy, Baron, and I enjoy magazine flipping and lake spectating from the dock of my family’s cabin in Burgin, Ky. Occasionally I, along with my refurbished vintage bug, participate in local parades.”

What else would you like our readers to know?
“My great-grandfather, Clifford Dowell Sr. ’29 – yes, there are two gentlemen sporting the same name as the Big Red Dog, played football for KWC under the infamous Coach Rip (Walter Van Winkle ’28) on the Winchester campus!”