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Decker Hall
Phone: 218-755-2907
Fax: 218-755-4100

Mailing Address:
1500 Birchmont Drive NE #30
Bemidji, MN 56601

About Economics at BSU

Paul Kivi, Assistant Economics Professor, Program Coordinator, and BSU Economics Graduate (1998)

Economists often hear something like "I had an Econ course once, and I hated it". This response used to surprise me quite a bit, since it seemed so different from my experiences at BSU. In the courses I took here as an undergraduate, economics was presented as a series of fascinating logical puzzles, questions that required some work to try and answer, but far from uninteresting (I would call them fun). As a BSU Economics student, I am confident you will feel the passion the teachers in this department bring to their work.

But then, I think it's rather easy to be passionate about economics, once you understand what it is. Economics is fundamentally the science of decision-making. Econ helps you frame any decision to make the inherent trade-offs easier to see. Therefore, economics can help you to make better decisions, and to become more knowledgeable about the decisions made in the world around you.

I have also often heard people mention how they wish they had discovered economics earlier in life, before graduated from college, since economics is at the root of everything. I couldn't agree more: I believe the basic economics courses are absolutely essential (though I'm a bit of a zealot when it comes to economics-I believe we should be teaching the concept of opportunity costs to first graders!).

In my case I was lucky, for I encountered wonderful economics teachers early in my undergraduate career. I am a 1998 grad of BSU with a double major in Economics and Environmental Studies. I chose Bemidji State after considering more than 100 schools around the US, in part because of the gorgeous location (up nort', eh?), but mostly because BSU offered quality programs in Math and Economics, and I couldn't decide which I wanted to pursue. I pretty much knew I was changing majors 3 weeks into my first semester, since I was fascinated by the discussions in my economics courses, including courses taught by Dr. Ley and Dr. Welle (especially Dr. Welle's Environmental Economics). With my bachelor's degree from BSU I was accepted into several of the top graduate schools in the country.

In some ways, my story is fairly typical. We have alumni who are vice-presidents of banks, insurance companies, who work in the Federal Reserve System, and who run their own businesses. Most of our majors did not start out as economics majors, but got turned on to economics by taking a course and being surprised how much they enjoyed it.

Older adults sometimes say they hated some long ago Econ course (by the way, that's one reason Economics degrees looks particularly good on a resume-those same people will be impressed at your gumption when they are considering hiring you). To me, whether you hate econ or love it depends on how much effort you put into it, and how it's taught.

At BSU, the clear goal of economics courses is to engage students in learning critical thinking skills that can be widely applied. That's why we get to know you on a first name basis, and why it is not unusual to see students hanging out talking with Econ professors in Decker Hall (sometimes even about Economics).

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