• Victor Lima Receives Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award

    Victor Lima, Senior Instructional Professor of Economics, Receives Quantrell Award

    The transformative education that students experience at the University of Chicago begins with the teachers who inspire them.

    The University annually recognizes faculty for exceptional teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students through the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Awards, believed to be the nation’s oldest prize for undergraduate teaching; and the Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring, which honor faculty for their work with graduate students. Victor Lima, Senior Instructional Professor of Economics, was one of this year's Quantrell Award recipients.

    For Victor Lima, teaching economic concepts can feel like “more of an art than a science.” That’s why the senior instructional professor designs courses that are a blend of tools and applications—combining theoretical frameworks with compelling real-life examples.

    His goal is to make sure that students not only understand the material, but can apply what they learn to their specific interests.

    “In my opinion, the power and flexibility of the economic approach are best illustrated with examples. If those examples appeal to students, then class discussion will be fascinating,” said Lima, who is co-director of undergraduate studies and master’s programs for the Department of Economics.

    “In my opinion, the power and flexibility of the economic approach are best illustrated with examples. If those examples appeal to students, then class discussion will be fascinating.”

    Man with glasses in red plaid shirt standing in front of bookcase, smilingIn a nomination letter, one student wrote about how Lima’s open-ended prompts sparked heated debates with friends over dinner. They also described how Lima pushed the class to engage with economics more broadly—to think about the discipline’s fundamental insights, along with its strengths and shortcomings as part of a larger intellectual landscape.

    Lima also prioritizes research structure as part of his teaching, showing students how a consistent framework can be used to test behavioral observations across a range of human activity. By starting students on the road to critical economic thinking, Lima hopes to foster the analytical skills that will serve them well regardless of their postgraduate paths.

    “I believe that all jobs are ‘research jobs,’” Lima said. “A thorough understanding of the economic approach, and the ability to apply it broadly, will be invaluable to our students’ future success.”

    Lima teaches the first course that many Economics majors take, "Elements of Economic Analysis I." He also laid the foundation for the largest major on the UChicago campus, which accounts for more than one quarter of all declared majors. He helped create and leads both the MAPSS- and MACSS-Econ courses, which have experienced unprecedented growth since their inception. 

    Read the original article and award announcement, as well as read more about other award recipients, at news.uchicago.edu

    Photo of Victor Lima by Jason Smith.

     

  • Nancy L. Stokey to Receive CME Group-MSRI Prize and Medal

    This article originally appeared on and is available at www.msri.org.

    2021 CME Group-MSRI Prize Announced, to be Awarded May 16

    "The 15th annual CME Group-MSRI Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications will be awarded to Nancy L. Stokey. The award announcement and seminar will be held on May 16, 2022 at the CME Group in Chicago, IL.

    The CME Group-MSRI Prize is awarded to an individual or a group to recognize originality and innovation in the use of mathematical, statistical or computational methods for the study of the behavior of markets, and more broadly of economics.

    About Nancy L. Stokey

    Portrait of woman in grey blazerNancy L. Stokey is the Frederick Henry Prince Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago.  Stokey is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, and the 2021 President of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory.  She has served as co-editor of Econometrica and of The Journal of Political Economy, and as vice-President of the American Economic Association.

    Stokey is co-author of the influential monograph Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics (1989), which has provided the mathematical basis for much of modern macroeconomics. She is also co-developer of a model of dynamic taxation and debt policy that has served as the foundation for much subsequent work in that area, and she is author of The Economics of Inaction (2009), which treats models that involve fixed costs of adjustment.

    Stokey has also contributed to various areas of microeconomics, with the first rigorous proof of the famous Coase conjecture, and as co-developer of the No-Trade theorem, a result that presents a fundamental puzzle about information, stock market prices, and the volume of trading.

    Stokey’s recent work has focused on economic growth and development, especially on the role of trade and technology transfers in accelerating growth in middle-income countries."

  • Remembering Hugo Sonnenschein’s vision and kindness as a UChicago leader, scholar

    Colleagues, friends and family share memories of 11th president at April 30 memorial service

    University of Chicago leaders and colleagues joined friends and family of the late Hugo Sonnenschein this past weekend to honor the University’s 11th president, share their warm personal memories, and reflect on his profound impact as a leader, economist and mentor.

    Sonnenschein, who led the University through transformative change during his tenure from 1993 to 2000, died July 15, 2021 at age 80. He was remembered at an April 30 memorial service at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel as someone who had an ambitious vision for the University, along with personal kindness as a colleague and friend.

    “In the arc of any university, each president plays an important role in helping the institution, and the community it comprises, to evolve and to grow,” said President Paul Alivisatos. “Often, it is only with the passage of time that the full scale of the impact of such changes can be fully understood and appreciated.”

    Alivisatos noted that the foundational work that Sonnenschein did laid the groundwork for the remarkable transformation of the College. “Of course, not everybody agreed with Hugo about his ideas—and it wouldn’t be the University of Chicago if they had. But I think we can all agree that his ideas have stood the test of time,” Alivisatos said.

    Chancellor and President Emeritus Robert J. Zimmer said Sonnenschein was able to create long-lasting impact through an independence of perspective and questioning, which he applied equally—whether he was solving an economics problem or leading the University.

    “His focus on thinking through what the right questions are, and the right way to approach them, was very powerful,” Zimmer said. “He was deeply committed to that. That made him an important and impactful leader.”

    As president, Sonnenschein enacted a series of changes to strengthen the University, including growing the size of the College while maintaining the strength of UChicago’s renowned graduate programs. He also spearheaded improvements to the quality of student life and commissioned the first campus master-planning process in 30 years.

    His focus on thinking through what the right questions are, and the right way to approach them, was very powerful.

    - Chancellor Robert J. Zimmer

    Joseph Neubauer, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, remembered Sonnenschein’s innovative, broad thinking and “indomitable will to get things done.”

    “I still remember him saying at several board meetings: ‘When your friends and family call you for help to get their children into UChicago, then you know that we’ve really arrived,’” Neubauer said. “Well, I’m happy to report that we’ve fulfilled and exceeded your vision—and your mission.”

    Steven Poskanzer, former chief of staff to Sonnenschein, said his mentor never stopped being a teacher, even when he became a University leader. “Only the nature of his classroom and his students shifted. Working alongside Hugo, watching him, was like being Hugo’s doctoral student in the field of academic leadership,” said Poskanzer, who went on to serve as president of SUNY at New Paltz and of Carleton College.

    “He was the finest and most caring of mentors, who changed my life for the better, and was a pillar of joy and friendship for me and my family,” Poskanzer added. “It’s not every UChicago president, you know, who will personally deliver Medici pizza to your house.”

    Poskanzer wasn’t alone in recalling Sonnenschein’s thoughtfulness. Geoffrey Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at UChicago, described Sonnenschein as “the right man, at the right time, at the right place.” Not only did Sonnenschein ask himself how he could add value to an institution, he did so without the self-interest of limiting his own risk. Rather, he placed the University’s interest above that of his own ego.

    Stone, whom Sonnenschein recruited to serve as UChicago provost, recalled how the president opted against the tradition of walking into the Convocation ceremony last and by himself. Instead, he gently took Stone’s arm, pulled him back, and said, “Walk with me.”

    “I am proud to say that I have ever since, and will continue to do for the rest of my days,” Stone said.

    Sonnenschein’s impact also extended far beyond the University and its Hyde Park campus. Renowned economists Andreu Mas-Colell—founder of the Barcelona School of Economics and professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain—and Richard Kihlstrom of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania both spoke of their late colleague and friend as a generous spirit who treated his students as colleagues and helped, even from afar.

    The public memorial came after a two-day conference that the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics had convened to honor Sonnenschein. A member of the University community for nearly three decades, he most recently served as the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics.

    “He was the right man, at the right time, at the right place.”

    -Prof. Geoffrey Stone

    Sonnenschein is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Gunn Sonnenschein; their three daughters, Leah Schraudenbach, Amy Venetianer and Rachel Mossi; and five grandchildren.

    His daughters, in a joint statement, said that their father’s greatest fortune was attending the University of Rochester and meeting their mother. They spoke of his unconditional love, and how he taught them the importance of honesty and curiosity as well as how to parallel park, right an upturned canoe, and how to build a fire and clean it up.

    Addressing his grandchildren, they concluded: “He loved you. You stretched him, and he appreciated the stretching. He lives on in you.”

    Read the original story at news.uchicago.edu

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