I have taught five courses at the University of Oregon as the instructor of record—in introductory microeconomics, and labor economics. I received the 2022 Economics Department Graduate Employee Teaching Award. I have taught courses ranging in size from 20 to 70 students and managed teaching assistants. I was also the TA for the first year PhD microeconomics sequence, and for two undergraduate courses.
Included below are graphical summaries of my teaching evaluations, followed by syllabi and course descriptions. Note that quantitative teaching evaluations are no longer used at the University of Oregon, and have been replaced with qualitative evaluations. For a report of all of my course evaluations, please click here.
As instructor of record:
EC 201: Introduction to Economic Analysis: Microeconomics
Fall 2021 Syllabus
This course provides a foundation in economic thinking and analysis—the "apparatus of the mind'' described by Keynes. To build this foundation, students consider classic subjects of economic analysis: consumers, firms, and their interactions. Student should leave this course with an understanding of economic fundamentals such as marginal thinking and supply and demand analysis. As this course can be used to satisfy the University's social science requirement for most students, I strive to leave students with an understanding of how economic thinking can help them personally.
EC 350: Labor Market Issues
Fall 2020 (digital); Spring 2022; Fall 2022
EC 350 introduces students to the economic theory surrounding labor markets and labor market issues. We first consider utility and profit maximization in depth, in order to derive models of labor supply, demand, and wage determination. Students then explore theories of human capital development, unemployment, and labor market discrimination, among others. These theories are presented alongside key historical developments in the U.S. labor market. Students taking EC 350 are beginning to develop a more comprehensive economic framework with which to analyze issues. I structure this course so that students have opportunity to both hone that analytic ability on more in-depth problems, and learn to communicate their thinking coherently.
EC 450: Labor Economics
Summer 2020 (digital) Syllabus
This course uses the skills that students have developed in their microeconomic theory courses to consider theories of the labor market in more detail. Students will learn models to explain wage determination in imperfect markets, the joint labor supply decisions of the household, and the signaling hypothesis in higher education, among others. Historical developments in the U.S. labor market and recent applied research in labor economics are also both discussed where appropriate.
Selected Student Comments
Note: like any selected sample, these comments should provoke the reader to consider the potential for— and likely sign of— bias. The potential for such bias is transparent here. Nevertheless, I have selected these comments because I believe that they clarify the reasons for the positive teaching reviews I have received from most of my students.
"He is funny and approachable, which makes his class feel laid back and incredibly welcoming. He creates an environment that I am excited to learn in." (EC 201- Fall 2021)
"The material was challenging enough to keep me interested, but not overwhelmingly hard. I also like how the material matched what I discussed in other classes and was applicable to my daily life. He truly wants everyone to understand and do well which is amazing!" (EC 201- Fall 2021)
"I loved this class and that is all due to Professor McDonough. I was actually engaged the whole time and wanted to learn because he is so great at making lectures engaging and exciting." (EC 350- Fall 2020 online)
"Robert is the best instructor I have had at UO, even more so than my professors. Extremely engaging, animated, knowledgeable. Robert also writes very fair tests. Nothing bad to say about this class. Honestly Perfect. " (EC 350- Spring 2022)
"The instructor does a great job of explaining the intuition and relevancy of each topic so I have a better overall understanding of the material and why it’s important" (EC 350- Spring 2022 online)