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Students are the future - so let's engage them with ideas

We live in challenging and important times, so it is vital that we encourage students to think openly and engage with the world, as the world will depend on their future actions.

Professor Nic Potts uses research as a tool for that engagement, as debate and analysis are only possible if you present the student with a range of views to interpret and contrast. Research informed teaching does just that, by being the means for teaching students about current ideas and applying those ideas to problems in a pluralistic way.

When students read research, they see the finished product, and they begin to think that polished research is what a few brilliant people can do. Nic shows his students drafts of his research and feedback from reviewers, so that they see the process from the inside. An insider view shows students that research is difficult. Above all, research requires persistence.  

And how does this relate to economics? The economics profession should be in crisis given the state of the economy. Yet mainstream economists continue to preach the superiority of the market and all the free-market truths they were taught themselves. The profession is wedded to this one-dimensional approach. To attract a top research rating you must be a mainstream free-market economist publishing in mainstream free-market economic journals.

But regardless, this isn’t all there is. The alternative is heterodox economics, keeping alive and developing a wide range of alternative schools of thought, but heterodox economists receive much less support, and are often outside Economics Departments. In the wake of the 2008 crisis economics students demanded to be taught a wider range of economics. That’s why we need heterodox economists, so that students learn to weigh up different approaches in an evidence-based way.

Solent students see the full picture due to research informed teaching, which allows them to engage with many theories of economics, in contrast to the out of date textbooks the vast majority of students are taught elsewhere, even at the ‘best’ universities.