University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

First-Year Experience 2015-2016


EC 020 ~ Economics of Space Exploration

Instructor: William Gibson the John Converse Professor of Economics More . . .

This course examines the costs and benefits of manned and unmanned space exploration. We address the question of the economic and scientific opportunities afforded by space exploration, and the trade-offs involved with social programs on Earth. The central focus of the course is on the public policy question of the proper relationship between NASA as a government agency and the emerging private launch industry. Students will be introduced to a range of basic economic tools and concepts, such as opportunity costs, cost-benefit analysis, and public goods. The course will cover space vehicle technology, an introduction to orbital mechanics, and cutting-edge technologies such as carbon nanotube space elevators, scam jets, and solar sails. The Russian space program, successes and failures, is covered in some detail.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Science course

EC 045A ~ D2: Latin American Development

Instructor: Catalina Vizcarra Associate Professor of Economics More . . .

Why is Latin America a relatively poor region in spite of its abundant natural resources? Why does the region have the most unequal distribution of income in the world, and why are there so many Hispanic immigrants in the United States? In this course we will discuss whether the roots of Latin America's relative underdevelopment lie in its colonial experience, in subsequent foreign intervention, or in misguided domestic economic policies. We will also learn about the benefits and challenges that the most recent wave of globalization poses to the more than 500 million Latin Americans. In the process of addressing these questions, students will be introduced to a number of economic theories central to the analysis of the development process.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Science course and a D2  non-European Cultures course

EC 095B ~ Alcohol at UVM

Instructor: Sara Solnick Associate Professor of Economics More . . .

In April 2014, UVM President Sullivan formed the President's Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs (PCAOD) to investigate the negative effects of alcohol, marijuana, and other drug (AMOD) misuse on campus and to make recommendations that promote student health, safety, engagement, and success.  Since then, the PCAOD has outlined the scope of the problem and issued an initial set of recommendations, some of which have already been adopted. However, a situation so deeply rooted and often reinforced in our society will not be changed easily or quickly. "Alcohol at UVM" is a Service-Learning course, in which we will review the scholarly literature on AMOD misuse among young adults and on college campuses, and then undertake research projects to assist the PCAOD in its work.  These projects could take forms such as documenting successful programs at other institutions; conducting surveys or focus groups among UVM students; or creating materials to be used in educating students, faculty, and staff about the problem and strategies to address it.  The work will be developed in order to meet the needs of the PCAOD, and projects will be guided and supervised in order to assist students in gaining skills in research and communication.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course