Rice Economics Spring 2022 Newsletter

News and Views from the Economics Department at Rice
Jimmy DeNicco Wins a Brown Teaching Award ( AGAIN !)
Spring 2022


News and Views from the Economics Department at Rice
Our heartiest congratulations to the Director of our Principles of Economics program , Senior Lecturer James ( Jimmy ) DeNicco , who is a 2022 recipient of a George R . Brown Award for Superior Teaching ( story below ). We would also like to congratulate the roughly eighty students who will be graduating in May with ECON and MTEC degrees – and to all of our departmental award winners who will be honored at our annual RISE ( Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics ) Day celebration , which will be held in the Kraft Hall Multi-purpose Room ( KRF 130 ) from 4:00-6:00 pm on Saturday , April 23 . Award winners will be named soon !
I hope you attended our RISE “ Conversations with Our Faculty ” webinar on March 23 . This event featured two of our outstanding junior faculty members , Yunmi Kong and YingHua He , who discussed their latest research projects . Details are provided in the story below .
We have also started a new speaker series , organized by our Director of Undergraduate Studies , Mallesh Pai , that is targeted at undergraduates interested in joining the workforce after graduation . We ’ re calling this series “ RISE :
Conversations with Our Alumni ,” and this event will feature a discussion with a Rice alum who has gone on to a successful career in an Economics / Finance related field . The first in this series was held on March 30 . More details are provided in the story below .
Finally , if you are interested in what your instructors have been doing lately , our department website highlights recent faculty achievements . Hope that the rest of your spring semester goes well .
George Zodrow Chair , Department of Economics
Jimmy DeNicco Wins a Brown Teaching Award ( AGAIN !)
We are delighted to report that our Director of the Principles of Economics program , Senior Lecturer James ( Jimmy ) DeNicco , is a 2022 recipient of a George R . Brown Award for Superior Teaching . This is of course not Jimmy ’ s first university-level teaching award . Indeed , just last year he was awarded the George R . Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching , the most prestigious teaching award given by the university . Following Rice tradition , Jimmy will deliver the 2022 Brown Lecture on Teaching Excellence at this year ’ s University Awards ceremony on April 26 .
Jimmy has received many other teaching accolades at Rice . In his first year here ( 2015-16 ), he was awarded the first Malcolm Gillis Award for Distinction in Undergraduate Teaching in Economics . In 2018 he won both the Sarah A . Burnett Teaching Prize in the Social Sciences and the Nicholas Salgo Distinguished Teaching Award , Rice ’ s oldest teaching award , which is based on the votes of current juniors and seniors . He has been named a “ Favorite Professor ” by Rice ’ s scholar-athletes on several occasions . Jimmy is also involved in numerous other Rice activities . He is the Faculty Liaison for the Rice Honor Council and has been a Faculty Associate at Baker College for seven years , where he was named the 2016 “ Outstanding Faculty Associate ” and received the 2017 “ Garside Award for Service .”
Jimmy attributes his success as a teacher to his ability to engage with his students on many levels . He emphasizes that , “ I really strive to make my classroom an energetic , friendly and fun place where students feel comfortable enough to sit back , relax and enjoy engaging in the material .”
In his upcoming Brown Lecture , Jimmy plans to talk about , “ Finding Your Fun in the Classroom ,” where he will discuss his approach to teaching , from organization to assignments to employing different presentation styles to reach more of his students .
Jimmy is currently involved in a new textbook project for his classes in an effort to make learning more affordable . The book will be titled A Story of Economics : A Principles Tale . He notes that , “ I am trying to bring the story of introductory economics I tell in my classroom to the written page for my students . Along with the textbook , I am building up my Canvas page with complimentary videos , assignments and discussions to get away from my students having to pay for course materials .”
Economics Department Chair George Zodrow , who will introduce Jimmy at this year ’ s University Awards ceremony , said , “ We are delighted but not surprised that Jimmy has won another prestigious teaching award at Rice . His passion for teaching economics and his commitment to our students are legendary , and in just a few short years he has become one of the most popular instructors on campus . We are indeed fortunate to have him leading our Principles of Economics program .”