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John Abell

Professor of Economics, Carl Stern Chair of Economics
B.S., Centre College of Kentucky; M.S., Ph.D., University of Kentucky
(e-mail) (web site)

Professor Abell's research frequently takes him to San Lucas Tolimán, an indigenous community in Guatemala. The attraction is an array of community-based projects in the following areas: education, health care, housing, land development, job apprenticeship, honey bee farming, water systems, fuel efficient stoves, reforestation, experimental farming, and coffee. Moreover, these projects have a philosophical underpinning based on E.F. Schumacher's subsidiarity principle. By using local resources and by carrying out most stages of production right there in San Lucas, economic multiplier effects circulate locally, rather than leak away to Guatemala City or the United States.

Success stories from the developing world are few and far between. Professor Abell has been writing about San Lucas's programs that offer financial security, hope, and self-esteem for over a decade now. His approach to research is straight-forward. You jump right in and help lay a water line, help a family pick coffee, or build a fuel-efficient stove before you start writing about it. His overall approach to economics has been shaped by his years of travel to San Lucas and is consistent with the title of E.F. Schumacher's book, Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered. Even in his most technical courses, he tries not to stray too far from this basic idea.

Mark Harrison

Chair of the Economics/Business Department, Associate Professor of Economics/Business
B.S., Mississippi State University; M.S., Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Academics is my second career. As an undergraduate, I majored (at various times) in philosophy, chemistry, computer science, and chemical engineering. I finished with a degree in chemical engineering . . . and then promptly went to work as a petroleum engineer. I spent 12 years in the oil business, including 10 wonderful years in the Philippines, serving as an engineering and management consultant to petroleum companies.

The oil business was kind to me, but at the ripe old age of 35 I wanted to try something new. So I returned to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin. I earned a Ph.D. in Economics . . . and then promptly began teaching business courses in MBA programs. Today I pursue a career in academics, teaching and writing on topics in business and economics.

In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors, travel, and residential architecture. In 2007 I crewed on a 42-foot catamaran for a transatlantic voyage, from Hampton Roads to the Azores to Gibraltar. In 2010 I canoed in the Wabakimi Wilderness of northern Ontario.

I travel abroad as often as I can. In 2009 I visited the Sekolah Bisnis dan Manajemen at the Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia as a Fulbright Scholar, and more recently I have visited at Franklin University of Switzerland.

In 1998 I designed and built a house in Peterborough, New Hampshire. I hope someday to design another house, for Lynchburg . . . but this time I will let someone else build it!

Jeff Heinfeldt

Associate Professor of Economics/Business
B.S., M.B.A., Bowling Green State University; Ph.D., Kent State University

I earned my BSBA and MBA degrees from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and received a Ph.D. in Finance from Kent State University, also in Ohio.

I have professional experience in the areas of banking and corporate accounting. I have taught a wide range of courses in the past: finance, accounting, management, and economics. The students and their education are my main priorities. In keeping with this focus on student education, I enjoy conducting research that is applied and pedagogical in nature. I am particularly interested in topics that improve the classroom experience for the students and enhance my teaching effectiveness. Specific areas of research have included financial education/pedagogy, stakeholder theory, and firm value.

As for outside interests and activities, my wife, Denise, and I enjoy sports (biking, jogging, tennis, etc.), travel and relaxing (when possible).

I sum up my thoughts on business, and specifically finance, education as follows: I believe financial education is of value to students whether they pursue a career in the discipline or not. In particular, basic financial literacy is an important life skill. As a teacher, I would like students to gain an understanding of, and an appreciation for, finance and to have had a positive experience along the way.

Elizabeth Perry-Sizemore

Division Head - Social and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Economics
B.A., Randolph-Macon Woman's College; M.A., Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Elizabeth Perry-Sizemore, head of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Randolph College, is the Catherine Ehrman Thoresen and William Thoresen Chair of Economics in the Department of Economics and Business.

She earned her Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2004. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College.

Liz is the past director of the competitive and college-wide Student/Faculty Summer Research Program at Randolph-Macon Woman's College and past chair of Randolph's Symposium of Artists and Scholars. In her earlier role as an Assistant Dean, she helped design and participate in the selection process for the Randolph Innovative Student Experience (RISE) program, which awards grants to Randolph students to pursue scholarly and creative endeavors.

Liz is an elected Social Sciences Councilor with the Council on Undergraduate Research and an experienced facilitator at CUR's Social Science Institutes, helping teams of faculty and administrators from other institutions develop proposals for enhancing undergraduate research on their own campuses and speaking on curricular scaffolding for undergraduate research experiences. Within her own discipline, she is a former faculty advisor to the online student-refereed journal Illinois Wesleyan Undergraduate Economic Review (IWUER). She is the student research module coordinator for the National Science Foundation-funded Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics, a pedagogic portal project developed by economists in collaboration with the Science Education Resource Center of Carleton College (National Science Foundation Grant DUE0817382, $497,953, PIs: M. Maier, C. Manduca, K. McGoldrick, S. Simkins). She is the coauthor of The American Economist article "Creating Quality Undergraduate Research Programs in Economics: How, When, Where (and Why)" with Steve DeLoach and Mary Borg.

Liz advises independent undergraduate research projects in a number of her classrooms, but also engages in student/faculty community-based research collaborations with undergraduate students through paid summer research positions, independent studies, experiential learning opportunities, and her service learning public economics course. Currently, she and several students are working in service to the Tinbridge Hill neighborhood of Lynchburg, Virginia to assess the City Council-approved, neighborhood-owned Growing Tinbridge Hill Neighborhood Plan. Earlier student projects included collecting and analyzing data to help inform the goals of the Plan. A number of Liz's students have presented their work to the local community and at regional conferences.

Andria Smythe

Assistant Professor of Economics
B.A., St. Joseph's University; M.A., Ph.D., Temple University

Economics professor Andria Smythe is one of the newest professors factoring into the academic equation at Randolph this fall.

A native of Jamaica, Smythe earned her bachelor's degree in economics from Saint Joseph's University in 2006. She went on to receive a master's degree in economics in 2011, and a Ph.D. in economics in 2015 from Temple University.

While at Temple, Smythe taught several undergraduate courses, including The American Economy, Macroeconomic Principles, Public Control of Businesses, Economics of Development and Growth, and more. She also worked as a graduate research assistant at Temple's Institute for Schools and Society and at the Center for Research in Human Development and Education.

She has published findings from several of her research projects. One of the most notable was her dissertation on the effects of the recent recession on college enrollment and outcomes. For her research, she examined whether people were more likely to enroll in college during the recession and how likely they were to finish college.

"What I found is people enrolled during recessions are less likely to finish college, which has huge implications," she said. "During recessions, higher education is often one of the first budget cuts, so we need to reconsider that because we may be hurting college outcomes."

Smythe plans to continue her research, this time examining student loans.

"I really think this kind of research has applications in so many different ways," she said. "I want to keep at this and pull my students in because it's knowledge that's relevant for them. Hopefully it will grab their interest and make them want to do research after they leave Randolph College."

When she's not in the classroom or compiling statistics, Smythe can be found enjoying the outdoors. A sprinter in college, she still enjoys running and has taken on the new hobby of rock climbing since arriving in Lynchburg.