USFSM's new economics minor will appeal to a cross-section of students.

USF Sarasota-Manatee debuts economics minor

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: September 22, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2017)USF Sarasota-Manatee is now offering a minor in economics to appeal to students across several academic disciplines.

Economics, the study of decision-making and how people use resources, often involves banking, international trade and stock markets. But the discipline delves into broader forms of human behavior as well, including the motivations behind decisions that affect oil production, new-home construction and the pricing of commodities and consumer goods.

USF Sarasota-Manatee debuts economics minor

Dr. Michael Snipes

“What economics does is try to get people to think about what motivates us to behave the way we do, why we choose one thing over another,” said Dr. Michael Snipes, an economics instructor at USFSM’s College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences. “It guides us in thinking strategically about human behavior.”

The minor is cross-disciplinary – meaning it involves parts of many academic disciplines – so it’s open to a variety of students across USFSM’s four colleges. Additionally, the discipline enhances analytical and critical-thinking skills and may help students seeking admission to graduate school, particularly those pursuing MBAs.

“The economics minor is a great compliment to our interdisciplinary social science curriculum as well as to the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, with a focus on strengthening the critical-thinking skills of our students,” said Dr. Sandra Stone, a professor of criminology and interim chair of social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences.

The 15 credit-hour program will consist of two required courses in micro- and macro-economics, as well as a choice of three upper-division electives such as international trade, labor relations, professional sports or, possibly, the economics of tourism.

Dr. Snipes, who created the program, envisions a range of classes appealing to a cross-section of students studying business, insurance, sociology, criminology, history, psychology and hospitality and tourism leadership, among other disciplines.

Although introduced this semester, the program will develop over time as interest in the program increases. The program is organized under USFSM’s College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences.

“One thing that you learn in the more advanced, upper-division economics classes, beyond critical thinking, is how to manage and think about risk,” he said. “How do you make decisions when things are uncertain? What is the best way to do something, like in the division of labor or assignment of tasks?

“Economics is used all of the time in any number of fields, from business forecasting, to insurance, sociology and social work,” Dr. Snipes said. “It’s a very flexible field that can be applied to numerous areas.”

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