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Introductory Economics Center (IEC)

The Introductory Economics Center has been in operation since the fall of 1997. The main mission of the Introductory Economics Center is to promote high quality teaching and innovative program development at the introductory level of economics. The IEC, with funding from the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, serves the university-wide goal of strengthening the Stanford curriculum for first and second-year undergraduates.

More Specifically, the Center Strives to Support Each of the Following Goals:

  • the improvement of the quality of teaching in introductory economics lectures and discussion sections;
  • the development of innovative computer-assisted teaching tools;
  • increased support, training, and monitoring of teaching assistants;
  • the creation and support of freshman and sophomore seminars in economics;
  • and, most generally, to make more and better resources available, both in and out of the classroom, to everyone involved with Introductory Economics.

In recent years, the IEC has increased its involvement with other programs promoting undergraduate education on campus such as the Introduction to the Humanities and Thinking Matters programs, the Psych One Initiative, the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research, and New Student Orientation.  The Associate Director maintains an active presence on campus, frequently consulting with administrators and faculty within Economics and other departments to improve the quality of undergraduate teaching and advising at Stanford.

One of the Center's Highest Priorities has been to Improve the Teaching Environment in the Econ 1 Discussion Sections.

Our efforts in this area revolve around two main goals:

  1. reducing the size of sections;
  2. providing the teaching assistants with extensive training, monitoring, and support services that have not usually been present in the past.

As the foundation for attaining these goals, TAs are assigned to the IEC for the full academic year under the guidance of the Associate Director. This guarantees that there will always be a sufficient number of TAs to keep the section ratio at no more than 15:1, and creates more opportunities to work with TAs on improving their teaching strategies. This program is designed to create a strong cadre of TAs, who are better prepared to lead effective discussion sections throughout the year.


Director: John Taylor. johntayl [at] (johntayl[at]stanford[dot]edu). Econ office 248.

Associate Director: Mark Tendall. tendall [at] (tendall[at]stanford[dot]edu). Econ office 147. 650-725-8763

Administrator: Kay Rusch. rusch146 [at] (rusch146[at]stanford[dot]edu). Econ office 137.