In a recent podcast interview with Southern Utah University’s Center for Teaching Innovation, Dr. Joshua Price, associate professor of economics at SUU, shared his goals for the students of SUU, and the programs he’s created to help them succeed.
Dr. Price’s goal is to create a community of students to work together, and overcome their similar challenges. As an undergraduate Dr. Price worked as a research assistant working on a project looking at this high school participation, increasing lifetime earnings. He has dedicated his time to help students on their paths of research and understanding.
After coming to SUU he partnered with other faculty and the provost to hire students to work on different projects, and has since expanded to create the HEAL (Health Education Action Lab).
“HEAL has been designed to give students of any major of any class an opportunity to engage in empirical research. We want them to start working on their own research, where we can help mentor them,” said Dr. Price. “I think part of it is just to let them rely on each other. And oftentimes, I want to step in quickly. And oh, let me, I know the answer. I've done this kind of thing. Here's how you solve this problem quickly. But just take a step back and let them go through that experience.”
Dr. Price uses Bloom's Taxonomy, which is a classification system used to define and distinguish different levels of human cognition.
“There's a triangle of hierarchy of learning, and research hits, I think, every single one of those levels. And by doing research, you're able to create new knowledge, so we want to give students those opportunities.” said Price. “The hard part is, research can be hard. And it can be difficult. As you start to get into it, the challenges come and the problems start to happen and the problem solving has to kick in. By forming a community by getting students together in a group, there's something special about students being in a collaborative environment, where they're facing the same challenges and same opportunities.”
The purpose of education is to help students gain valuable skills they can use for any job/major. Such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, etc. These are the skills that every employer is looking for, but they are also the hardest skills to teach and learn.
In the interview Dr. Price mentioned his love of teaching when he said “One of the big things that attracted me here was the opportunity to work with students and be a part of a college experience and a college atmosphere.” A good educator is someone who truly understands and cares about the students. Technology can both help and hinder this process. While you are able to meet with people over a large distance, There is a different connection when it comes to face-to-face communication. Connecting with the students is essential if professors want them to reach their goals. Professors want their students to succeed, and that means pushing them to learn and grow.
“I've tried to embrace the student’s goals, and support their goals no matter what they are and that's how we measure success. When you look at our job placements, and when you look at talk to these students afterwards, they're incredibly happy. They're achieving their definitions of success. The Health Education Action Lab is successful because we're helping these students achieve their dreams.”
“We take any student, any major, we have an open door policy, where we will help train you on how to do empirical research and give you the skills that you are looking for, no matter what your discipline is, and we welcome anybody, and it's an awesome experience.”
Dr. Price’s research focuses on the application of behavioral economic tools in a variety of settings. He joined SUU in 2014 and received SUU’s Outstanding Educator of the Year Award in 2016. To learn more, book an interview via the profile link above.
Josh Price Associate Professor of Economics
Specializing in the economics of public policy, choice architecture, and litigation consulting