Phil Ruder

Pacific University

Professor Ruder earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994 and has been teaching at Pacific University since that year. Phil's teaching interests include applied microeconomics, environmental economics, health economics, and international trade and development. In recent years, he has adopted the team-based learning (TBL) student-centered pedagogy.

Phil began teaching with TBL in the Spring of 2014. In the early going, he relied on modified end-of-chapter, usually highly computational, exercises for the TBL application exercises (AEs). While these activities were probably more effective at lecturing, they fell far short of the significant conceptual problems that form the basis of the best TBL AEs.

In recent years, Phil has worked to shift the AEs in all his courses away from the computational end-of-chapter problems and toward conceptually rich significant TBL AEs. At the same time, Phil has coordinated an effort to gather and disseminate AEs written by other college economics teachers. This effort got a big boost in the form of an NSF grant to support TBL AE development, dissemination of TBL pedagogy and materials to college teachers, and an empirical assessment of the efficacy of rich conceptual AEs relative to computational exercises for promoting student learning of economics.

Workshop Participant, Website Contributor

Website Content Contributions

Activities (14)

Firm's reaction to news about profits part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
In this activity, students consider a firm's reaction to news reporting about the level of its profits. The exercise presents the puzzle of a firm's alarmed response to news of positive profits. The ...

Competitive market assumptions - men's ball caps part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
In this activity, students are asked to use their intuition and their familiarity with an everyday item sure to be present in the classroom to determine which of the assumptions of the perfectly competitive model ...

Rising firm production costs part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
Students read an article before class and then complete a guided worksheet on the technical model of competitive markets and firms. The AE asks student teams to make their own predictions about long-run events in ...

Price insensitivity for branded EpiPen part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
This exercise asks student teams to select the most important reason that consumers are insensitive to price changes in the branded EpiPen epinephrine auto-injector based on a before-class reading of a news article ...

Potato market tax part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
This application exercise bolsters students' understanding of the analysis of a tax in the S-D market analytical framework. Students are also asked to consider the question of whether the existence of DWL ...

Potato Market Cartel part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
The exercise focuses on the US potato market to develop student expertise at identifying the monopoly outcome and associated deadweight loss. Also, student understanding of the probable instability of a cartel ...

Three AEs: Working with the Perfectly Competitive (S-D) Model part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
This three-activity sequence is based on a New York Times article that reports on events in the world butter market, with a focus on events in France, where some butter prices are not allowed to adjust quickly and ...

Examples of Price Discrimination part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
This application draws on student experiences as consumers in markets to elicit examples of price discrimination. The unusual reporting format provides a change of pace from the usual ABCDE format at the ...

Tragedy of the commons game part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
This application calls on student teams to depict a tragedy of the commons game in strategic form, identify the Nash equilibrium outcome, and consider policies that might improve on an open-access management regime ...

Policy to address worker displacement due to automation part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
Before class, students watch a TED talk by David Autor that presents an optimistic view of the economy's ability to absorb workers who are displaced by automation into other sectors of the economy. This ...

Three AEs for a basic supply-demand case on NYC taxi market part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
These three short AEs relate to the article "Taxi Medallions, Once a Safe Investment, Now Drag Owners Into Debt" (New York Times Sept. 10, 2017) that students should read and supply responses to JITT ...

Introductory environmental economics application part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
This application asks students to consider why the transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy has been so slow. Students will recognize that the price incentive favors fossil fuels due to the ...

First day of class activities part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
The two activities first present students with three types of learning and asks students to identify which type of learning is most important. Next, teams identify which activities could be accomplished at home and ...

Water pollution in the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
Upon successful completion of this exercise, students will be able to argue in favor of and against proposed policies to address water pollution problems.

Other Contributions (3)

Short-run production function examples part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Activities
Upon completion of this application exercise, each student should be able to describe the typical short-run production process of a firm and explain the concept of diminishing marginal product accurately.

Team-Based Learning part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning
Module developed by Scott Simkins, Department of Economics, North Carolina A&T State University, with assistance from Mark Maier, Glendale Community College, and Phil Ruder, Pacific University What is ...

Phil Ruder part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Team-Based Learning:Project Participants
Professor of Economics Pacific University 2043 College Way Forest Grove, OR 97116 ruder@pacificu.edu Phone:503-352-2148 Background Information Phil Ruder, Professor of Economics Professor Ruder earned his Ph.D. in ...

Workshop Participant