The Economics Department at Northern Michigan University takes pride in its longstanding tradition of emphasizing the application of economic theory to real-world social phenomena. The department aims to provide students with a solid understanding of how economics sheds light on the way property rights, institutions and market processes affect human behavior and social phenomena from the local to the global level. An understanding of economics helps students to critically evaluate the role incentives play in social interaction. Students can then apply that understanding to a broad range of careers.

The Department of Economics mission is, therefore, fourfold: 1) to teach basic economics to students in support of other majors within the College of Arts and Sciences and throughout the University; 2) to contribute to students’ liberal studies education; 3) to provide the major or minor in economics for those students who desire a liberal arts degree for their careers, or for entry into graduate or professional schools; and 4) to advance economic literacy among K-16 teachers and students in the areas of economics and entrepreneurship.

To contact the Economics Department, email or call 906-227-2220. The department’s fax number is 906-227-2229


Professor lecturing


Northern Michigan University’s Economics Department offers courses for economics majors and minors, as well as courses supporting other majors, general electives and liberal studies.

The first economics class was offered at Northern in the fall of 1918 and was taught by John E. Lautner. He also taught languages, economics and sociology. Until 1963, economics was a subject taught in the history or social science departments.

In 1963, economics and sociology became a combined department. Three years later, the Economics Department was created. Three economics alumni became the departments instructors: Arnie Aho, Neil Carlson and Tom Holmstrom. All three remained in the department until their retirements following the 1996-97 academic year.

Today, the department helps oversee Northern’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship. The center offers significant outreach efforts and opportunities to the Upper Peninsula community, especially its K-12 schools.

Department chairs or heads: Jean Pearman, 1963-64; Kenneth Parkhurst, 1964-65; Neil Carlson, 1965-66; Phillip May, 1966-70; Howard Swaine, 1970-97; David Prychitko, 1997-2003; Russ Magnaghi, 2003-06; Robert Quinn 2006-2018; Gary McDonnell 2019-2020; David Prychitko 2020-present.

Primary Source: A Sense of Time: The Encyclopedia of Northern Michigan University, Dr. Russell Magnaghi.


                                                                                     DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS                                                                  




Wherever an asterisk appears (*), it indicates reference to the current collective bargaining agreement which governs in all cases.


1.              Voting:    All tenured, tenure-earning, continuing contract or term status members of the Economics faculty are eligible to vote on department matters.  The department head is not a voting member.


2.              Committees


2.1.          Every faculty member shall be eligible to serve on any departmental committee, though their right to vote is circumscribed by Article 1 above. Committee membership shall be appointed as needed by the Department Head, except as noted below.

2.2            Departmental committees may be established and abolished by majority vote.

2.3            Promotion and Tenure Committee:

2.3.1        The department faculty acting as a committee of the whole, excluding the department head and the applicant;

2.4            Other duties may be assigned by the department head by mutual consent to one or more persons as required--for example, the Economics Student Association and Honorary Society advisors, and curriculum.  (See Master Agreement

2.5            The department's Senate representative will be chosen by a simple majority vote of all department faculty. 

2.6            The department's representative to the Bargaining Council will be chosen by a simple majority vote among department members who are also dues-paying members of the Association.

2.7            Class and course schedules will be established by the Department Head in consultation with the faculty acting as a committee of the whole.



3.              Department Head


3.1            No later than December lst of each year, the department faculty shall meet without the Head to discuss the leadership as provided in Master Agreement (2009-2012) A full review and evaluation of the department head’s leadership shall be done at least once every three years. 


3.2            With regard to the selection of a department head, Section 3.l.2 of Article III of the collective bargaining agreement shall govern.



4.              Department meetings may be called by the Head or the majority of the voting members of the department.  A quorum shall consist of half of the number eligible to vote.


5.              Reassigned Time Credit and Overload Courses Order of Priority


5.1            Reassigned time shall be granted in accordance with of the Master Agreement.


5.2            Overload assignments shall be granted in accordance with 9.1.4 of the Master Agreement. 


5.3            When a name appears at the top of the priority list, and a course is offered, the person may pass and remain at the top of the next list.  The course shall then be offered to the next person and the next until someone accepts it.


5.4            If no one accepts the course on this priority list, the course may be offered on a non-priority basis--i.e., acceptance of the course does not change a person's position on the priority list.  If two or more persons then desire the course, it shall be allocated by lottery.  If no one accepts the course under these conditions, it shall be canceled unless an instructor can be found among other university personnel or by an adjunct appointment.


5.5            New faculty member's names shall be entered at the bottom of the list according to the date their letter of acceptance is received.


5.6            The above lists shall apply to all Economics Department faculty, provided that:  (l) they hold appointments in the Economics Department; (2) faculty members are qualified to teach courses assigned to them under these provisions.


5.7            The department, by majority vote and subject to approval by the Department Head and other administrative personnel, may abrogate the above priorities in order to accomplish a special purpose, as, for example, the appointment of an outstanding visiting professor.


5.8            No person shall teach more than one extra course during a regular semester or more than two courses in the spring and summer sessions.


5.9            All private trading of priorities are subject to approval by the Department Head.



5.10         The Department discourages directed studies courses for all but exceptionally qualified students.


6.              Professional Development Fund Allocations

6.1            Professional development funds shall be allocated according to of the Master Agreement. 


7.              Academic Appointments (See Agreement, Sections 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 of the Master Agreement which govern the process)


7.1            The Department Head shall consult all department members during the process of hiring new faculty as to background and specializations desired and criteria for selection among candidates.


7.2            All candidates for permanent positions must:


7.2.1        provide official transcripts;

7.2.2        present a lecture or lead a seminar  discussion on a subject of his/her choice during an on-campus visit;

7.2.3        submit a sample of his/her writing--a published article, dissertation chapter or seminar paper;

7.2.4        exceptions to the above shall be made only for substantial reasons and with the concurrence of the majority of department faculty.

7.2.5        meet the minimum criteria for appointment at his/her rank contained in Agreement Section 5.2.


7.3            All persons hired for tenure-earning positions are expected to hold the Ph.D. in Economics. Those tenure-earning instructors hired without Ph.D.s are expected to complete them within one year.  Exceptions may be made because of unusual scholarly and/or professional achievements, according to 5.2 of the Agreement.    


  1. Scholarship, Professional Development, and Service


  1. Scholarship

In the area of scholarship, the economics department considers that all forms of scholarship must involve the production of a tangible artifact or outcome and that for most of scholarship, peer review is expected (5.5.6 of the Agreement). It acknowledges the equal value of the four forms of scholarship recognized in Scholarship Assessed:  discovery, application, integration and teaching. 


Examples and discussions of what is meant by the four forms of scholarship are below.   Individuals may excel in one or more of these scholarship areas.  Anyone facing challenges placing his or her achievements in one of the four categories may make his or her own classifications while providing arguments for their placements.  The departmental committee will review, evaluate and either accept or reject classifications with an explanation regarding its decision.


  1. The scholarship of discovery The scholarship of discovery involves original production or testing of a theory,   principle, or knowledge.   Works engaging in original research that culminates in the discovery of new ideas, theories, overthrowing established hypotheses, and the like fall under the scholarship of discovery.  Artifacts or outcomes include:


  1. a traditional experimental, survey, quantitative and/or qualitative study and research, for example new theories about,  or conducting studies of,  the role of institutions in furthering or preventing economic growth (New Institutional Economics) new theories about, or conducting studies of, the elasticity of tuition rates and enrollment in baccalaureate programs of study


  1. Other forms of research, using experimental tools, case studies, methodologies from other disciplines, among others, for example


  1. developing new theories by using psychometrics to study entrepreneurship
  2. developing new theories by using experimental techniques to explain certain economic behavior
  3. The scholarship of integration involves using knowledge found within and across disciplines to create an original understanding or insight that reveals larger intellectual patterns.  Interdisciplinary research includes integrating economic frameworks, theories, etc, across the disciplines. Artifacts or outcomes  include


  1. a textbook or synthesis that summarizes what is known about a topic or process, edited anthology that have a limited economic emphasis but utilize economics in multi-disciplinary studies, for example  the economics of labor's changing position in U.S. history, environmental science, political science, health administration, law and economics, economic sociology and evolutionary economics.

  1. a theoretical analysis
  2. The scholarship of application involves bringing knowledge to bear in addressing a significant issue or problem by using existing research or creative activities to influence current or future conditions.  Artifacts or outcomes include


  1. providing expert testimony,
  2. production of a technical report,
  3. a substantive grant proposal,
  4. white paper associated with consultancies or grants,
  5. public policy analysis,
  6. professional presentation
  7. works on how economics is used in or applied to, for example, businesses, government, politics, consumer households and higher education to determine the net benefits, net costs, opportunity costs, etc. of different actions, plans, policies, technologies, and institutions


  1. The scholarship of teaching involves proposing and empirically testing a pedagogical procedure that transforms or improves teaching practices.  Artifacts or outcomes  include


  1. a systematic comparison of learning environments, for example studying the student's absorption and retention of ideas in large vs. small section principles courses
  2. an impact analysis for learning activities beyond the classroom (such as academic service learning),
  3. a comprehensive assessment of teaching methodologies, for example a paper that offers empirical evidence about new, effective approaches to teaching topics in intermediate micro or macro theory
  4. writing/preparing peer reviewed pedagogical material that draws on the professional training and scholarly capability of the faculty member and are evaluated for their effectiveness, for example lesson plans and educational works reviewed and published by organizations such as the National Council on Economic Education and the Federal Reserve Banks


  1. Peer Review.  For most scholarship, peer review is expected. The department also recognizes that publishing in peer reviewed journals in the discipline is time consuming, resource intensive and there is a relatively low probability of being accepted in these journals.  Due to the time limit on tenure, the department is willing to place lower weight on publishing for tenure than when applying for promotion to associate professor.

The Department of Economics views accepted peer-reviewed journal articles with an economic emphasis in academic journals in and outside the profession of economics as meeting the publication criteria for promotion to associate professor or professor in the Economics Department as specified in 11.2 and 11.3 of these bylaws. Traditional and online peer-reviewed journal publications are treated the same.  The department considers that other scholarly works may count as meeting the publication of peer reviewed journal articles criteria if the applicant demonstrates that these works are equivalent to accepted or published peer-reviewed journal articles.

  1. Common types of peer review include (but are not limited to):
    1. publication in a peer reviewed journal, including
      1. economics journals including traditional print journals as well as online journals,
      2. articles with an economics emphasis in inter-disciplinary journals
    2. presentation of scholarly work at a seminar, workshop or professional conference as a result of invitation or competitive process, including departmental workshops, college functions, scholarly seminars, professional gatherings, and university meetings
    3. papers published in conference proceedings
    4. a referee’s report or published review or comment of one’s research,
    5. invited or accepted publication of notes, comments, and replies in scholarly exchanges, and invited papers that add significant value to professional knowledge and applied research,
    6. review essays and other formal forums,
    7. articles submitted for publication in peer reviewed journals but not accepted may count if the applicant demonstrates its high scholarly value
    8. evaluation of a grant proposal,
    9. a peer letter acknowledging scholarly accomplishments,
    10. articles accepted for inclusion in professionally recognized depositories,
    11. economic articles published in national and international professional newspapers or magazines
    12. economically-relevant analytical, empirical, historical, or archival-type work, research and consulting products that serve the department, college, university, community or professional associations
    13. receiving a professional award
    14. obtaining a grant
    15. acceptance for publication of a professionally related book or textbook


  1. Professional development includes activities intended to maintain currency in one's discipline, developing new professionally related expertise, or participation in other professionally related activities that don't necessarily result in a scholarly outcome.  Examples of professional development are:
    1. Attending professional conferences    
    2. Attending professional workshops
    3. Developing a new, or maintaining a current, certification
    4. Obtaining an additional degree or training related to one's field
    5. Engaging in post-doctoral work designed to expand one's professional competence,
    6. Other appropriate professional activities, when confirmed by the departmental evaluation committee and the department head.


  1. Service


  1. contributions to academic and administrative committees at the department, college, and university levels;


  1. activities that contribute to the maintenance and growth of the department, college or university, such as active recruitment of economics majors and minors, directing or co-directing the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship or other university related centers that have an economic component; participation in campus recruitment events, summer orientation sessions, elementary and high-school visitations, distance learning and online course preparations, active engagement in faculty and administrator search processes, etc;  service to student clubs and organizations;
  2. leadership and participation in local community organizations that make use of one’s economic expertise; and activities that serve the broader scholarly community of economists, social scientists, K-12 teachers and other educators.  For example, refereeing articles, serving as a discussant or a chair at a professional conference, serving as a textbook reviewer, or offering workshops in economic education, entrepreneurship and personal finance.  
  1. Faculty Evaluation Reports


9.1   Evaluations will be made in accordance with Section 5.4 of the Agreement.  The Faculty Evaluation Committee will be made up of the departmental faculty acting as a committee of the whole, excluding the department head and applicant.  The Department Head will attach a statement of concurrence or non-concurrence with full explanation.


9.2            The annual evaluation will identify a faculty member's current status and describe any remaining requirements or improvements necessary for earning a supportive tenure and/or promotion recommendation.


9.3            Each evaluation shall include a comprehensive assessment of the applicant’s teaching effectiveness which is based upon faculty evaluation member and student evaluation; assessment of assigned responsibilities; evaluation of service and assessment of scholarship and professional development.


9.3.1        The relative emphasis on “scholarship and/or professional development” or service must be specified in evaluation materials each year, including the year of application. Concurrence with the faculty member's relative emphasis on “scholarship and/or professional development” or service will be provided by the departmental evaluation committee and be subject to approval of the department head. See Article 5.5.6.


9.3.2        Continued effectiveness in the area of assigned responsibilities shall be evidenced by the achievement of goals identified in this area in prior evaluations.


9.3.3        Each evaluation shall include a statement of plans for the coming evaluation period.


9.4            Confidentiality of faculty personnel files shall be maintained pursuant Article


10.            Levels of Achievement for Tenure (See Agreement, Section 5.5)


10.1         The Faculty Evaluation Committee is responsible for initiating and conducting tenure review for all probationary faculty appointments in the Department. 


10.2         The review follows a probationary period during which colleagues advise the probationary faculty member of his/her progress toward tenure through the annual evaluation process.


10.3         The annual evaluation will also contain a description of the faculty member's current status and any remaining requirements or improvements necessary for achieving a favorable tenure recommendation. 


10.4         It is the responsibility of the faculty member applying for tenure to demonstrate that the criteria for tenure as specified in the Master Agreement, departmental bylaws and the applicant’s annual evaluations during the probationary period have been met and/or exceeded.


10.5         The departmental evaluation committee shall submit a written report containing a recommendation with all supporting documents for the award of tenure.  In addition to the committee's recommendation, the Department Head shall provide an independent evaluation concurring or not concurring with the committee's report with full explanation.


10.6         For all applicants applying for tenure in the Department of Economics, the following criteria shall be met.


                  10.6.1     Teaching, Advising and Assigned Responsibilities    Tenure requires demonstrated effectiveness in assigned responsibilities and must include excellence in teaching as judged by students and colleagues and in line with stated teaching plans in previous evaluations.  See paragraph 5.4.l.5 of the Agreement.    Means used in judging the quality of teaching performance must include student evaluations and peer assessment of classroom engagement, course materials, and course objectives, as documented by the applicant’s cumulative annual evaluations (See Articles 9.3.2 and 9.3.3 of these bylaws).    Other means may also include teaching presentations to the department, invited teaching and new classroom techniques presentations to departments at other universities, departmental circulation and/or discussions of course examinations and syllabi.    Discussions with other department members regarding course content, methods of instruction and testing, textbooks, and innovative approaches can be particularly helpful.    The faculty member should also at least informally document support from other department members that the subject matter and content of his or her courses are appropriate and current, and contribute to the overall education of our economics majors.   Effective advising of students assigned to the faculty member and informal advising of students not assigned.  Any inputs from students, faculty and staff will be considered.


  1.      Scholarship and/or Professional Development
    1.                    Tenure requires multiple peer-reviewed scholarly works in discovery, application, integration or teaching.  Section 8.1 describes those scholarly works are acceptable.  Each category of scholarly work receives equal weight.  The minimum tenure standard shall be three peer-reviewed scholarly activities.  Accepted, refereed articles for journal publication may be included but are not required as a part of this tenure minimum.
    2.                    Tenure requires several documented accomplishments in Professional development (See Section 8.2 of bylaws).


10.6.3                       Service                   Tenure requires multiple examples of service as described in Section 8.3 of these bylaws.  The minimum tenure expectation is service to the department, college, university, community and/or scholarly community such as serving as a contributing member on committees, especially on committees at the college and university levels, and active recruitment of economics majors and minors. 


10.7   Higher requirements:

  1.                        The applicant applying for tenure while emphasizing scholarship and/or professional development must satisfy the condition of In addition, the applicant must include at least one additional peer-reviewed scholarly activity.

10.7.2                       The applicant applying for tenure while emphasizing service must satisfy the condition of  In addition, the applicant must play a distinguished leadership role or have notable involvement in at least one additional service activity.  Examples include, but not limited to, elected, appointed or invited memberships on professional committees and panels, professional committee or sub-committee leadership roles, and/or presenting position papers and/or reports to or on behalf of committees.


  1.    Continuing Contract Status Applications
  2.                        The continuing contract status applicant must meet the stated tenure criteria in the areas of teaching and departmental service.  See Article 10.6.1 and 10.6.3 of these bylaws. 


  1. Levels of Achievement for Promotion (See Master Agreement 5.5)


According to Master Agreement and section 9.3.1 above, it is essential and bears repeating that the faculty member specify, in his or her own statement in the years prior to promotion, the relative emphasis he or she has placed on the criteria of scholarship and/or professional development and service.  While the faculty member must at least meet those minimum expectations in all three judgment criteria, the applicant must excel within the criterion emphasized.


  1.                To Assistant Professor


     A doctorate and demonstrated ability to accomplish assigned


  1.         Assigned Responsibilities (Assistant Professor)            
        1. The faculty member will be expected to document that he or she meets, or shows the abilities and promise to meet criteria in section 10.6.1 above.


  1. Scholarship and/or Professional Development (Assistant Professor)
    1. A department member hired at the level of Instructor seeking promotion to Assistant Professor must complete a dissertation within the time period as provided in their initial letter of appointment.  The completion of the Ph.D. shall take top priority over any of the other scholarly works and service activities.
    2. The faculty member will be expected to document that he or she meets, or shows the abilities and promise to meet the criteria in section 10.6.2.
  2. Service (Assistant Professor)
    1. Provide services as described in section 8.3 as agreed on by the applicant and department head. 


  1. To Associate Professor
    1. Assigned Responsibilities for Promotion to Associate Professor Requires


  1. Excellence in teaching judged by students and colleagues. 
  2. Improved performance in classroom teaching and/or the development of new courses or modifications of existing courses through, for example, new pedagogy, new course materials, or problem sets.
  3. High quality examinations as judged by department peers.
  4. Academic advisement shown to be supportive and effective.
  5. Appropriate and current subject matter and content choices that contribute to the overall education of economics majors, economics minors and non-majors as judged by departmental peers.
  6. The successful execution of plans identified in previous evaluations.


  1. Scholarship and/or Professional Development for Promotion to Associate Professor Requires
    1. Promotion to Associate Professor Requires
      1. At least one example of scholarship confirmed by a refereed journal article, published or accepted for publication, and
      2. Two other scholarly works as described in 8.1 and confirmed by the peer review standards as described in 8.1.5 and 8.1.6, and
      3. A commitment to professional development as confirmed by multiple activities described in 8.2; evidence of post-graduate education, and developing expertise in new fields of instruction.
  2. When an emphasis:    At least one additional scholarly work as described in 8.1 and confirmed by the peer review standards as described in 8.1.5 and 8.1.6. Additionally, the successful applicant must possess a record of sustained achievements in professional development as defined in 8.2.
  3. Each category of scholarly work receives equal weight and an applicant can choose one or more areas of scholarship.


  1. Service  (Associate Professor)
    1. Promotion to Associate Professor Requires
      1. Multiple examples of service as described in Section 8.3 of these bylaws. 
      2. The minimum promotion expectation is multiple instances of service to the department, college, university, community and/or scholarly community such as serving as a contributing member on committees, especially on committees at the college and university levels, and active recruitment of economics majors and minors.
    2. When an emphasis: A distinguishing leadership role in at least one service activity and noted involvement in at least one more service activity plus multiple instances of service to the profession.


  1. To Professor


  1. Assigned Responsibilities (Professor)
    1. Continued and current expertise in one or more fields of advanced economics as well as the ability to teach a variety of lower and upper division courses effectively.
    2. Continued excellence in classroom teaching.
    3. Innovations in classroom materials, exams, handouts and pedagogy.
    4. Evidence of bringing scholarship and/or professional development into classes.
    5. Mature judgment in advising and career counseling.
    6. Continued advising should be documented clearly and shown to be supportive and effective.
    7. Continued support from other department members that the subject matter and content of courses taught are appropriate and current, and contribute to the overall education of economics majors.
    8. The achievement of plans identified in prior evaluations.



  1. Scholarship and/or Professional Development (Professor)
    1. For all:
      1. At least one additional refereed journal article, published or accepted for publication, and
      2. Multiple new scholarly works as described in 8.1 and confirmed by the peer review standards as described in 8.1.5.and 8.1.6. and
      3. A commitment to professional development as confirmed by several activities described in 8.2.


  1. When an emphasis: An additional refereed journal article (published or accepted for publication).
  2. In either publication scenario, the individual must also cite several accomplishments in scholarly works and active involvement in professional development activities. Sections 8.1 and 8.2 describe appropriate scholarly works and professional development activities.  Each category of scholarly work receives equal weight.  In addition to those scholarly activities, evidence of post-graduate education, and developing expertise in new fields of instruction might also help support a more favorable promotion decision.


  1. Service  (Professor)
    1. For all:

Effectively meet the service commitment defined in the Master Agreement and participate in departmental job searches, represent the department on college and university committees, and other departmentally-related services. Examples in 8.3 describe appropriate service activities.

  1. When an emphasis

Fill a distinguishing leadership role in at least one service activity and have noted involvement in at least one more service activity. Evidence of a distinguished leadership role or notable involvement as illustrated by:   

  1. Professional awards and recognitions for the applicant’s service given by regional, national, or international organizations.
  2. Being appointed or elected to a distinguished position within regional, national, or international organizations.
  3. Serving as chairperson of one or more faculty committees with notable outputs of value to the department, college, university or profession over a period of time.
  4. In service to the community. This might consist of serving as an officer, director, or in other leadership roles that are related to the profession of economics.
  5. Tangible evidence to distinguish his or her individual contribution as an economist from that of ordinary membership participation in the organization would support promotion efforts.
  6. One means of judging service within and outside the University is to ask, “Would this service be notably different if the person were not trained in economics?”
  7. Service to scholarly or professional organizations (such as serving as an officer in a society or on an editorial board or an international economics organization) may also demonstrate a higher level of achievement in the service criteria.

12.            Student Grade Appeals


12.1         The Department Head will appoint three faculty members who will serve as the Economics Department grievance committee to hear complaints and advise the Department and the University regarding disposition of cases coming before it.


12.2         No hearing or actions shall take place until the following procedures have been complied with by the student or students:


12.2.l                         The complaint has been discussed with the faculty member involved.


12.2.2                       The complaint has been discussed with the Department Head.


12.2.3                       The student or students have set forth their grievance in writing with their specific recommendation as to the resolution of the problem.


12.3 The committee will hold a hearing.


12.4         The findings of the grievance committee must be set forth in writing with copies to the student or students and the faculty member involved.  A signed copy of the complaint and the findings shall be retained in the departmental files.


12.5         A faculty member against whom the grievance is filed cannot serve on the grievance committee when his or her case is being heard. If it is not possible to secure enough members for the grievance committee from within the department, the department head and eligible grievance committee members can select, by unanimous agreement, a tenured faculty member from among the other departments in the University.


13.            Amendments


Department may make amendments and additions to these bylaws at any time during the academic year.  They shall require approval of a two-thirds majority of the department members.  Master Agreement 3.11 must be followed thereafter. 



Approved by Interim Provost and Vice President Paul Lang on June 16, 2011.

University Business Hours

University business hours are 8 a.m.–5 p.m. during the fall and winter semesters (late August through early May) and 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. during the summer (early May through late August). Northern Michigan University is located in the Eastern time zone.

Campus Location

The Economics Department is located in the 3rd floor of Gries Hall, which is behind the Bottom University Center. The main entrance to the building is accessible from Seventh Street. 

For parking see the campus map.

Mailing Address

Economics Department
Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Avenue
Marquette, MI 49855