Today’s call to action is for academics: incorporate the war in Ukraine into your teaching!
As the war in Ukraine enters its second month, it’s becoming clear that helping Ukraine is a marathon, not a race. Even in the next-to-impossible event that all of Russia’s troops withdraw tomorrow, Ukraine will need years to rebuild and recover. It is thus important to sustain our efforts and keep the world’s attention on Ukraine.
If you’re an academic, I’d like to encourage you to incorporate material about the war in Ukraine into your classroom. Whether you teach political economy, development, business, basic micro- and macro-economics, or something completely unrelated to economics, there is something valuable for your students to learn from the war in Ukraine.
I will be teaching intermediate micro- and macro-economics in the fall. In past years, I have applied the concepts we learned to teach students about the Great Recession, Brexit, and COVID. This year, I expect many examples to come from the war in Ukraine. For example:
- The economics of sanctions (e.g., can be discussed when teaching about international trade, elasticities of demand and supply, market equilibria, exchange rates, and so much more)
- The effect of wars on economic growth (e.g., can be used while covering Solow growth model)
- Game theory. So much game theory here.
In another example, Unnati Narang, a UIUC marketing professor created a class activity encouraging students to read about how various brands are supporting Ukraine and/or boycotting Russia. Here is the simple slide she used for it, shared with her permission.
In her own words: “It was a simple activity, and I gave them bonus credit for participating. It connected well to the topic of the class (brand advantage) but also made them think deeply about the war and forced them to read about it — several students had no idea about brands and what they had been doing, but came up with very good examples from oil, telecom, auto, other industries on various ways businesses were helping — providing donations, matching employee donations, supporting families, keeping stores open to help locals affected by war, etc. Also showed them the importance of having ‘real conversations’ in class and not just going about the content mindlessly… since businesses have a larger role to play in the society. This was my motivation for introducing the activity as well.”
How will you incorporate a discussion of the war into your teaching?