Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Intermingling Economics with Life Lessons

Erwin Erhardt goes the extra mile to help his students acquire a deep understanding of the fundamentals of economics.

Erwin Erhardt is a voracious reader. The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and various trade journals are among his top sources for what’s going on in the world.

“There’s a power shift going on,” he says of the articles he’s been reading on the Middle East region. “Particularly in Libya, Egypt and Syria. When these countries become unstable, there are worldwide political and economic ramifications.”  

He can’t wait to discuss these uprisings and situations of political unrest with students in his Economic Development course, an upper-level economics course and one of three classes that he teaches for UC as an associate professor educator at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

“I love teaching economic development,” he says. “A lot of major turning points in history have been based on economic turmoil and economic change. There’s so much out there to learn on why some nations are not economically progressing as much as others.”

Erhardt’s knack for making an occasionally dry subject as economics come alive through real-world events has earned him the University of Cincinnati 2014 Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member Award.

High Praise

Fellow faculty and students alike have high praise for the dedication he brings to Lindner’s economics department.

“Erwin is a dedicated, passionate teacher who cares deeply for his students and is always ready to go that extra mile to help his students acquire a deep understanding of the fundamentals of economics,” says Nick Williams, chair of Lindner’s economics department.

Some estimate that Erhardt has taught more than 10,000 students at UC alone. With each passing class, his goal of turning them into well rounded, better educated young adults never waivers.  He doesn’t hesitate to intermingle economics and life lessons.

“I tell them to work hard, put away money, plan for the future and always keep up in their field because the job market is competitive,” he says.

He is passionate about seeing students succeed.

“He has a drive to help students in and out of the classroom,” says David Szymanski, Lindner College of Business dean and one of Erhardt’s nominators.

Outside the classroom, Erhardt is equally supportive. He serves as faculty advisor to three UC sports clubs—water ski team, men’s rugby and women’s rugby, a group he helped establish in 2011. He serves as an academic advisor to Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a UC fraternity chapter, and oversees three economic-oriented student groups at Lindner: Economic Society, Developing and Emerging Nations Society, which he began in 2007, and the UC Chapter of Global Business Brigades.

He’s most proud of facilitating a connection for students in his economic development course to present their research at the annual Global Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska Omaha, where he is a steering committee member. Since 2008, he has made time to coach, tweak presentations and make the annual trek to place UC students in the limelight.

Teaching Excellence

Earning praise for teaching is nothing new. In 2007, Erhardt received the McMicken College of Arts & Science Dean’s Award for Outstanding Performance by an Adjunct Faculty. (The economics major resided in UC’s Arts & Sciences building before moving to Lindner in 2011.) He also received the 2011-2012 UC’s Department of Athletics’ Legion of Excellence Student-Athlete Faculty Impact Award for his supportive relationship with student athletes. He’s also been recognized three times for his work with minority students in the Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program. In 2013, he received Lindner’s Outstanding Adjunct Award for teaching.

Erhardt deserves much of the credit for arousing student interest in economics, says Debashis Pal, the David Sinton Professor of Economics in the Lindner College of Business.

“Over the years, I have noticed that most of the economics majors came from Dr. Erhardt’s introductory economics classes,” Pal says.

Sally Amkoa, BA ’14, is among them. As an international student from Nairobi, Kenya, settling into the American education system was a great challenge, Amkoa says.

Erhardt made an impact. “He took special interest in the well-being of international students, Amkoa says. “He met with us after class, inquired about our progress and asked his upper-class students to tutor us. His class was always interesting and engaging and his assignments were based on the latest news. He always gave us an opportunity to share our opinions.”

After she took Micro and Macro Economics with Erhardt, “I was convinced that I wanted to become an economist.”