Chalmers strongly believes that students should have a concern for and an awareness
of how others' actions can affect their lives. “I want my students to
be conscientious consumers within the market economy,” Chalmers says.
“To do that, they need to consider not just how their actions affect them,
but also how those actions affect other people.”
The new Sacramento State professor of economics says this requires a classroom
atmosphere that promotes the sharing of personal experience while simultaneously
challenging students to connect those experiences with the topic at hand.
“For example, when we discuss obesity in class, we consider how a person
chooses to eat can have additional effects for society, in the form of higher
health insurance premiums, in addition to how those consumption choices affect
the individual,” she says.
Chalmers earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature and economics
at Texas Christian University. From Texas she traveled to Washington, D.C. where
she worked as a legislative correspondent in the Congress before deciding to
attend graduate school. From Capitol Hill Chalmers headed back west to Colorado
where she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in economics at Colorado
State University. She was an assistant professor of economics at Bowling Green
State University before joining Sacramento State.
Her areas of expertise are public finance, welfare economics and economic development.
She has studied how communities evaluate local economic development and model
how they might be affected by various development programs or fiscal policy
She says she is excited about her work at Sacramento State. “This spring,
I am having my Principles of Microeconomics class read a book that traces the
travels of a t-shirt through the global economy so that my students will have
a better understanding of how the consumption of a seemingly simple good can
have incredibly diverse effects on everyone from American cotton farmers to
Chinese garment workers.”
Chalmers’ students have learned she is tolerant of alternative perspectives
but impatient when students are not prepared. The new professor admits she is
somewhat demanding in that students are required to complete numerous essays,
exams, problem sets and texts. However, she believes students have a reciprocal
right to be demanding of her time, especially outside of the classroom. She
wants students to leave her classroom with a broader understanding not only
of economics but also of themselves and others.
California State University, Sacramento Public
6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 (916) 278-6156