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Economics-Finance Faculty

Scott Sumner, Economics Professor, Bentley UniversityScott Sumner
Professor, Economics

What do you teach?
I’ve taught many different classes over the past 30 years, but most often I teach Principles of Economics or Monetary Economics. During the past few years I have focused on monetary economics, partly because I’ve become very interested in the financial crisis and recession. It’s the capstone course for our Economics–Finance major.

Why do like teaching at Bentley?
What I enjoy most is interacting with students, whether it’s during a classroom discussion or in my office to discuss current events. Bentley has much smaller classes than many larger universities, which makes it easier to get to know students.

Beyond the classroom, I enjoy the opportunities Bentley gives me to be involved in public policy issues. Economics is much more interesting if you can see links to the real world.

What is your teaching style?
I want students to do more than memorize material; I’d like to see them absorb monetary theory at an intuitive level. This involves a lot of simple but provocative examples involving analogies and metaphors. For example, when I talk about how the Federal Reserve creates money, I might ask the class why counterfeiting is illegal. We all know intuitively that it is wrong, but who exactly are the victims? Sometimes thinking about seemingly off-the-wall examples can give us insights into a topic like the impact of an increase in the money supply on the economy.

What advice would you offer a new Bentley student?
View education as an adventure, not a chore. What you get out of an education is related to what you put into it — and I mean more than just grades. If you are going to devote four years of your life to college, why not view it as a chance to explore the world of ideas?