Dr. Puffert Offered Contract to Teach Next Year


NEW YORK– Economics Professor Dr. Douglas Puffert has been offered a contract for the 2012-2013 academic year, Interim Provost Calvin White says.

Puffert is now listed on the student portal as teaching Introduction to Economics, Microeconomics and History of Economic Thought for the fall 2012 semester.

White previously told Puffert that his teaching contract would not be renewed. The decision was considered final by both Puffert and White, but not by a number of students, especially upperclassmen, who did not want to see Puffert leave King's.

Student Body President Madison Peace helped organize 15-20 students and a handful of alumni to write letters to President Dinesh D'Souza petitioning for the renewal of Puffert's contract.

"... we think Dr. Puffert is an asset to the college," she said.

Every student must complete a review about each class and professor before viewing their final grades. Professors' ratings are used to evaluate each professor's teaching ability.

According to White, his own observations, deans' observations and student reviews "basically" equally determine a professor's rating. While student reviews influence decisions to dismiss faculty, White said they are only one factor.

Faculty dismissals involve the opinions of the provost, dean, provost's team, the AA Committee of the Board and President D'Souza.

According to Thatcher Scholar Crystal Plum ('13), White and Assistant Provost Matthew Parks announced at a Feb. 8 scholar meeting that they had decided not to renew Puffert's contract because of the number of negative student evaluations that have accumulated for Puffert's classes over the five years he has taught at King's. Plum says White and Parks also explained that they have tried to work with Puffert for the past few years to improve his teaching methods and the way he presents his lessons.

The Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) core curriculum attracted Puffert to King's in 2007. He has spoken internationally at academic conferences, including Korea, where he was a keynote speaker last year at a business and engineering conference. Before teaching at King's, Puffert taught at universities in the United States, England and Germany.

Puffert is a recognized scholar in the economic theory of "path dependence." His lastest book, Tracks Across Continents, Paths Through History, applies the theory to the standardization of railway gauges and is published by the University of Chicago Press.

This is a developing story. 




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