Dr. Conner Mullally, associate professor in Food and Resource Economics, was one of eight faculty throughout the UF/IFAS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recognized with the CALS Innovation in Teaching Award for 2022.
This award is unique in that, to be eligible, faculty members must be nominated by students in their classes without the faculty member’s prior knowledge of the nomination.
“It reassures me that they aren’t all bored to tears! More seriously, it feels great to be nominated by students. I value teaching recognition as much as I would any research award,” Mullally said.
At the undergraduate level, Mullally has taught classes in Agricultural Price Analysis and is currently teaching International Development Policy.
“Teaching makes me a better economist by forcing me to understand things well enough to explain them clearly,” Mullally said. “I also like the opportunity to share with students what I think is a great framework for thinking about the world – economic theory.
Mullally explained that thinking at the margin, constrained optimization, and opportunity cost are all ideas that can be broadly applied and serve students well regardless of their career path.
He describes his teaching style as relatable and engaging, asking questions that require students to dig deeper into the material and how it can be applied beyond memorization of facts.
In his graduate-level Applied Microeconometrics class, Mullally does so by incorporating a hands-on component where students are able to apply concepts learned in class to actual data.
“I would describe my style as approachable in that I try to explain things in a way that are clear without already having a graduate degree or strong economic intuition,” Mullally said.
To Mullally, the honor of this teaching award is made more profound based upon the fact that he was chosen for nomination by the students in his classes.
“My best memories all involve being recognized by students for making an impact on them, and this award now joins those memories.”