Professor Spotlight: Scott McConnell, Ph.D.

Written by Caden Hicks

Eastern Oregon University Professor of Economics 

Professor McConnel
Photo courtesy of Eastern Oregon University

Professor McConnell completed his undergrad in Economics at Portland State University and went on to finish his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2013. His first job as a professor was at Augustana College, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for one year. He then got a job at Eastern Oregon University in 2012. His brewery, “Side A”, has been a staple in La Grande, connecting people within the community over delicious food and craft brews. Once inside, one can’t help but feel a precise balance between a modern brewery that retains an asthetic and historical presence of La Grande. Professor McConnell uses his background in economics and finance to successfully run a business that so many people have come to love. He can be seen as a true example of what it means to use academic knowledge in a real-world application. When Professor McConnell is not in the classroom he enjoys sports, fly fishing, music, and motorcycles.

For the Spring 2022 Quarter, Professor McConnell is teaching: Macroeconomics 202, Economics of Social Issues 115, and Economics of Financial Markets 318. The aspect he enjoys most about being a professor is seeing the impact he has on the growth and success of his students. His theory of teaching is to keep the bar high by challenging his students into reaching their full potential. Professor McConnell allows his students to find deeper meaning within their economic reasoning through integrated class discussions. He wants students to understand that the principles of economics cannot be learned through just textbooks, but rather through the world around us.

 Professor McConnell has completed research on unemployment and the historical view of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) created by President Roosevelt in 1935. The (WPA) was a Federal infrastructure work program that employed millions of Americans. He calculated the cost of the WPA program and compared it relative to today’s dollars, which would cost an astronomical amount of money in a modern economy. This research incorporates the Civilian Conservation Corps, an extension of the Federal (WPA) program. The Civilian Conservation Corps were responsible for doing many jobs that are relevant for the Eastern Oregon region, including clearing logging roads and building much of what is now Anthony Lakes Ski resort. Professor McConnell’s other research efforts include the Micronesian Island of Yap, focusing on a study of their currency which is comprised of Rai Stone money. 

In Professor McConnell’s latest research he has partnered with his colleague and Professor of Economics, Peter Maille to create the Eastern Oregon Center for Economic Information. Together they have been working with economic students through the EOU Rural Engagement and Vitality Center to measure the impact of forest service scenarios, measuring their economic impact by County. Professor McConnell and Professor Maille’s research can be utalized by Oregon policymakers to make adequate forestland decisions for the Eastern Oregon region. Through teaching, research, and running a business, Professor McConnell continues to be a positive influence on the Eastern Oregon University community.

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