It comes as no surprise each fall when University Hall's IBM-produced statistics reveal that Economics 1 is the largest course in the University. Economic man, living in an economic society, wants to know what is happening around him--and perhaps hopes to gain a few hints on how to increase his future income. Over a period of years Economics 1 has evolved to meet this desire for increased emphasis on economic practice rather than theory. Originally, the department set up Social Science 115 to scope with the demand for a course oriented to the non-concentrator but Ec 1 has moved closer and closer and closer to Soc Sci 115 until they are so similar that the department will probably permanently cease giving the general education course.
There is, however, a need for some further changes by the department. Ec 1 at present fails to utilize a valuable resource--mathematical background--that many of its students possess. Of fundamental importance in many fields of higher economics, mathematics can be successfully utilized at the elementary levels also. The department should set up special section within Ec 1 for those students with preparation in math.
Such sections would serve a twofold purpose. Those able to cope with the math involved would no longer be forced to waste their time in section while instructors laboriously avoid math in their explanations of economics Phenomena or expound mathematical fundamentals. Time saved by the use of math could be spent on other phases of the course. In addition, such sections would tend to be more theoretical, thus avoiding an alternative approach to the subject for those interested.
The Economics Department's commitment to General Education should not completely overbalance its obligation to Potential concentrators and others interested in the technical side of its field. The department should satisfy the needs of both groups by providing for the theoretically inclined and mathematically prepared minority within the framework of Economics 1's present section systems.