Professor Katherine Huger never thought she would end up in academia, but has now been teaching at Charleston Southern University for almost thirty years. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Mrs. Huger spent much of her early life in Pennsylvania, where she received her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College. Mrs. Huger went on to attend The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where she obtained her master's degree in International Economic Relations. After spending five years as a summer intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Mrs. Huger became the international economist for Bank of Boston, a large multinational bank. As a young, well-educated woman in a high position in the corporate world in a time before Title IX, Mrs. Huger was the exception rather than the rule. She did international research, served as the bank's major consultant, and even wrote speeches for the CEO of the bank.
Mrs. Huger thought she would live up north forever, but after meeting her husband she left Boston to come to Charleston. As much as she loved Boston, Mrs. Huger says that the adjustment really wasn't that hard: "Boston and Charleston are really the same. The hardest part was not working for a year." After she had been here for one year, however, Mrs. Huger obtained her first and only teaching position at CSU. She says she has remained here because "the environment is so special." Mrs. Huger is quick to point out that CSU affords the type of setting in which she can give individual focus and attention to her students. She also claims that friendships with colleagues add to the pleasant working environment.
In the classroom, Mrs. Huger uses small group discussion and problem solving sessions as tools for learning. In addition, she has students play computer games devised by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Perhaps Mrs. Huger's most exciting teaching tool is her use of experiments that are designed to test principles of economics. In one experiment, students eat donuts and drink Coca-Cola. Mrs. Huger's favorite experiment involves having students make paper airplanes and fly them as a model for the economic principle of the law of diminishing returns.
While Mrs. Huger gives the presence of strong, women role models in her family credit for her success, she attributes much of her teaching excellence to her students. "My students are wonderful people, and I always feel that I learn much from them." Mrs. Huger says that the most important thing she has learned from her students is that no matter how well she understands economics, students will always have a fresh perspective on what she is teaching them that allows her to see things in new ways and increases her ability to teach. Mrs. Huger's teaching excellence is summarized by her simple statement, that "learning and teaching go together."
Mrs. Huger loves the outdoors and is an active environmentalist. In her free time she loves to hike, canoe, and kayak. Her most recent passion is adventure travel. In the past five years, she has trekked in the Himalayas of Nepal, hiked the Copper Canyon in Mexico, and traveled to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
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