Title: Does pluralism matter? Examining students' experiences of undergraduate economics curriculum in relation to the mission of the university

Authors: Inbal Marcovitch

Addresses: Ottawa, Canada

Abstract: Critiques of the mainstream economics curriculum raise two keys concerns: 1) the limited opportunities for students to engage with and expand their critical thinking skills and democratic values; 2) the possibility that students will develop a narrow understanding of economics which could limit innovation in the area of economic theory, methodology and policy. Using an in-depth interviews methodology, the paper explores aspects of these critiques through the experiences of undergraduate students in an economics program in an urban university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The exclusion of alternative economics theories does not prevent students from developing critical thinking skills. However, findings show that students exposed to various theoretical perspectives were able to better communicate about differences and theoretical limitations. A pluralistic approach to the curriculum, which includes a critical examination of various economic theories, methodologies, their historical origins, and interdisciplinary linkages, can provide opportunities to enhance students learning and outcomes.

Keywords: pluralism; economics education; heterodox economics; teaching; student experience; democracy; liberal arts education; Canada; undergraduate curriculum; university mission; higher education; critical thinking.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPEE.2016.080303

International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2016 Vol.7 No.4, pp.394 - 412

Received: 23 Jun 2015
Accepted: 04 Apr 2016

Published online: 11 Nov 2016 *

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