Professor Barbara J. Phipps, Ph.D.

School of Education - Curriculum & Teaching
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
Room 309
University of Kansas
1122 West Campus Rd
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101
Second office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
Room 110G


Barbara Phipps, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Curriculum & Teaching and Director of the Center for Economic Education at the University of Kansas. She holds graduate degrees in microeconomics and family economics. She teaches economics concepts and teaching methods to educators and teacher education students. She has worked extensively in economics education in the United States and Eastern Europe, teaching economics and pedagogy to educators and conducting research in both the U.S. and Eastern Europe. She has received several grants for and has developed and conducted economics programs for urban high school youth, on technology development in economic education, and on integrating economics into other social sciences and the humanities. She is an affiliated faculty member of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the European Studies programs at KU and a member of the Executive Committee of the European Studies Program. Her current research interests include children's learning of economic concepts and economic education in transitional economies. Professor Phipps has been involved in KU Faculty Governance, serving as President of the Faculty Senate and the Board of Regents Council of Faculty Senate Presidents in 2010-11.

Barbara Phipps specializes in economics education.


Teaching Philosophy

My philosophy of college teaching has evolved throughout my years of practical experience. I began my experience doing what college faculty are often criticized for doing, "teaching as I was taught". I was an eager learner and assumed my students would be similar. All that would be required of me would be to organize the course content, assign readings, and lecture the students on the content, and they would understand! The first few exams I gave forced me to begin reformulating this "philosophy". Today, two principles guide my teaching: (1) organize the learning experience to assist students in relating the subject with their prior learning and life events, and (2) require students to be actively involved in the learning process. My teaching philosophy might be summarized as follows:

Learning is primarily the responsibility of the learner. The instructor has four major roles in the educational environment: (1) to assist learners in organizing learning experiences; (2) to work with students to set standards for achievement; (3) to serve as one source of information on the content to be learned; and (4) to guide students in developing and using critical thinking and problem solving strategies to construct meaning from a variety of educational experiences and information sources.

In keeping with my philosophy, I practice a method of teaching based on constructivist learning theory. That is, I provide a framework and background, but expect the student to construct meaning from the course or classroom experience. I view my role as guiding the student toward meaning and understanding through critical thinking and problem solving. I expect that students will seek the answers to their questions. I attempt to start their thinking processes through reflective responses, rather than direct answers, to their questions. The discipline of economics provides an ideal foundation for my teaching philosophy. Economics has been called the science of decision-making. Its conceptual framework develops from the problems involved in allocation of scarce resources. Problem solving is inherent in the discipline. There are many issues of modern society to which students can apply economic principles and concepts to analyze and derive their own answers or potential solutions. As an instructor, I can best embody my teaching philosophy by continuing my own quest for learning and by serving as an enthusiastic mentor in my students' pursuit of learning.

Teaching Interests

  • Economics for educators
  • Instructional methods and strategies
  • Applied research for educators


Research Interests

  • Children's learning of economic concepts
  • Economic education in transitional economies

Selected Publications

West, S. Banerjee, M. Friedline, T. & Phipps, B. J. (in press). Coming up short: Family composition, income, and household savings. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, in press.

Bushati, D. & Phipps, B. J. (2013). Teacher training and economics understanding of Albanian high school students. International Review of Economic Education, 14(September), 46-56.

Phipps, B. J., Strom, R. J., & Baumol, W. J. (2012). Economics without the Prince of Denmark: The entrepreneur in introductory economics. Journal of Economic Education, 43(1), 58-71.

Bushati, D. B., & Phipps, B. J. (2010). Attitudes of economic educators toward markets in Eastern Europe & the former Soviet Union by reform status of the educator's country. Journal of Economics & Economic Education Research, 11(3), 47-60.

Channell, G. Flowers, B. Hopkins, M. Phipps, B. J., & Shearer, D. (2007). Focus: Grades K-2 Economics, New York, NY: National Council on Economic Education.

Phipps, B. J., Vredeveld, G. & Voikova, A. (2002). Economic Education Reform in Bulgaria: Some Positive Steps Toward Expanding the Economic Knowledge of Bulgarian Students. In M. Watts & W. Walstad (Eds.), Reforming Economics and Economics Teaching in the Transition Economies: From Marx to Markets in the Classroom. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Selected Presentations

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