If anyone has a true love for economics, it’s Rod Raehsler. He has invested the past 23 years of his life at Clarion University to spread his enthusiasm and knowledge of economics to his students.
Originally from River Falls, Wisconsin, he began his educational journey by attending The University of Wisconsin for his undergraduate degree, where he triple-majored in mathematics, economics and biology. Ironically, the economics wiz wasn’t aware until his junior year of undergrad that his passion wasn’t in math and biology, but in another field.
“[Economics] wasn’t really something I thought about initially, but later as an undergraduate,” said Raehsler.
Once he received his bachelor’s degree, Raehsler went on to the University of Nebraska, where he obtained his first master’s degree before transferring to Brown University for his second.
Finishing up his education, he received his doctorate at The University of Iowa.
Fortunately, being from Wisconsin, Raehsler wasn’t shocked by the Clarion weather, and he spoke fondly of his experiences working at the university. “I’ve had a chance in the past to go to other schools…but I really enjoy teaching here and it’s a wonderful place,” he said.
As department chair, honors director, and distinguished faculty advisor for Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honor society in economics, it’s clear that Raehsler has plenty of work to do at Clarion.
However, Raehsler doesn’t teach as many courses as he used to.
“When I first came here I did a full load of four each semester,” he said.
Since 2014, when he was appointed honors director, Raehsler said, “I don’t teach as many courses as I’d like, so normally I do one or two classes each semester.”
Although he teaches fewer classes, Raehsler is involved with the economics program and is always working to help his students.
“The students are really what make it. Probably the greatest joy is when you’re trying to present something that’s very difficult for students and you see them struggle with it and start to understand it,” said Raehsler.
As a professor, he said he is sensitive to the fact that economics doesn’t always come easily to some students, so he said his goal when teaching is, “If I can have students have an appreciation for what economics does and how it relates to other fields, then that’s an accomplishment.”
He said he enjoys watching his students grow.
“When you see success, then it makes all the work you put into it worth it.”
His love for economics runs so deep that when asked what he does in his free time, Raehsler answered, “The honor’s program is really my job but also my hobby. If I can show [students] ways to succeed and do more research that they like, then that’s something that I enjoy.”
Besides economics, Raehsler loves spending time watching his son run in his high school track and cross-country meets. Although at the moment his son may not be as interested in economics as he is, Raehsler said he is extremely proud of him and his many accomplishments, including his participation in the state track and cross-country meets.
Raehsler said he also enjoys traveling outside his home in Clarion and venturing to Pittsburgh.
Whether it’s working with students, developing programs and curricula, or promoting research, it’s safe to say that Raehsler knows all there is to about economics, and has an obvious passion for teaching something he loves.