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New Prof Specializes in Natural Resource Economics

11/30/16

MCLA’s newest associate professor of economics, Dr. Chali Nondo, never planned to become a teacher. Originally from Zambia in southern Africa, he was a civil engineer. But it wasn’t until work as a field engineer led him to train contractors in construction management, when he realized how passionate he was about teaching and learning.

Although Zambia is endowed with abundant natural resources, it – like many developing countries – is marked with wide spread poverty and low levels of development, Nondo said.

For that reason, Nondo decided to enroll in a program that would develop his research and problem-solving skills so that he ultimately might address some of the issues that confront a number of countries, such as Zambia. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics from West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.V.

“The most intriguing thing about economics is its broad application base,” Nondo explained. “Interestingly, a myriad of problems in the world have an economic dimension. Therefore, I was interested in finding a Ph.D. program that emphasized the application of economic theory and quantitative modeling to addressing sustainable development problems.”

Although he has a wide range of teaching interests, Nondo is most concerned with teaching classes that address public policy issues. This includes environmental economics, which explores the intersection between the environment and economic activity. He’s also interested in natural resource economics, and applied classes that use mathematical modeling techniques to solve socio-economic problems.

At MCLA, Nondo, who teaches classes in macroeconomics, microeconomics, as well as statistics for business and economics, finds students to be both friendly and respectful.

“For most of my courses, students arrive five minutes before class,” he said. “This clearly shows their genuine interest to learn. They always seek help both in class and outside of class.”

In addition to class discussions, Nondo has had some “very fruitful” conversations with students about non-academic topics, which range from politics and culture to religion and sports. “The students are truly informed and engaged on a wide range of issues,” he said.

Nondo, who taught at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, before coming to MCLA, said he was attracted to the College because the campus emphasizes small classes.

“I wanted to develop close working relationships with the students,” he said. “By having small class sizes, I have had the opportunity to know the students at a personal level.”

He expects to best contribute to his field at MCLA by engaging his students in academic activities that will develop their critical, creative, analytical and problem-solving skills.

“It takes hard work to succeed,” Nondo said. “I want students to know that I believe in their ability to succeed; and therefore, they must develop a strong will to persevere while following their dreams.”