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May 23, 2006 > Cal State East Bay Professor of the Year

Cal State East Bay Professor of the Year

by Donna Hemmila

Economics professor Jane Lopus left the high school classroom nearly 27 years ago, but her contributions to teacher training have gained international attention and influenced the education of thousands of high school students.

The efforts of the Berkeley resident to promote economics education are, in part, responsible for bringing Lopus the George and Miriam Phillips Award as Cal State East Bay's "Outstanding Professor" for 2005-2006.

The annual distinction is awarded though the university's Academic Senate and given to a professor who demonstrates superior teaching, research and academic service.

"Cal State East Bay has been such a big part of my life for so long, I can't think of a higher honor," said Lopus, who earned both a master's in economics and education at Cal State East Bay and has taught in the College of Business and Economics since 1979.

As director of Cal State East Bay's Center for Economic Education, Lopus has designed curriculum and teacher training materials aimed at exciting young people about economic theory and its real life applications.

With a specialty in comparative economics, Lopus also serves on the elite faculty of the National Council on Economic Education and has trained teachers in ten former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.

Emeritus economics professor Alexander Cassuto, who hired Lopus as a lecturer when he chaired the economics department, described her as "the epitome of the multifaceted academic."

"The most exciting part for me has been her work in the former Iron Curtain countries; teaching teachers and teacher trainers has made Jane a crucial part of the future economic development of the countries involved in economic education," he said in a letter supporting Lopus' nomination as the outstanding professor. "What greater satisfaction can an academic have than to make a real difference in the quality of life?"

When she arrived on campus as a student in 1974, Lopus said, she never imagined all these years later she'd be an economics professor here.

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