|Appleyard Retires from Long, Rare Teaching Career at University and Liberal Arts College Level
May 26, 2010
Contact: Bill Giduz
|Appleyard's lecturers were richly illustrated with graphs and notes on the white board.
Dennis Appleyard has had the great fortune and unusual opportunity to teach at both a large research university and a small liberal arts college.
But it's Davidson's good fortune that he dedicated such a large part of his academic life to teaching undergraduates on this campus.
"I can't think of a better career than to have half at Chapel Hill and half here," he said. "From the day I arrived at Davidson I was flabbergasted at how devoted the faculty is to teaching, and how much students are inquisitive and eager to learn," he said.
Both institutions met the needs of this international economist, who is retiring this year. His stint at UNC Chapel Hill from 1966 to 1989 provided resources and collegial expertise for his co-authored McGraw Hill textbook, International Economics. First issued in 1992, the challenging book is now in its seventh edition. One of Appleyard's retirement projects is to tackle an eighth edition for publication in 2012.
He became familiar with Davidson during his tenure at Chapel Hill, and for several years served as an external examiner of Davidson's economics department. When he received a two-year leave from Chapel Hill in 1990, he was invited to accept an 18-month teaching appointment here, and ultimately signed on full-time as James B. Duke Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics.
The textbook is just one example of Appleyard's distinguished record of scholarship. He has written book reviews and many articles in leading journals like the American Economic Review, the Southern Economic Journal, and the Journal of International Economics. He co-authored a monograph about the UNC economics department, and wrote one on agricultural production systems and policy in Pakistan. He has also been vice president of the Southern Economic Association and an associate editor of the Southern Economic Journal.
Appleyard has taught courses at Davidson in principles of economics, international trade and macroeconomics through cycles of economic boom and bust. But he points out that there is a big difference between economic theory and pocketbook finances. "If your goal is to get rich, you go to business school and learn finance," he noted. "The study of economics teaches you about broad market forces, but not about how to run a business."
Appleyard insists the current economic recession came from the bad practices of financiers, rather than mistaken theoretical understanding of markets. However, he acknowledges that theorists should pay more attention to finance. "Capital moves around the entire globe at a pace of a couple trillion dollars a day now," he said. "It's scary if you don't understand it, and it's tough for even economists to keep up with changes in theory and practice. Ordinary people feel helpless in the face of it all, and economists need to do a better job of educating them."
Dennis Appleyard grew up as a thoroughly identical twin with brother David in South Haven, Mich. He and his brother were almost indistinguishable to teachers, and not even their mother could distinguish their voices on the phone. It was an interesting and amusing experience, but he and David chose not to enroll at the same college because they were tired of being labeled "the Appleyard twins" rather than recognized as individuals. Dennis attended Ohio Wesleyan, where he met his late wife, Gwen, when his brother was visiting and she was David's blind date. Dennis and Gwen married in 1962, as he began graduate studies at the University of Michigan. David also went on to become a college teacher, retiring two years ago from a long career in the math department at Carleton College.
Dennis settled on international economics during graduate school, and has been involved primarily in South Asia as a scholar and traveler ever since. His dissertation concerned terms of trade and economic development in India. In 1985 during a sabbatical he traveled to Pakistan to conduct research about pricing of agricultural products on behalf of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization.
At Davidson he got acquainted with Professor of History Job Thomas, and was delighted to accompany a semester in India program that Thomas led. Appleyard served as a guest lecturer in economics at the program's home base at Madras Christian College. He became so comfortable and appreciative of India's diverse culture that in 1996, 2000 and 2008 he led students on the India program by himself.
His dedication to international education was also manifest in his service as chair of the college's international education committee for 10 years, and by his steadfast involvement with the Dean Rusk International Studies Program.
|Appleyard received teaching awards at both UNC and at Davidson for his dedication in class and outside class to helping students learn economics.
Appleyard's honest, intelligent and reasoned approach to community matters led colleagues to trust him in administrative service. He was once on seven committees simultaneously, and also served as department chair for seven years.
He has the distinction of winning teaching awards at two campuses. He received Carolina's Tanner Award for excellence in inspirational teaching of undergraduates in 1983. And Davidson recognized him for similar qualities as recipient of the 2004 Thomas Jefferson Award.
In addition to being a favorite of students in the classroom for his humor and fair treatment, Appleyard is widely recognized as the baritone voice in The Four Coursemen barbershop quartet. This group of dulcet-voiced faculty members was formed by colleagues in the Davidson College Presbyterian Church choir, and has conducted benefit performances throughout town and gown for the past 19 years. They demonstrate their support for Wildcat athletics with an effort to deliver the National Anthem once each season for each of Davidson's 21 varsity teams.
Appleyard believes working with students has kept him young. Though at age 70 he still enjoys teaching, the evenings and weekends in the office have become monotonous. Trying to keep up with developments in his field through newspapers and journal articles is a never-completed task that can't help but become discouraging. "One of the things I look forward to in retirement is having time to sit down and thoroughly study a journal rather than rushing through it," he said.
Suggestions from his three children (and five grandchildren) that he might not want to work for the rest of his life also helped convince him that 44 years is about enough. He hopes to enjoy his good health by traveling, sailing, and playing tennis and golf.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.