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Irene R. Foster Faculty Member


Professor Foster teaches large Principles of Economics to close to 1,000 freshmen each year. In 2013, the student newspaper The GW Hatchet listed her among the “Top Five Intro Professors You Should Take”’ in its annual guide for first year students. She is the recipient of the 2010-2011 Professor of the Year Award given by the GW Athletic Department, the 2012 university-wide Service Excellence Collaborative Initiative Award, the 2015 university-wide Morton A. Bender Teaching Award and the 2016 Columbian College of Arts & Sciences’ Robert W. Kenny Prize for Innovation in Teaching of an Introductory Course. She was a nominee the Honey Nashman Spark a Life Award for Faculty Member of the Year for 2013-2014. In May 2014, she was selected by students to be faculty speaker at the CCAS Social Sciences Graduation Celebration. In 2015, she was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. In 2016, she was the winner of the Robert W. Kenny Prize for Innovation in the Teaching of Introductory Courses. In 2018, she won the Student-Athlete Professor of the Year Award. She was also chosen as Best Professor by the GW Hatchet's Best of the Northwest 2018. Professor Foster takes great pride in mentoring and training graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). In recent years, four of her GTAs have been nominated for the university-wide Phillip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Award and three of them have won it. Professor Foster also enjoys mentoring undergraduates and encouraging them to work on research. She is a mentor for two students who won the Luther Rice Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2014 as well as a student who won the GW Undergraduate Research Award in 2015. Professor Foster’s own research is in the area of economic education – on what enables students to better learn economics. She works on formative assessment of math ability and the assessment of student learning. She is particularly interested in access and success for at-risk students. She is a member of the Data-Based Education Research group at GW—a group of STEM faculty engaged in education research—and has received several institutional grants for research. Prof. Foster currently serves as Director for Inclusive Excellence in the economics department. In this role, she is working with her colleagues to understand how to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for all students, staff and faculty in the department. Given that economics is an evidence-based subject, a large part of this endeavor will involve the collection and analysis of data to track the department's performance in this regard. Prof. Foster is co-Chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Educational Policy and Technology. In AY 2017-2018, Prof. Foster served on the Board of Trustees Task Force on the Student Experience. She has served on the Steering Committee of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and on the Faculty Advisory and Support Team (FAST) of the University Teaching and Learning Center. She has served on College Board's Social Sciences Academic Advisory Committee and is Chairperson of ETS Princeton’s CLEP Economics Committee. She has served as a reviewer for McGraw-Hill Publishing, Pearson Publishing, Sapling Learning, and Macmillan Higher Education, as well as on the Faculty Advisory Board for Macmillan Publishing. She has been a consultant on math preparation for economics for McGraw-Hill Publishing and is currently an Ambassador for the Top Hat Active Learning Platform.

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