Teaching Philosophy

Everyone has something to learn from economics. Economics influences lives at every level, from entire countries’ international trade policies down to individuals’ daily decisions on which transportation to take to work. I believe that teaching economics is not about sophisticated mathematically derivations, memorizing numbers and facts, or knowing economic jargon. Economics, essentially, is a way of thinking, and, in my classes, I teach my students to see the world from the lens of economics.

In my time at Purdue University, I have been the primary instructor of International Trade for two semesters, Microeconomics for one semester, and one recitation section for Principles of Economics. I have been awarded the highest teaching recognition in my department, the Distinguished Teaching Award of Krannert, twice for my work teaching International Trade. In addition, I have served as teaching assistant for a wide variety of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including macroeconomics, labor economics, and computational courses. Across the courses I have taught, I have received high evaluation scores, which I believe stem from the three principles that guide my work as a teacher: fostering critical thinking, adapting to student needs, and providing constant feedback.

Teaching Evaluations

Teaching Experience

Course Instructor

  • Econ 370 International Trade (Undergrad)………. Summer 2021, Summer 2020
  • Econ 251 Microeconomics (Undergrad)………. Summer 2018

Recitation Instructor

  • Econ 210 Principles of Economics (Undergrad)……….Spring 2017

Teaching Assistant

  • Econ 590 Wage Discrimination (Master)……….Fall 2020
  • Econ 485 Economics of Race and Gender Discrimination (Undergrad)……….Fall 2020
  • Econ 370 International Trade (Undergrad)……….Spring 2020, Spring 2019, Spring 2018
  • Econ 590 International Economics (Master)……….Summer 2019
  • Econ 466 International Economics (Undergrad)……….Spring 2019
  • Econ 615 Mathematical Analysis for Economists (Ph.D.)……….Fall 2017
  • Econ 606 Microeconomic Theory (Ph.D.)……….Fall 2017
  • Econ 590 Computing for Analytics (Master)……….Summer 2017
  • Econ 512 Intermediate Economics II: Macroeconomics (Master)……….Spring 2017
  • Econ 340 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory (Undergrad)……….Fall 2016
  • Econ 252 Macroeconomics (Undergrad)……….Fall 2016

Selected Student Feedback

  • “The feedback from the instructor is pretty helpful because I can understand why I was wrong and fix it.”
  • “Very organized, very to the point.”
  • “Explain everything and hold frequent office hours.”
  • “I like how the homework was tied to the video lectures and helped understanding.”
  • “I think that the way the class is structured for the summer works very well, it moves quickly but it is divided in a way that makes it manageable.”
  • “Dr. Zhang has created a very organized class where the material is easy to follow and enough supplemental material has been provided to understand the material. I appreciate the effort she has put in her videos as well as her clear willingness to help students learn and understand the material. Thanks Dr. Zhang!”
  • “The explanation of graphs is always very thorough, which I really appreciate.”
  • “With online classes, errors are bound to occur, and I appreciate Danyang being considerate of these unforeseen errors and accommodating students to help us succeed in the class.”
  • “Instructor dives deep into the calculations and this helps grasp a deeper understanding of material.”
  • “Your explanations are great and thorough.”
  • “I really liked the quiz format and the amount of communication that the instructor had with the class.”
  • “The explanations on the whiteboard were very useful. It made more sense to see how the curves moved on the graphs as you were drawing them, rather than just studying them from the slides.”
  • “The instructor, Danyang Zhang, has been very responsive to all my questions and concerns about the class. Even though this class is asynchronous, I get the sense that Danyang wants to engage with students. The material is well organized in Brightspace and it is easy to navigate through the materials. Danyang has been very kind and encouraging in all email correspondences and I get the sense that she wants to see students succeed in the course.”
  • “Professor Zhang does a great job at working through problems and explaining hard material. She is very thorough with her lectures, which is super helpful!”
  • “The instructor was very good at being reasonable with grading. If a question had too much room for grey area (and the explanation of the grey area was explained by the student), they were still given the point.”
  • “The videos explained the material very well and actually made the material seem quite interesting. The quizzes and homework seemed somewhat easy if you paid attention to the videos. I really appreciated how Prof. Zhang took the time to explain each question that was commonly missed on the homework, it showed she cares that we actually know the material. Overall, I thought Prof. Zhang was an excellent instructor and I am happy I took this class.”