Professor Westphal makes a sudden departure but Microeconomics continues smoothly

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Last Tuesday, Professor Larry Westphal of the Economics Department announced to his Intermediate Microeconomics class in the middle of his lecture that he needed to stop teaching. He had become suddenly ill and needed to take what Professor John Caskey, Chair of the Economics Department, described as “a break from teaching for medical reasons.”

Westphal’s Microeconomics students were shocked by the announcement, but made a smooth transition with the help of Professor Ellen Magenheim, who “was willing to interrupt her sabbatical to take over Professor Westphal’s class.” Caskey explained that “she has taught it several times in the past and she worked closely with Professor Westphal to ensure that the transition would be smooth.” Matthew Tilghman ’09, currently a student in Microeconomics, agreed that the transition had been “very smooth… Professor Magenheim came on Thursday and gave an excellent lecture on monopoly.”

Caskey said that because “we cannot be certain how quickly Professor Westphal will recover,” his courses for the spring semester have been canceled. If he recovers before the start of next semester, “we hope to add at least one of them back. It is less disruptive to students to make a last-minute addition than it is to make a last-minute cancellation.”

Students whose plans have been disrupted by the cancellation of Westphal’s courses might want to know that, according to Caskey, “Leonard Nakamura, a Swarthmore graduate with a PhD in Economics from Princeton who works in the Research Department at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, will return next semester to teach ‘Creativity and the Economy.’ He taught this same course here three or four years ago. It was very well liked by the students who took it.”

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