David J. Plante, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Originally from New Hampshire, David Plante, Ph.D., has been at Western since 1997.
Currently, he teaches Macroeconomics; Intermediate Macroeconomics; International Economics and Globalization; Money, Banking and Financial Markets; American Capitalism and Democracy (co-taught with William Niemi); and a special topics course, Contemporary Economic Issues. Recently, he has also taught special topics courses in Poverty and World Development and Economic Development and Sustainability.
How did you discover Western?
I came to the Gunnison Valley while in graduate school at Utah to visit two of my friends who were teaching at Western. They showed me around the campus, introduced me to some great people, and we went Nordic skiing at Cottonwood Pass and out at Cimarron. I was hooked and vowed to apply for the first opening that came available. That happened a year later.
What are some of the highlights of your career?
Since arriving at Western, I have been able to engage in a fascinating dialogue between economics and other disciplines in a way that I think would have been more difficult at a much larger university. This has led to cross-disciplinary publications and conference papers in the areas of economics, political science, history, American studies, literature and management. This has helped me contextualize and extend the boundaries and methodologies of my discipline and made me a more effective teacher.
In addition, the major accomplishment of my two decades at Western has been the phenomenal success of my students in graduate school, industry and government. I hear from my graduates regularly, and they are doing things they want to be doing and doing well at it.
What most excites you about your field?
Economics, taught well, simply provides a framework and approach that make the world more comprehensible. From financial crises to pharmaceutical prices to inequality to famine to development, the discipline can help make sense of existing relationships and provide possible paths for improvement. At its best, the discipline calls for integration of theoretical modeling and empirical data and develops formidable analytical skills in students that are applicable to almost any professional job category or research focus.
What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?
The opportunities for outdoor adventure are limitless in the county. You can snowshoe out your door onto BLM land and come across a herd of elk in the winter or go for a four-hour ride on some of the world’s best mountain biking trails in the summer and encounter only a couple of other riders. It is amazing.