I love teaching economics. It has such profoundly important things to say about aspects of contemporary life that are directly relevant to our students.” C Rashaad Shabab
Senior Lecturer in Economics
Director of Student Experience in the University of Sussex Business School
‘I love teaching economics. It has such profoundly important things to say about aspects of contemporary life that’s directly relevant to our students – from debates around whether inequality is increasing or decreasing, to what happens to employment among the poorest when the minimum wage is raised.
When I taught a module called Introduction to Economics, I wanted the students to understand the world around them in a tangible way. I loved seeing them animated and energised by the experience, and I was hugely proud of subsequently receiving a student-led teaching award.
In the early stages of my teaching career, one of my colleagues was a great mentor. He taught me the value of ‘reflecting, not deflecting’. So that after every teaching session I would reflect on what went well and what went wrong – and how could I do it better.
I became Director of Student Experience in the University of Sussex Business School because I know how important it is for every student to be treated with dignity and respect, and to feel like they have something valuable to say. One of our University’s values is ‘kindness’, which I think is key to helping students learn.
I first came to Sussex as a Masters student, and I can truly say it was a transformative experience. I wasn’t in a healthy state at the time – I was overweight, and I had confidence and lifestyle issues. But my tutors – and the health service on campus – helped me both mentally and physically. My tutors were exceedingly patient with me, explaining things to me until I understood. That really helped me to excel.
I also started running on the glorious South Downs and Brighton seafront. I’ve continued this habit ever since and have become the first Bangladeshi to ever complete a 100-mile footrace. I’ve also run the entire South Downs Way 100-mile race to raise awareness about student mental health, and funds for mental health research at Sussex.
As an applied microeconomist, my research specialisms include household inequality, income risk, lifecycle theory and migration. There’s a narrative in higher education that you cannot be a good teacher and a star researcher, but I don’t see that at Sussex. My colleagues really are among the giants in their field for their research and their teaching is also impeccable. That’s how it should be.’