Areas to Explore


Videos and articles on teaching undergraduate economics. [explore]

Personal Finance

Resources and projects relating to adult personal financial literacy. [explore]


An assortment of other things. [explore]

Teaching Economics


Check out my YouTube channel. Most of the videos are for intermediate microeconomics (e.g., constrained optimization) but there are a few others.

K-12 teacher economic education

Through the Colorado Council for Economic Education, I facilitate professional development workshops and courses for K-12 teachers. Topics have included:

  • Making Sense of Economics in the News
  • Economic Indicators
  • Money & Banking
  • Macroeconomic Basics
  • Exchange Rates
  • International Trade
  • Health Economics
  • Externalities & Public Goods
  • Understanding Economics


2016. Sauer, K.M. Don’t Flip Out: Inverting the Intermediate Microeconomics Classroom. in Best Practices for Flipping the College Classroom. J.B. Waldrop and M.A. Bowden Eds. Routledge.

  • A case study of flipped learning in an intermediate microeconomics course. Includes context, methods, evaluation, lessons learned, and cautions.

2015. Burdina, M. and K.M. Sauer. Teaching Economic Principles with Analogies. International Review of Economics Education 20: 29 - 36.

  • According to the generative theory of learning, people understand new concepts by idiosyncratically relating them to prior experiences and prior stored information. This paper describes a practical strategy for using the generative learning teaching technique of analogies to help instructors assess whether students are correctly integrating new learning within the context of their prior experience. Insights from a piloting of the technique are discussed, including student perceptions.

2015. Calimeris, L. and K.M. Sauer. Flipping out about The Flip: All Hype or Is There Hope? International Review of Economics Education 20: 13-28.

  • The flipped classroom was founded on student-centered pedagogy, with the idea that students retain more information by using active learning techniques during class compared to sitting in a lecture-based course. We implement a randomized experiment to quantify the effect of flipping on the learning outcomes of economics students. We compare standardized exam scores of students who experienced a flipped classroom to those who experienced a traditional classroom in principles of microeconomics courses. OLS regression results show that, following a negative adjustment period, students who experienced the flipped classroom scored significantly higher on midterm and final exams than did the control group. The magnitude of these effects suggests improvements in the students’ scores of a lower bound of two-thirds to an entire a letter grade.

2015. Sauer, K.M. and L. Calimeris. The Syllabus Evolved: Extended Graphic Syllabi for Economics Courses. Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research 16(1): 135-148.

  • An extended graphic syllabus is an artifact that contains limited jargon within a visual representation of a traditional course outline (i.e. a classic graphic syllabus) and incorporates visual elements into other parts of the traditional syllabus (e.g. course policies, assessments) in order to hold and focus the students’ attention on the document. Its purpose is to give students a sense of the course’s “big picture”, to make their initial encounter with the course topics more meaningful, and to induce them to actually read and reference the syllabus throughout the semester. In addition to providing rationale for using extended graphic syllabi, this paper provides examples of classic graphic syllabi for several economics courses, describes how to create them, and offers examples of elements of extended graphic syllabi.

2013. Sauer, K.M. and W. Mertens. The Test Assessment Questionnaire: A Tool for Student Self-Assessment After the Midterm Exam. Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research 14(2): 93-100.

  • This paper introduces instructors to a practical tool, the Test Assessment Questionnaire, which helps students critically evaluate their course progress after the midterm exam. This tool has two benefits: it guides students toward more self-awareness in their studies and it can be used as a part of assessment and assurance of learning efforts. Additionally, it requires minimal class time to implement and virtually no work burden on the part of the instructor. This tool has been piloted and refined in the principles of economics courses. It is recommended for exams with multiple choice questions, true/false questions, and mathematical problems.

2012. Sauer, K.M. Using arts-based learning to help students learn graphs. Unpublished manuscript.

  • Students in Principles of Microeconomics often struggle with the graphs presented during the course. This article describes an arts-based learning technique used to help students better understand graphs. Students view artistic representations of economic graphs, discuss what they see, and try to identify the general type of graph being depicted. The artistic works used in this technique are original pieces created by the author and are made available to other instructors for classroom use.

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Personal Financial Literacy


2017. The Financial Transition from Student to Employee: Implications for Higher Education and Employers. COHEAO.

2010. Valentine, G.P., K.M. Sauer, and D.P. Sevastianova. The Status of Post-Secondary Personal Finance Courses. NABTE Review 37: 34-39.

Making the financial transition from graduate student to faculty member

View the entire series of videos or skip to one of the following sections:

  1. Intro
  2. Factors that influence your salary as a faculty
  3. Other areas to negotiate
  4. Benefits Packages
  5. Your Net Paycheck
  6. Cost of Living Comparison
  7. Making the Transition

the Business Case for workplace financial education

I delivered framing remarks for a panel discussion at the Financial Literacy and Education Commission field hearing in Atlanta, GA. I focused on three reasons for why it makes sense for employers to care about workplace financial education: it reduces presenteeism, has implications for workforce management, and it positions employers for the impending demographic shift in the workforce.

  • Watch the video of the remarks (I start at 35:00, the Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary, the Assistant Labor Secretary, and the Director of the CFPB are on before me).
  • Download a pdf of the remarks.
  • Read a blog post from the CFBP regarding the event.
  • Read the official report where my remarks are referenced (page 50).

Paying off Student Loans Early vs Saving for Retirement

Here's a basic calculator that helps you compare the benefits of paying off your student loans early versus saving more for retirement. It's for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice.

It can also show you how early you can pay off your loans, by increasing your payment even a small amount (be sure to contact your lender to specify how you want the additional payment applied!).

Example: Suppose $20,000 in initial loan debt at a 6.8% interest rate, and having made 12 payments so far.

  • $5 extra per month would let you pay off the loan 3 months early
  • $10 extra per month would let you pay off the loan 6 months early
  • $25 extra per month would let you pay off the loan 14 months early
  • $50 extra per month would let you pay off the loan 24 months early

teaching personal financial literacy in the elementary grades

I contributed content expertise and on-camera talent to a multi-media online course for elementary teachers. Many videos are available for free at

other K-12 teacher programming

Through the Colorado Council for Economic Education, I facilitate personal financial literacy professional development workshops and courses for K-12 teachers. Topics have included:

  • Income & Taxes
  • Saving & Investing
  • Financial News
  • Financial Tradeoffs
  • Financial Instruments
  • Credit, Debt, & Insurance

Enhancing student financial education grant

The Council of Graduate Schools awarded 15 grants aimed at discovering and promoting best practices in student financial education. I oversaw the grant related activities at the University of Colorado. The project's website contains many helpful tools and calculators as well as programming information.

selected presentations

I've spoken to managers, leaders, HR professionals, and Employee Assistance Program professionals on the following financial literacy topics:

  • Employee Engagement & Financial Wellness Programming
  • Best Practices for Retirement Plan Participant Education
  • Understanding Economic Indicators
  • Mindfulness and Money Behaviors
  • Engaging Gen Y
  • The Business Case for Workplace Financial Education
  • Financial Wellness as a Component of Holistic Wellness
  • Making the Financial Transition from Student to Employee: Implications for Higher Ed and Employers

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Faculty Development in China

As a faculty consultant I provided professional development training for 200+ university faculty at Eurasia University in Xi’an, China during engagements in June 2013 and May 2015. This required extensive work with translator/interpreter personnel.

Training Topics

  • Creating and Using an Extended Graphic Syllabus
  • Learner-Centered Courses
  • Active Learning Techniques
  • How to Flip a Class
  • The Test Assessment Questionnaire
  • Active Learning, Generative Learning, and Learning Modalities
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research
  • Understanding Ethics and the IRB Process
  • Faculty Peer Observations
  • Facilitating and Coaching for Faculty
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Discipline Based Pedagogy


FocusMinder logo

FocusMinder is an app offering guided meditations for use during the workday. It is a simple and effective gateway into the practice of mindfulness and meditation. Learn more.