Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Awards

The Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award from the Southern Economic Association annually honors one or more faculty members for outstanding contributions to economics education. Nominations for the 2018 awards will be solicited from economics department heads, from each institution in the southern part of the United States, in the spring of 2018. Nominees who are not selected are automatically placed in the pool of nominees for the subsequent year for a period of three years.

Ken Elzinga, Robert C. Taylor Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia,- first recipient of the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship – is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished, effective, and influential educators in the economics profession during a distinguished teaching and research career at the University of Virginia, that has spanned over 35 years. Ken is creative and versatile in the classroom sharing his thoughts effectively with large groups of students studying the principles of economics, and using the Socratic Method, when working with students in a more advanced setting. He is a pioneer in the use of literature to explore economic reasoning which led to his writing murder mysteries that can be solved by careful economic analysis. Ken’s style of instruction and commitment to helping students develop an understanding of and appreciation for economic reasoning and insights serve as an inspiration for economic educators, so it is fitting for exemplary economic educators to be honored with an award in his name.

The winner for 2017 is:

  • Dr. Lee Coppock

The winner was announced at the 2017 meeting of the Southern Economic Association® in Tampa, FL on Saturday, November 18, and was awarded a plaque and a cash award.

Citation for the 2017 recipient

Lee Coppock

Lee A. Coppock has been on the faculty in the Department of Economics at the University of Virginia since 2003, where he is now Professor of Economics and Director of the undergraduate economics program. In addition to being an extraordinary educator, he is also the coauthor (with Dirk Mateer) of a leading introductory economics textbook (Principles of Economics), as well as a mentor and advisor to the many economics majors at UVA.

Professor Coppock is legendary among undergraduates at UVA. For 15 years, he has taught two large lectures of introductory macroeconomics, each over 500 students. Despite the enormous sizes of these classes, he has used the latest clicker technology along with classroom volunteers to engage successfully with his students. He has also taught smaller classes with limited enrollments but huge waitlists. Overall, he has taught over 15,000 students during his time at UVA, all with uniformly outstanding teaching evaluations. In their comments, students emphasize his organization, his ability to explain difficult concepts, his stress on critical thinking, and especially his talent for making economics fun and exciting.

Professor Coppock also has introduced a blog (, which he uses to help both instructors and their students process the endless stream of information that is now available. This blog serves as a one-stop-shop for all the “Econ News You Can Use” (in fact its title), providing timely economic data, graphics, and teaching materials to keep courses fresh and topical.

As his UVA colleague Ken Elzinga – and the namesake for this award – has written:

“You had asked about stories: one that I hear (or have overheard) a couple of times runs something like this: ‘Sure Elzinga is good, but wait till you have Coppock’ ”.

Professor Coppock exemplifies the excellence both inside and outside the classroom that is personified by Ken Elzinga. We are most pleased to honor him as the 2017 recipient of the Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award.

Past Recipients

2016 Tisha Lin Nakao Emerson (Baylor University)
2015 Leah Greden Mathews (University of North Carolina-Asheville)
2014 Peter W. Shuhmann (University of North Carolina-Wilmington)
2013 Gail Mitchell Hoyt (University of Kentucky)
2012 Michael K. Salemi (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
2011 Richard V. Butler (Trinity University)
2010 Paul Grimes (Mississippi State University)
Jill Caviglia Harris (Salisbury University)
2009 KimMarie McGoldrick (University of Richmond)
2008 Julie Heath (The University of Memphis)
Charles Holt (University of Virginia)
2007 Richard J. Cebula (Atlantic Armstrong State University)
2006 Sheryl Ball (Virginia Tech)
Stephen Buckles (Vanderbilt University)
Russell Sobel (West Virginia University)
2005 Steven L. Cobb (University of North Texas)
Tom McCaleb (Florida State University)
2004 Thomas J. Nechyba (Duke University)
L. Wayne Plumly, Jr. (Valdosta State University)
2003 Craufurd Goodwin (Duke University)
Dennis O’Toole (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Jason White (Northwest Missouri State University)
2002 William Darity, Jr. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
William C. Wood (James Madison University)