Bill Provencher is a professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but he also has extensive experience as a consultant for energy efficiency programs. His work in the private sector convinced him of the need for a program that would prepare students for careers with utilities, consulting firms, regulatory agencies, and other organizations involved in conserving energy and protecting natural resources. That’s why he created UW-Madison’s professional master’s program in Resource and Energy Demand Analysis (REDA).
REDA students study economic theory, survey methodology, econometrics, and statistics. Given their experience in the field, the instructors can connect these core concepts to the actual challenges students will face as they evaluate energy efficiency and resource conservation programs.
“I have lots of great real-world examples on how things are done,” says Provencher, who teaches econometrics and directs the REDA program. “In the course we talk about these different methods—why they are done the way they are and how they can be done better.”
Learning techniques, then applying them
The professional master’s in Resource and Energy Demand Analysis is the first program of its kind, allowing students to interact with industry professionals and earn a master’s degree in under a year. The growth in energy and resource conservation initiatives has created a need for people who understand economic modeling, big data, and cutting-edge analytics.
Dan Phaneuf is another instructor who helps REDA students connect theory and practice. He is not only a professor of agricultural and applied economics, but also the editor in chief of the field’s main periodical, the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. That means he’s well acquainted with the world’s leading environmental economists and their current research.
“The students get core concepts from their textbooks, and then we discuss recent empirical research in the field that’s connected to the textbook topics,” Phaneuf says. “In that way, students can get a sense of how the techniques they’re learning in the program–the methods and the empirical models–are being applied in this field in environmental and resource economics.”
For more information of the professional master’s degree in Resource and Energy Demand Analysis, watch the video above or see here.