Elizabeth Hoffman (professor)

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Elizabeth (Betsy) Hoffman (born November 12, 1946) was the Executive Vice President and Provost[1] and is currently a professor of economics at Iowa State University. From 2000 to 2005, she was President of the University of Colorado System, where she is President Emerita. She is an economist and economic historian.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Hoffman was raised in Berwyn and Wayne, Pennsylvania, suburbs of Philadelphia. She is married to Brian R. Binger, who is also an economist with a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology.

Academic career[edit]

Hoffman graduated from Conestoga High School in 1964. She received a B.A. in history from Smith College in 1968 and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received an M.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969, a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972, and a Ph.D. in social science (economics) from the California Institute of Technology in 1979.

While finishing her Ph.D. at Penn, she taught history and economics at St. Olaf College, Carleton College, and Macalester College. Her first academic position after completing her Ph.D. in history was as assistant professor of history at the University of Florida. Following her Ph.D. in economics, she was assistant professor of economics at Northwestern University, assistant and associate professor of economics at Purdue University, and professor of economics at the University of Wyoming and the University of Arizona. She was a founding trustee of the Cliometric Society, which focuses on quantitative studies in history; the Economic Science Association, which focuses on using experimental techniques to study economic phenomena; and the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics.

In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the National University of Life and Environmental Science of the Ukraine.

Administrative career[edit]

In 1989, Hoffman became associate dean and director of the MBA program at the college of business and public administration at the University of Arizona. In 1993, she became dean of liberal arts and sciences at Iowa State University, where she was also professor of economics and psychology. In 1997, she became provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was also professor of economics, history, political science, and psychology, as well as professor in the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

On September 1, 2000, Hoffman became the 20th president of the then four-campus University of Colorado system. She served in that role until 2005, when she resigned citing the distraction of multiple ongoing controversies. These included the university's alleged use of sex and alcohol to recruit football players, an alcohol-related student death at the Boulder campus, and the Ward Churchill essay controversy.[3] When she received a demand from Governor Bill Owens to fire Ward Churchill, she refused on grounds of academic freedom. Her refusal drew her personally into the Churchill controversy, and she resigned soon afterward. She has since identified the dispute over Churchill as her reason for resigning.[4]


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