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Faculty Profile: Tom Fullerton

Last Updated on July 15, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Originally published July 15, 2019

By UC Staff

UTEP Communications

Tom Fullerton is renowned for his ability to pore over colossal amounts of numbers and use them to paint a picture of the economic health of the Paso del Norte region every year.

 Department of Economics and Finance, College of Business Administration
Tom Fullerton, Ph.D., from UTEP's Department of Economics and Finance in the College of Business Administration, has been at the University for 23 years. Photo: UTEP Communications

What many don’t know is that those number-crunching skills have also come in handy while keeping score during youth baseball games throughout the past two decades. Fullerton is fond of The University of Texas at El Paso and has enjoyed watching the campus’ reputation grow. He is always happy to see his students find success in their professional endeavors.     

Name: Tom Fullerton, Ph.D.

Department/College: Department of Economics and Finance, College of Business Administration

What do you teach? My MS Economics course rotation is Urban Economics; Border Economics; Econometric Forecasting; Latin American Political Economy

How long have you been a teacher? I have been a UTEP faculty member for 23 years.

What’s your favorite classroom activity or teaching technique? Chalk and talk, very old school, but it works for proofs and long equations.

What background and experience do you have in your field of study that benefits your students? I have worked as both a corporate economist and as an executive branch economist. Prior to joining UTEP, I was a senior economist at the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Before moving to Florida, I was an International economist with Wharton Econometrics in Philadelphia. At that post, I was in charge of modeling, forecasting and policy analysis for the South American economies of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Before that, I worked as an economist in the executive office of the governor of Idaho, where I forecast the state economy and conducted fiscal policy analysis during legislative sessions. My professional career began as an associate economist in the corporate planning department of El Paso Electric Company. I have taught as a visiting professor at Helsinki School of Economics in Finland, Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, and Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. My analyses have been cited in articles appearing in the Wall Street JournalNew York TimesWashington PostBarron’sUSA TodayInvestor’s Business DailyBloomberg Business, and U.S. News & World Report. I have also appeared on national newscasts aired by ABC, CNN, FOX, The News Hour on PBS, National Public Radio, Bloomberg Radio and Sirius XM Business Radio. My research has been published in academic journals in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Once I had published on every populated continent, my brothers laughingly told me that I was the Magellan of the chalkboard jungle. Students seem to like seeing that economics is not an artificial endeavor but involves all of these types of engagements.

What do your students like best about your classes? All of them really like the day after final exams! Most of them like the way the topics and models covered in class relate to current economic and financial events. They also appreciate that what is discussed in class periodically pops up as specific job interview questions once they graduate and leave campus.

What do you love most about being a teacher?  I enjoy investigating interesting research projects with student co-authors. It also satisfying to interact with business groups and public sector agencies throughout the Borderplex region. It is tremendously rewarding when UTEP MS Economics students successfully compete for professional economics positions against graduates from doctoral programs at other schools. The MS Economics placement record is filled with Miner success stories!

What are your hobbies? When you’re not teaching, grading or preparing for classes, what are you doing? Because of my sons, I have kept score for multiple baseball leagues during the past 20 years. I have also coached a number of youth baseball teams at Frank Manning Little League and Southwest Baseball League on the West Side. I keep all of the championship rings I received as a coach in my UTEP office desk. Once in a while, I will even let civilian visitors to my office see all that jewelry. When there is good snow in Ruidoso, I really enjoy alpine snow skiing.

What’s your favorite place on campus? As a UTEP alumnus, I really like a lot of places on this campus. One place I regret never visiting was the old bowling alley that was under Union Building West, but there were lots of honors students who never made it down there. One thing that I miss is the old faculty lunch room that was in Union Building East. When that lunch service was operating, faculty from all over the campus used to congregate there every day. Of course, the place most people think I must really like the most is my office in CBA 241 since I am continuously there from 8 to 5 every workday. Economists might call that “revealed preference.” It is definitely a nice office, but I am chained to my desk because multiple deadlines force me to continually race against the calendar and the clock every week of the year. When I do get out and about, it is always nice to enjoy the Bhutanese Borderland research environs. 

What’s your favorite UTEP event, and why? Meeting with campus visitors from both near and far. UTEP has such a great reputation that I always seem to have undeniably interesting people from this region and all over the world stopping by my office to discuss economic issues. Beyond that, I always enjoy the faculty research events held at Hoover House or at the Durham Center. UTEP faculty are exceedingly creative and productive and you never know what someone will describe at those celebrations.

What advice would you give to an incoming UTEP student? Study diligently and take the difficult electives. Shortcuts usually do not help your career.