Sarah Adelman, Associate Professor of Economics

Mount Holyoke College Faculty Award for Teaching

On a quiet evening in the Skinner Hall, Professor Sarah Adelman’s office was a hot spot: Sarah and a group of students were having a spirited discussion about famine and the agricultural household model. This offers a glimpse of the countless hours at different times of the day that she spends with her students until they are content with their work.

In the classroom, Professor Adelman is brilliant and passionate as well as strategic and supportive. She has taught broadly across the economics curriculum: a first-year seminar on Health and Healthcare in Africa, Introduction to Econometrics, Development Economics, Advanced Development Economics, and Advanced Health Economics. Sarah is not only talented at introducing her students to concepts, methods, facts and data, but extraordinary at helping them develop a multitude of skills and to view things with trained eyes and open minds. The plethora of praises coming from her students should be no surprise: “I really liked that she presented different perspectives on things and would always have us consider other points of view.” “I really credit how much I learned in the course to working together with my classmates.” “The class is a favorite of the economics majors.” “The course broadened my understanding of the developing world and the potential implications (positive and negative) and challenges of policy interventions.” “This class was a joy and a privilege.” “I looked forward to 8:35 a.m.!”

Professor Adelman is an applied microeconomics scholar. Her research focus is health and nutrition in developing countries, especially in Uganda. Two of her recent publications shed light on the relationship between infant formula trade and parental leave policies and the impact of contaminated infant formula imports in developing countries. In the 2019 article published in the Journal of Nutrition, Sarah and her colleagues used a cluster randomized controlled trial to demonstrate that school feeding reduces anemia prevalence in adolescent girls in Uganda.

One of Sarah’s ongoing research projects is collecting survey data for households living in Northern Ugandan internally displaced person camps due to ongoing conflict. This past summer, six of her thirteen research students had the opportunity to carry out qualitative aspects of the study in Ugandan, interviewing individuals and NGO leaders who provide humanitarian services in the cities of Kampala and Lira. The Mount Holyoke students not only helped to advance research that has the potential to inform development and economic policies to bring sustainability to Uganda, but also personally witnessed the strength and willingness of a society that is struggling to rebuild.

Professor Adelman’s service to the College has been exemplary. She served as the senior class dean from 2014 to 2018 and is currently the chair of the international relations program and a member of the Academic Priority Committee. Sarah’s leadership, thoughtfulness, and compassion have served her community well.

Today we celebrate Professor Sarah Adelman’s many contributions to the College, especially as an outstanding teacher educating the global citizens of the next generation in and out of the classroom, and present her with the Mount Holyoke College Faculty Award for Teaching.