Dr. Charles N. Steele
Written by Victor Hedenberg
Dr. Charles N. Steele holds the Herman and Suzanne Dettwiler Chair in Economics at Hillsdale College, and regularly teaches the “Austrian Economics” class, as well as “History of Economic Thought.”
With his international teaching experience in China, Ukraine, and Russia, Dr. Steele is not your typical college professor. Dr. Steele explains that these experiences opened his eyes to the gulf of economics knowledge between students in the East and the West. Most of his students in China and post-Soviet Russia had never been exposed to economic principles and theories. While difficult at first, Dr. Steele says that his experiences teaching in those countries was extremely rewarding—to this day, he continues to keep in touch with many of those students.
According to Dr. Steele, the enthusiasm and academic ability of the Hillsdale College student body drove him to teach here. In fact, he maintains that Hillsdale College is the best school at which he has ever taught: “Students here display a genuine interest in the field of economics and work hard in the classroom to learn and apply economic theory and principles.” Dr. Steele strongly encourages all students take an economics class during their time at Hillsdale. He says, “Economics has the wonderful ability to give insight into how the world works, and its concepts and principles have valuable applications in both commercial enterprise and government policy.” Students of Dr. Steele learn very quickly that economic principles can be brought to bear on almost any situation or field.
When asked about his recommendations to Hillsdale students for how to make the best of their time in college, Dr. Steele emphasizes the importance of experiencing many different things. “If there is a club that interests you, go and check it out. If you want to play in an orchestra, do it. Don’t sit and wait, make sure that you have tried all activities that you have an interest in. Even if it doesn’t pan out, you really have not lost anything by giving it a try.” Dr. Steele also strongly recommends taking coursework in mathematics, statistics, or computer science. “If you want to be ahead of your competition when finding a job, experience in math and programming is immensely helpful and can extend your career options.”
The most important piece of advice Dr. Steele has for students is, “Get to know your professors.” The professors at Hillsdale are easily accessible. Most importantly, they are always eager to help students both in the classroom and out. This is what sets Hillsdale apart from other colleges. Dr. Steele tells students, “Be ready to work very hard when you come to Hillsdale College. But you’re not in this alone. We’re here to help you throughout this journey.”
Victor Hedenberg is currently a senior majoring in Economics and minoring in Business Administration. He is involved with the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and has volunteered with many organizations at Hillsdale.