Tomson Ogwang


Tomson-Ogwang resized

I attribute my research accomplishments to the skills I acquired from Dalhousie.

My journey to Dalhousie started with an informal discussion with my econometrics professor and advisor at the University of Leeds, Professor Garry Phillips, in  his office at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. I had sought his advice about my prospects for pursuing a Ph.D. after completing my MA at the University of Leeds. Professor Phillips highly recommended Dalhousie for the Ph.D. based on his very positive sabbatical experience at Dalhousie several years earlier.

Upon completing my MA at the University of Leeds, I had to return to Uganda, my country of birth. The timing of my return to Uganda was perfect because soon after I got there, there was a call for Canadian Commonwealth Scholarships awards for graduate studies in Canada. Following a competitive selection process, I was awarded  the scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics at Dalhousie, my first choice.

Upon successful completion of  the Dalhousie Ph.D. program, I held teaching positions at Saint Mary’s University and the University of Northern British Columbia before moving on to Brock University where I rose to the rank of  full Professor of Economics.

In the early years of the Dalhousie Ph.D. program, I took  classes with a diverse group of students from around the world, including career professionals, refugees, and fresh university graduates, among others. I found this diversity to be  enriching both academically and socially as we all learned from each other’s experiences.

At Dalhousie, I also had many role models ranging from junior faculty who presented cool papers culled from their Ph.D. theses and senior faculty who were working on very interesting and diverse research projects. One thing I always counted on as a Dalhousie economics Ph.D. student is the highly approachable faculty who went beyond the usual call of duty to provide guidance when needed. The collective effort of faculty in the Department to assist student researchers is one of my most notable experiences at Dalhousie.

I appreciate the opportunity Dalhousie gave me to get teaching experience as a Ph.D. student by circumventing the widespread practice of hiring people with vast Canadian teaching experience. I remember being assigned full responsibility for teaching an intensive three-week summer intermediate microeconomics course for which I had to learn the skills by doing. With the generous assistance of  many faculty members in  the Department I did it successfully. The experience I gained from this and subsequent teaching opportunities at Dalhousie helped me to secure permanent academic positions.

I attribute my research accomplishments to the skills I acquired from Dalhousie. Although several of the papers I published were with my Ph.D. thesis supervisor, the late Professor Gouranga Rao, I received help from many other faculty members in the Department who enthusiastically provided very helpful comments along the way. Professor Rao also gave me a list of hand-written ideas and incomplete papers related to some interesting problems in economics. I have since completed and published several papers related to some of those ideas and passed a few ideas on to others.

My exposure to reputable international conferences was also facilitated by Professor Rao who often went out of his way to pool funds from various sources to make sure that we physically travelled to present papers at many international conferences. I continue to interact with renowned researchers from different continents whom  I met at those conferences.

The assistance I got  from the faculty in the Department extended beyond academics.

Finally, I admire the efficiency and patience of the staff members in the Department of Economics. They were instrumental in preparing many reference letters for jobs when I was on the job market.