Teaching and Evaluations

My teaching statement can be viewed using this link.
View a summary of my teaching effectiveness using this link.
View all of my combined teaching evaluations using this link, or by subject below:

At Northwestern University:
Assistant Professor of Instruction

SE POL 409: Economic Policy in Action
Fall 2024 (Evaluations TBD)

SE POL 420: Applied Public Finance
Fall 2024 (Evaluations TBD)

At the University of Michigan:
Graduate Student Instructor

Masters Macro
Spring 2023 *

* Course content was all or partially online

I positively love helping others learn about economics - but don't just take my word for it! Click to see below some selected comments from my complete evaluations above (emphasis mine):

(as of right now, these are all from my days as a graduate student instructor)

"John Olson clearly loved economics, and his passion for the subject matter made me want to work harder in the course. He was relatable, lively, and very well prepared."

"John is the best GSI I have ever had – I have had him for multiple courses and he never fails to find various ways to explain concepts to help every type of thinker understand what they need to."

"John was by far the best GSI I've ever had. His ability and passion to explain macroeconomic topics was tangible. He increased my level of understanding with each discussion and I believe he created an extremely welcoming environment where students felt more than comfortable asking questions and participating. Such a knowledgeable teacher, I'm so lucky he was my GSI!"

"John was very helpful in helping me prepare for exams, and was always accesible outside of class, and he cares about my success in the course."

"John was such a good discussion leader that I would choose classes specifically to have him as a teacher again if that were possible. His passion for economics and willingness to admit when he wasn't sure was very refreshing. I don't know what his academic/professional plans are, but if he ever wants a faculty position at UM then you guys would be freaking idiots to not hire him immediately. He makes incredibly complicated concepts simple and taught me to apply things by combining the building blocks of knowledge that we learn into meaningful conclusions. He asked students questions and used pedagogical best practices to keep us engaged with class. He knew how to explain things differently when students needed clarification. In office hours he was also very efficient because he made sure he understood our questions before attempting to answer them. He is hands down the best econ teacher I've ever had (including the professors that get paid 6 figures). Seriously, if he's teaching any electives or econometrics courses I would love to know. He's that good of a teacher." 

"John is insanely passionate about economics and that really shows when he teaches. He cares about his students and always took the extra step to explain a confusing topic further." 

"His energy and sharing what he does in Econ as a graduate student gives more ideas to students as to what they can do later on.

"John Olson is hands down the best GSI I have had at Michigan. He is passionate about his work, obviously loves economics, and takes the time to teach his students well. If you are reading this John, I wish you the best of luck in your PHD program. Thanks for the awesome semester. You rock." 

"John is the best GSI I have had during my time at University of Michigan. He was relatable, and really drove students to learn the subject material not just so we could do well on the exam but so we could learn more generally.

"John Olson is GOAT GSI. Give this man his doctorate and make him a professor, he knows his stuff.

"I positively loved John Olson. I cannot express how much I enjoyed coming to section to learn from him. John was so passionate about econ and about the material that it motivated me to work hard and ask questions. I for sure would have failed Econ 102 had it not been for John's section. I've had quite a few GSIs at Michigan, but John has been my favorite so far."

"John Olson went over an[d] beyond to help his students and to ensure that they understood the material. He has shown time and time again that he wants to help, and did everything he could to be patient with students and meet them outside of class to ensure that they knew the material."

"John rocks, the second exam should be made easier, but John still rocks. Give him a raise." 

"John Olson was probably the best GSI I have ever had for an econ class. I really enjoyed my time in discussion, and it really did help advance my understanding of the course material. Well paced, good–humored, in–depth and helpful teaching. Awesome section, awesome person. I think he should be a professor someday. Thank you! :)"

"John was the best and I would not have survived Econ 414 without John's positivity and encouragement. He understands what it is like to be a student and recognizes the rigor of this class which makes this otherwise daunting class comfortable. Overall could not ask for a better GSI than John, he will explain everything until you get it in as many different approaches as possible as he truly cares. His memes, his generosity, he truly is the best. Go John!!!" 

"John took questions with enthusiasm, he was excited to be teaching and happy to answer. I visited other discussion courses where this was not the case, and the instructor acted as if teaching was akin to taking out the trash; a nuisance or chore. Frankly, students will give the same energy to learning as they're given by whoever is teaching the material. John never ceased to bring that energy and interest.

John Olson, my GSI, did a great job. It's difficult to get students to participate in Econ discussions, as the work in discussions is ungraded. However, John was successful in using humor to create an atmosphere in which students felt more comfortable participating. Further, I also met with John outside of class time in his office hours, in which he was even more helpful in solving my hyper–specific issues within the course.

"John Olson is probably the best GSI I've ever had for a class. The guy really loves Econ and teaching it. He even has an economics tattoo." (Yes, I do! I have a Cobb-Douglas production function on my upper left arm. Here is a photo of me the day I got it.)

Additional Comments:

"John Olson is one of my favorite GSIs! His passion about economics is amazing and made the session fun/interesting. The many real world facts/examples he provided throughout discussion were particularly helpful and interesting. I would have appreciated even more of them, but as it was there were certainly more than typical econ discussion sections I've been a part of." 

"He went out of his way to make content relatable to students. If he didn't know the answer, he would admit it, and send a follow up email to the class once he looked it up." 

"He was really receptive to students working out the problem, even if they got it wrong, and encouraged them to try it anyways.

"John Olson was one of the best GSIs I've had so far here at Michigan. He is really passionate about econ and brings that enthusiasm into the classroom. Additionally, he has a really broad understanding of subject material and applies what we're learning to current events and news that are relevant to our day to day lives."

"John was overall a fantastic GSI. Section was always useful and engaging."

"...[H]e should highly consider a career in teaching. He has been one of the best GSIs I have had over the past 4 years, and he made this challenging class a little bit easier. He explained questions well and was willing to go back if there were questions."

"John was very willing to answer any questions and never made anyone feel bad for needing another explanation. He also let us ask questions at any time throughout the class and was open to learning." 

"John was a really good GSI this semester. I learned a lot from going to section and he did a good job explaining each concept and answering questions. You can tell he really enjoys what he does and I appreciated that (especially on a Friday afternoon)."

"Clearly very passionate on the topic and was always willing to help students understand the material. Very good job explaining problems in a clear and easy to understand way." 

"John's explanations made it much easier to learn the material from lecture. I like how he expanded on the material and brought in outside examples as well."

"John Olson is destined to be an amazing professor if that is the career path he chooses. He is incredibly passionate about Econ and is able to explain everything very clearly. I hope the best for him as his career progresses, easily my best GSI ever!" 

"John was a really great teacher. Super committed to the subject, explained things well and generally made his class a really positive experience."

"John is the best! It's great to see a GSI who's so passionate about a topic who also wants his students to share the same passion.

"He was very enthusiastic about teaching and I appreciated his constant willingness to help with the material. He tied in a lot of relavent data and cases to make the concepts more concrete. Thank you!!" 

"John Olson was an excellent GSI. It was really a pleasure to be in his section."

"Great teacher. He made discussion sections fun and was great at explaining material. Occasionally got himself confused but usually recovered within a minute or two. Such a fun and engaging teacher and I really enjoyed learning from him." 

"John Olson's passion for economics was evident, and that made this discussion section more enjoyable and understandable. John always seemed prepared for class and ready to teach with a passion to help students better understand the economic concepts covered in lecture."

"I really appreciate John's enthusiasm and the way he asks for lots of questions from his students. He spends just enough time re–explaining concepts so that everyone in the class understands."

"John was very enthusiastic and explained difficult concepts with detail. He was very invested in helping students understand material and made sections productive and helpful."

"John Olson seemed very excited to teach."

"John was a fabulous GSI. He explained concepts so clearly, and his section really helped reinforce difficult ideas from class. His passion for economics also is really evident and makes his section much more enjoyable."

"John made econ discussion much more bearable than the average discussion. His positive attitude and lighthearted approach to the subject was refreshing. (Describing himself as a cross between Craig and another character I can't remember from parks and rec was an all–time discussion high.) John took questions most of discussion and made students feel that no question was too basic to ask. Often I find that I do not benefit from discussion sections, but I genuinely felt I left this discussion each week with better understanding of subject matter."

"John was the fucking man. Overall good guy and put a lot of effort forward. He was the only redeemable aspect of this course."

"John Olson did a really good job teaching the discussion section you could tell he was very passionate about Econ and would go above and beyond explaining the answers to problems. John Olson has the skills and deep knowledge of Econ to lecture the course on his own."

"John was a great GSI that helped clarify and expand upon tricky concepts from lecture. Despite a 10am discussion section on Friday mornings, he was enthusiastic and eager to teach."

"I really enjoyed coming to section every week and to learn from John. He always was a very good teacher and his excitement for economics was really great to see because I am looking to major an economics too."

"John had great energy in class and was always ready to teach. Discussion section was a great way to review the material that we were covering in class. John sometimes added things that hadn't been fully explained in class or gave us a new angle to think about a problem or concept."

"John is possibly the finest GSI in the Econ department. He has a legitimate passion for what he teaches, is very knowledgable in the subject and has real–world knowledge. Some friends and myself agree that John was the reason we did well in this course." 

"John was an excellent discussion leader. He was energetic and intelligent: it kept everyone engaged when the class was still held in person!"

"John definitely takes into account the students' reactions and is always ready to take questions. Great personality."

"John was very open to point out discrepancies from lecture and address them in discussion section. You can tell how passionate he is about the subject and willing to make changes for students' comfort. The pace John teaches shows that he takes the time to review our reflections and focus on the topics we all are most confused on."

"John was great about communicating with students and keeping them informed. He also ran an interactive, engaging, and helpful discussion section where materials were effectively explained before and after exams."

"I'm very lucky to have had John for a GSI. I appreciated his focus on the major concepts and main types of problems found on the mini–exams. Additionally, I enjoyed his nerdy humor he sprinkled throughout section."

"John was the only saving grace in this class and I found that I learned much much more from him than in lecture. John explained material clearly and walked through example problems in a very eloquent way."

"I enjoyed my experience with John a lot this semester. I felt like his discussions were engaging and he was good at teaching the content. I could certainly tell he was passionate about the subject and teaching in general, and I felt like he did a good job being able to gauge the room and make sure everyone understood what he was doing."

"John was always prepared for class and he handled questions very well. Anytime a question was asked about an example he was providing, he would take time to observe his own work, find exactly where the confusion was, and then reiterate the logic/problem."

"One of the better GSIs in Econ department. Even on Friday morning he was always energetic about class. He knew when things were hard and did really well. Thank you for your hard work!"

"I think the instructor was willing to help students and answered whatever questions I had. He was really helpful on the homework and he never judged students if they had simple questions. He was also enthusiastic when teaching sections."

"I was so thankful to have John Olson as my instructor for the course! Without his instruction, I do not think I would have understood the course as well as I do. Although the time we had was limited, it was used efficiently and John was really open to meet outside of the course hours for further questions."

"John Olson was the best GSI I've had at Michigan. He did a great job helping me understand the material (I think I would fail if it weren't for discussion)"