Readers’ pick: Irene Foster
From mentions on the memes page to tall tales about tricky exams, Irene Foster is one of the most well-known professors on campus.
Although you can’t expect to have classes canceled or easy exams, Foster – an economics professor – was selected for her enthusiasm in class and her ability to translate the toughest topics to hundreds of students each year.
Foster is most popular for teaching the infamous two-part Introduction to Economics course each year in both the fall and spring semesters.
The associate professor began her career after graduating with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from University of Madras in India, a master’s degree in management from Purdue University and a doctoral degree in business from Indiana University. She has taught at institutions all over the country, like Vanderbilt and Tennessee State universities, before finally arriving in Foggy Bottom in 2010.
After eight years of teaching one of the most widely taken courses, Foster said students at GW stand out from students she’s taught at other universities.
“They are very well-traveled, they are knowledgeable, they are very diverse and they’re very sophisticated,” she said. “It’s just a different kind of college group, they’re not a typical kind of college group.”
Although all professors offer office hours and most encourage students to drop in with questions, Foster really means it. She is often found working with students for the full duration of the time period.
When she first arrived at the University, Foster said a run-in after class with a student who said he wanted to be president solidified her thought that students here are different from students at other schools.
“I just threw my head back and laughed. I just thought it was so funny that someone so young would just say that,” Foster said.
This fall, Foster will teach at least three sections of the lecture course to about 750 undergraduates. The seats will be hotly contested, especially with her best professor title in mind.