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Les Manns

Les Manns


Phone Number: 402.826.8274
Department: Economics
Office: GA416
Campus: CRETE
Credentials: BA, MA, PHD

Dr. Leslie (Les) D. Manns is Chair of the Economics Department in the College of Business. He started teaching at Doane University in 1992. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1997 and promoted to Full Professor of Economics in 2005. Dr. Manns’ highest education level obtained is his PhD in Economics from the University of Nebraska. Dr. Manns is on several committees: Promotion & Tenure, Honors Program, and Liaison to the Board of Trustees Audit and Budget. From 2008 to 2009, he was President of the Nebraska Economics and Business Association. In 2007, he was interviewed for a documentary film, GasHole, which premiered a year later.

Ph.D. (Economics), University of Nebraska, 1993
M.A. (Economics), University of North Dakota, 1983
B.A. (Economics), University of North Dakota, 1979


  • Macroeconomics and Literacy (ECO 203)
  • Microeconomics and Business (ECO 204)
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECO 303)
  • Money and Banking (BUS/ECO 307)
  • History of Economic Thought (ECO 215)
  • Health Care Economics (ECO 329)
  • Economic Development (ECO 330)
  • Economics Seminar (ECO 495)

Professional Experience
Chair of the Economics Department, 2007-Present
Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, Doane University, 2009-2010

Teaching Experience
Doane University, 1992-Present
Nebraska Wesleyan University, 1991
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1987-1990, 1991-1992
Valley City State University, 1984-1987
University of Minnesota-Crookston, 1982-1983
University of North Dakota, 1980-1982, 1983-1984

Professional Accolades
James Bruning-Student Congress Outstanding Teacher, Doane College, 2001
James Bruning-Student Congress Outstanding Teacher, Doane College, 1996

Professional Highlights

Getting To Know Your Professors

Why did you become an instructor? How did you become interested in teaching?

I started college as an undergraduate at the University of North Dakota in 1975 intending to major in economics. After earning C’s in my two principles of economics courses (due to my poor study habits), I changed my major to history in my sophomore year. Given that two friends from high school transferred to UND, my grades in my sophomore year were much worse than in my freshman year. At the end of my sophomore year, I almost quit school and joined the Marines. The thought of continuing to major in history scared me as I thought “what can you do with a major in history, except teach, and who wants to do that for a living.” So, at the beginning of my junior year I changed my major back to economics (it’s all I ever really wanted to study), started to apply myself and study. Miraculously (not really!), my grades improved significantly, and I became a much more engaged student.

As I began to understand economics, I became almost evangelical (in the sense of enthusiastic/zealous) in sharing my passion for economics and its application to many areas of life. Upon graduating with my bachelor’s degree in economics, I was accepted into the master’s program in economics at UND. After serving as a teaching assistant in graduate school, I taught part-time for two quarters at the University of Minnesota-Crookston and three years full-time at Valley City State University in North Dakota. Realizing that a doctoral degree was a ‘barrier to entry’ to a tenure-track job in higher education, I resigned my position at VCSU and decided to pursue a PhD in economics at the University of Nebraska in 1987. I began teaching at Doane in the fall of 1992 and graduated from UNL with a PhD in economics in May 1993. And, the rest, as they say is history OR, in my case economics.

What in your favorite quote and why?

My favorite quote is from Julia Child, chef, teacher, author and TV personality. The quote is “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I have tried to live up to this quote for much of my life, although I have not always succeeded. To me, what I believe Julia Child is saying is that one should always be willing to push oneself to try new foods, travel to new places, experience other cultures, and embrace new experiences and opportunities to learn new things about yourself and others. I love her use of the word ‘moderation’ as it is both a warning not to overindulge in whatever you are doing; but, at the same time, to not be afraid to immerse yourself fully so as to maximize your learning and your enjoyment from whatever you are doing. I even believe there is some applicability of this quote to the pursuit of higher education and I try to incorporate that in my approach to teaching.

How can I get to know you better? How do you engage with students outside the classroom?

My office door (Gaylord 416) is always open and I greatly enjoy it when students stop by just to chat, whether the topic is economics, current events, sports, or whatever. I share much about my life with my students before, during, and after my classes. I talk about food often as I love to cook and eat; I also talk about places my spouse and I have travelled, and how my dog is doing. I think that helps students get to know me better as a person and not just their economics teacher. Occasionally, I will bring treats, usually something I have baked or bought, to share with them. My wife and I also host dinners at our house in Lincoln that we donate to the Cardinal Key student auction every spring and we have a special dinner for my Economics Seminar students whenever that class is offered. In addition, we host a graduation BBQ at our house in Lincoln every spring for all the students graduating with either a major or minor in economics.