Stella K Hofrenning

Professor, Department Chair

CB 70

Dr. Stella Koutroumanes Hofrenning has taught at Augsburg University since the fall of 2001 and currently serves as Chair of the Economics Department. She brings a wealth of experience to her students and classroom having worked for several years as an economist for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on welfare reform and poverty issues in Washington D.C. She has also worked as a health economist for the Minnesota Department of Health.

Hofrenning’s research interests include applied microeconomics, public policy, and the economics of education. In addition to her academic research, she has written opinion pieces for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press and speaks to community groups on various economic topics. Hofrenning is a first-generation college graduate being the first in her family to attend high school and college. She enjoys working with students on undergraduate research and is active in the Council of Undergraduate Research, a national association promoting undergraduate research.

Hofrenning received the 2017 “Distinguished Contributor to Service” award, based on her ten years of faculty leadership in Augsburg’s annual participation in the Mayo Innovations Scholar Program (MISP).  Hofrenning shared the award with Biology Professor David Crowe and URGO Director Dixie Shafer.  MISP is a partnership between the Mayo Clinic, Augsburg University and nine other private colleges. Through MISP, a select group of Augsburg students participate in a six-month long research program that provides unique and challenging opportunities for multidisciplinary teams of undergraduates majoring in economics, business or STEM fields. The students, with faculty support, evaluate a Mayo product or innovation in biomedical technology for potential transfer to market culminating in a presentation at the Mayo Clinic.

As a child of Greek immigrants, Hofrenning is fluent in Modern Greek and lived in Athens, Greece for several years. She is a volunteer teacher of Modern Greek language to children at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. She also teaches a study abroad economics class in Greece for Augsburg students.


  • B.S.: Business Administration and Management, University of Maryland University College, Summa Cum Laude
  • M.S.: Management, Troy State University
  • Ph.D.: Economics, University of Illinois-Chicago

Selected publications

  • Chiswick, Barry, and Hofrenning,Stella K. (2020). “A Method for Proxying A Respondent’s Religious Background: An Application to School Choice Decisions”. In B. Chiswick (Ed.), Jews at Work: Their Economic Progress in the American Labor Market, (pp. 251-264). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
  • Hofrenning, Stella K.; Hargraves, Rosalyn Hobson; Chen, Tao; Filippas, Afroditi Vennie; Fitzgerald, Rhonda; Hearn, John; Kayes, Lori J.; Kunz, Joan; and Segal, Rebecca (2020) “Fishbowl Discussions: Promoting Collaboration between Mathematics and Partner Disciplines,” Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations: Vol. 16 : No. 1 , Article 3.
    Available at:
  • Hargraves, Rosalyn H.; Hofrenning, Stella K.; Bowers, Janet; Beisiegel, Mary D.R.; Piercey, Victor; and Slate Young, Erica (2020) “Structured Engagement for a Multi-Institutional Collaborative to Tackle Challenges and Share Best Practices,” Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations: Vol. 16 : No. 1 , Article 5.
    Available at:
  • Susan Ganter, Stella Hofrenning, Carrie Diaz Eaton & Victor Piercey (2019) Introduction to the Special Issue on Interdisciplinary Conversations (Part 2): The Impact of Interdisciplinary Conversations on Courses, PRIMUS, 29:9, 903-907, DOI: 10.1080/10511970.2019.1626959
  • Susan Ganter, Stella Hofrenning, Carrie Diaz Eaton & Victor Piercey (2019) Introduction to the Special Issue on Interdisciplinary Conversations (Part 1): Models for Interdisciplinary Conversations, PRIMUS, 29:8, 769-774, DOI: 10.1080/10511970.2019.1619004
  • Hofrenning, Stella K, D.Stephen Drott and Greg Kugler. “An Analysis of Foreclosure Activity In the United States,” Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 2017, 18(4).
  • Hofrenning, Stella K. and Barry R. Chiswick. “A Method for Proxying A Respondent’s Religious Background: An Application to School Choice Decisions,” Journal of Human Resources, Winter 1999, Volume 34, Issue 1.
  • Chiswick, Barry R. and Stella Koutroumanes Hofrenning. “An Econometric Analysis of the Demand for Private Schools,”  Research in Labor Economics, 1996, Volume 15.
  • Hofrenning, Stella K. “Greek Orthodox and Economic Perspectives on the Environment,”  Till and Keep: A Journal on Vocation. (Augsburg College: Fall 2003) pp. 17-31.
  • Blewett, Lynn and Stella Hofrenning. “Minnesota: The Land of Nonprofit HMOs,” Minnesota Medicine, April 1997, Volume 80.
  • McGroder, Sharon, and Stella Koutroumanes. “Comprehensive Family Service Programs: Evaluation Issues,” Focus (University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Research on Poverty), spring 1992, Volume 15, number 1.
  • Koutroumanes, Stella. “Survey Response Rates: Is There a Magic Number?”  The Quality Resource: The Newsletter of the American Health Information Management Society, July/August 1997, Vol. 15, No. 4.

Newspaper Op-Ed Pieces

  • Hofrenning, Stella K. “Minnesota Must Weigh For-Profit HMOs Carefully”, St. Paul Pioneer Press, February 9, 2004, page 7A.
  • Hofrenning, Stella K. “In Minnesota, Vouchers Still Unconstitutional,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 20, 2002, page A-19.
  • Hofrenning, Stella K. “Minnesota, Land of Nonprofit HMOs,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 4, 2001, page A-18.

Research Grants

  • Co-Principal Investigator. National Science Foundation (NSF), Award Number: 1625771 (2016-2021)
    • Title: Collaborative Research: A National Consortium for Synergistic Undergraduate Mathematics via Multi-Institutional Interdisciplinary Teaching Partnerships (SUMMIT-P)
    • As a co-principal investigator and member of the project management team of this foundation grant, Hofrenning leads multiple institutional collaborations with Business, Economics, and Social Science. Eleven institutions (including Augsburg) seek to renew undergraduate mathematics curriculum based on research about the needs of partner disciplines. This is a $2.6 million NSF grant awarded in 2016.
  • Co-Principal Investigator. NSF, Award Number: 1625142 (2016-2021)
    • Augsburg receives $237,851 as part of the $2.6 million SUMMIT-P NSF grant awarded in 2016.

Recent presentations

  • Hofrenning, Stella K., Hargraves, R., and Doree, S. Joint Mathematics Meetings. “What Mathematics do Economics Students Need to Know?” Jan 10-13, 2018, San Diego, California.
  • Hofrenning, Stella K., Hargraves, R., Ganter, S., and Doree, S. Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) conference. “In the Fishbowl: Strategies for Conversations on Mathematics in the Partners Disciplines,” Nov 2-4, 2017, San Francisco, California.
  • Hofrenning, Stella K. “Entrepreneurship and the Liberal Arts: Reflections on Augsburg College’s Participation in the Mayo Innovations Scholars Program.” Missouri Valley Economics Association, October 2016, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Hofrenning, Stella K. “School Choice: Public versus Private Schools.” Midwest Economics Association, April 2016, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Yang, Zhou*, Walley, Bernard, Hofrenning, Stella. “Exchange Rate Pass-Through in Inflation Targeting Emerging Market Economies: The Experience of South Africa and Ghana.” Midwest Economics Association, April 2016, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Noland, Brianna* and Stella K. Hofrenning. “Contemporary Determinants of Fertility in the U.S., A Regional Analysis.” Midwest Economic Association, March 2014, Chicago, Illinois.

(* indicates undergraduate student)


  • Research Methods in Economics – Econometrics
  • Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
  • Intermediate Microeconomics
  • Management Science
  • Applied Managerial Economics (Graduate MBA course)
  • Research Keystone Course in Greece (with Business Department)