IUPUI center helping K-12 students master economics

389636_w296INDIANAPOLIS — Teacher training, classroom materials and student competitions sponsored by an IUPUI academic center are giving local students a grasp of how the American economy works.

The Center for Economic Education, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a member of the Indiana Council for Economic Education, works with K-12 educators to improve their understanding of economics and personal finance. It provides teaching strategies that can be easily integrated into classroom instruction.

A coach with a long history with the center recently had two teams of Carmel High School students place among the top four at a national competition testing their knowledge of economics.

“I have been involved with the IUPUI Center for Economic Education (and the Council for Economic Education) for almost 20 years,” said Michelle Foutz, coach of the winning Carmel teams. “I consider myself fortunate to be teaching economics in a state that places great value in economics education.”

One Carmel team placed second in the Adam Smith Division of the National Economics Challenge in May, while the second placed third in the David Ricardo Division. Advanced placement, international baccalaureate and honors students compete in the Adam Smith Division. The David Ricardo Division is open to students who have only taken a single-semester economics course.

The Carmel High School teams earned their way to the national event by winning the state championship competition hosted and coordinated by the IUPUI center in partnership with the Indiana Council for Economic Education.

“Economics Challenge, Commodity Challenge, Stock Market Simulation, Key Teacher Program and Econ Camp are fantastic center and council programs that have increased my enthusiasm for teaching and have also generated a lot of student enthusiasm for learning economics,” Foutz said.

“I would love to introduce Economics Challenge to all of my students. After participating in this competition, my students have a much greater appreciation for learning economics, and they have more confidence in themselves and in what they can accomplish. I can’t say enough about the benefits of this competition, and the positive impact on my kids.”

The Indiana Economics Challenge is one of two high school competitions the IUPUI Center for Economic Education, directed by Mohammad Kaviani, coordinates. The Center, in partnership with the Indiana Council for Economic Education, also coordinates the Indiana Personal Finance Challenge, an online competition that focuses on topics related to personal finance.  These competitions help ensure that Indiana students have a basic understanding of economics and the tools for making sound financial decisions.

More than 10,500 high school students from across the country competed in the national level of the Economics Challenge. Eight teams, including the Carmel students, completed exams and a critical-thinking round in the semifinals. Bellaire High School from Houston, Texas, and Hunter College High School from New York City were named first-place winners respectively in the Adam Smith and David Ricardo divisions following quiz bowl rounds for each final four teams.

CNBC has archived news coverage of the competition available online.

New Gifts Endow Economics’ Robert Sandy Seminar Series

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo gifts to the Department of Economics in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI have endowed the Robert Sandy Seminar Series, ensuring that economics students and faculty will continue to interact with some of the discipline’s brightest researchers.

The gifts were made by professor emeritus of economics Robert Sandy and economics alumnus David Driscoll.

The seminar series began as a means to make the economics department more visible, says Professor Emeritus Robert Sandy, who served as the economics department chair for 12 years before finishing his career as an administrator within the Indiana University President’s Office. “One way the seminar helped with the visibility of the department is we would invite faculty from nearby universities to give talks and then they would meet the department and see there were people here who were serious scholars. We built a reputation step-by-step through the seminar,” he says.

As an undergraduate student at IUPUI in the late 1970s, David Driscoll was in the department in its early years. He was aware of the growth of his undergrad program as he earned his master’s and then moved to Boston and began a career as an actuary.

Driscoll has made various gifts to IUPUI and the Economics Department, also helping fund the Robert Kirk New Economics Major Award. He says the Seminar Series is good for students who get to see how economists go about developing their ideas and researching their topics.

“It’s wonderful to imagine that over the past 30-some years the department has grown so much both in terms of the quantity and quality of the faculty, and that it’s expanded immensely in terms of teaching, the research it turns out, and its reputation,” Driscoll says. “To play a small part in helping facilitate that growth is something I’m very happy to have been able to do.”

“The department’s seminar series is aptly named for our colleague Bob Sandy who worked so effectively on behalf of the department to advance its research reputation,” said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “We’re very grateful to Bob and to our alumnus David Driscoll for their generosity which ensures the series’ permanence as well as its prominence.”

Today the Robert Sandy Seminar Series features presentations on emerging topics of interest to department faculty and students as well as specialized sessions on specific economics questions. The 2013-2014 seminars kicked off with acclaimed economist Dan Hamermesh from the University of Texas Austin.

IUPUI faculty and graduate students also present their research, says Professor Henry Mak, the Seminar Series coordinator. All are encouraged to present work-in-progress and use the feedback that comes through the Seminar to enhance their research products.

“In addition to the seminars, usually we have individual meetings between the speaker and faculty and the speaker and grad students,” Mak says. “So the faculty members can benefit from interacting with the speaker and the students can also benefit because they can talk about their own research and get some feedback.”

“We were pretty close to off-the-charts when the seminar began-near the bottom of econ departments around the nation,” Sandy says. “[Ten years later] we were competitive with Ph.D. programs around the nation. The culture of the department changed. The seminar makes a huge difference and with my and David’s gifts, I hope the department can draw an even wider circle of influence.”

Lecture: Mathias Persson, “From Enlightenment to enlightenments: On the Revision of a Monolithic Concept”

Cavanaugh Hall, Room 438
12:00-1:15 pm

Professor Mathias Persson, Department of Economic History, University of Uppsala, Sweden, will present a lecture on Monday October 21, 2013. The topic of Professor Persson’s talk will be “From Enlightenment to enlightenments: On the Revision of a Monolithic Concept.”

Since the 1960s, the once predominant idea of a singular, iconoclastic Enlightenment anchored in the Parisian salons has gradually faded away and been replaced by a plurality of enlightenments, displaying various agendas and taking place in miscellaneous settings. This lecture will outline these developments and give examples of how the concept of enlightenment has been construed during this protracted process, which reflects wider societal and academic transformations and has parallels in other fields of historical research.

British ambassador to promote free trade in speech at IUPUI

During a visit to Indianapolis this week to meet with corporate and civic leaders to promote free trade, British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott will deliver a speech at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

In his talk titled “Brits and Hoosiers: Partners in Prosperity,” the ambassador will reflect on the implications of the G8 summit, the potential trans-Atlantic trade agreement and trade opportunities for Hoosiers with the United Kingdom. The presentation takes place at 10 a.m. Friday, June 21, at IUPUI Hine Hall, formerly University Place Conference Center and Hotel, 850 W. Michigan St. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

In his first visit to the Hoosier state, the ambassador will highlight the United Kingdom’s role in Indiana’s economy, which exports more than $1 billion in goods to the U.K. and benefits from more than 29,000 jobs supported by British companies.

Westmacott will arrive in Indiana shortly after Britain hosts President Barack Obama and other world leaders June 17 and 18 at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland. International trade will be a central issue at the G8 summit.

While in Indianapolis, the ambassador also will visit Rolls-Royce, which employs more than 6,000 people at the British company’s global headquarters for helicopters and small gas turbine engines.

Follow along with the Ambassador’s visit online at www.gov.uk/world/usa, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Those who cannot attend the event can follow live tweets from the ambassador’s speech on the @IUPUI Twitter handle and through the #globalIndy hashtag. The ambassador will also take questions sent to @IUPUI on Twitter.

Develop Indy and IUPUI have provided support for the ambassador’s visit.

 

Britain and Indiana by the numbers

* In 2011, Indiana exported about $1.1 billion in goods to the United Kingdom.

* British companies including Rolls-Royce, BP, BAE Systems and GKN employ 29,100 Indiana residents, more than a fifth of all Indiana jobs created by foreign companies.

Learn more about the British-American trade relationship at www.ukustrade.com.

 

About the British Consulate-General in Chicago

The British Consulate-General in Chicago represents the United Kingdom throughout 13 states, including Indiana. Led by British Consul General Robert Chatterton Dickson, the Consulate-General’s 25 staff work to support British businesses in the region and help American businesses interested in doing business in Britain. The Consulate-General also supports British nationals, communicates news from the British government and facilitates exchanges between leaders in politics, education, science and the arts.

For media queries, please contact Jonathan Daniel, vice consul for policy and communications at the British Consulate-General in Chicago: jonathan.daniel@fco.gov.uk or 312-970-3808.