By: Kelsey Niehauser
The Economics Center for Education & Research at the University of Cincinnati (UC) is joining the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH) effective Fall Semester of 2015. CECH is proud to welcome the Center whose focus is on economic and financial education in the community. The Economics Center provides professional development for educators, implements K-12 school-based programs, and develops teaching materials, resources, and curriculum for economics and financial literacy.
“We are honored to have the Economics Center for Education & Research join our College,” notes Dean Lawrence Johnson. “The Center’s mission to develop ties and assist in the community becomes a fantastic opportunity for both the CECH and the Center to better serve Cincinnati and the region. We see are looking forward to working with them.”
For 38 years, the Center has been equipping students in grades K-12 with practical economic knowledge and skills through in-school programs and teacher training. During that time, the Center has reached over one million elementary, middle, and high school students, increasing their economic and financial knowledge through programs such as the Student Enterprise Program and the Stock Market Game. Students learn how to participate in the global economy and lead financially productive lives.
The Student Enterprise Program (StEP) is a nationally recognized elementary school program that results in marked increases in student engagement, attendance, self-esteem, and academic achievement. StEP addresses two key educational needs at an early age: the need for classroom engagement and the need for 21st century skills related to entrepreneurship, critical-thinking, and financial responsibility. Students can earn up to $75 per week in “school bucks” if all positive participation and behavior requirements are met. Each quarter, students can choose how to spend their money on school supplies and/or novelties in the StEP store which visits their school. If the students choose not to buy, they can save their earnings and gain interest, or donate funds to the charity of their choice. As the program develops, elementary students switch roles from consumers to producers. Each classroom decides on the type of business venture it wants to create. Students complete job applications and interview for positions within the business. The annual finale event, Market Madness, draws approximately 1,000 students to the UC campus to showcase their classroom businesses. This unique and fun marketplace provides an opportunity for our young entrepreneurs to sell and buy their custom-made products.
The Stock Market Game™ (SMG) is an online market simulation allowing students to manage a virtual stock portfolio with real-time data and compete against other teams and schools regionally. This game encourages students to get engaged in the content, with a competitive twist, all while teaching them the fundamentals of economics and topics on saving and investing. SMG is proven to improve math scores of students. Each student starts with virtual cash account of $100,000. Students strive to create the best-performing portfolio using a live trading simulation. They work together in teams, practicing leadership, organization, negotiation, and cooperation as they compete for the top spot. The setup is engaging, and the learning is a natural part of the experience. Each year, the winning teams are invited to UC’s campus for a Portfolio Challenge. These team present their investment strategy to a panel of judges, and the winning team is awarded an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to meet real-world investment professionals at Lazard, Goldman Sachs, and Legg Mason. These students also receive a tour of the NYSE, a once in a lifetime opportunity for many.
The Economics Center for Education & Research not only works with students, but with organizations and businesses around Greater Cincinnati, as well as nationally. The Research & Consulting Division of the Center provides the economic analyses that help clients make better financial, policy, and economic development decisions. Its custom approach and critical data analysis empower business and civic leaders to respond to changing economic conditions, strengthen local economies and improve the quality of life for their communities.
The Economics Center for Education & Research is consistent with the mission of CECH and will make a great addition to the College as both are dedicated to making a difference in our communities through outreach, academic programs, and community partnerships.
“We are very excited to be joining CECH,” says Dr. Julie Heath, the Center’s Executive Director. “Under Dean Johnson’s leadership, CECH has enveloped many diverse programs with a common theme—community engagement. We look forward to contributing to the College and exploring ways to deepen our shared commitment to our community.”
More information on the Economics Center can be found on their website.