If you want to educate primary and secondary school students about the importance of understanding money, the first step is to educate their teachers.
That is the premise of the annual Finance University conference hosted by the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University, as the business school prepares for its 16th weeklong session July 9-13 with state teachers in Charleston.
“Our conference is always full, and I think that’s a great sign our teachers are committed to the idea that students need to learn about financial literacy,” said Naomi Boyd, the business school’s Fred T. Tattersall Chair in Finance, associate professor of finance and the founding director of B&E’s Center for Financial Literacy and Education. “Primary and secondary students are living in a world where personal finances are much more complex, and you have added elements such as student debt and understanding the deductions that are taken out of your paycheck. Teachers are the key to this entire process because they are the ones who are delivering this critical information about understanding money to the masses in the classroom setting.”
Sessions offered this year will include financial literacy programs for the classroom, “Our Money Choices Have Consequences: Helping Students Choose Wisely” and accessing free resources from the Federal Reserve Bank. Conference instructors range from representatives from the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office to the WVU College of Business and Economics, and from AXA Advisors to the University of Arizona to certified financial analysts, credit card companies and software companies.
The goal, Boyd said, is to get real information and real sources into the hands of educators, because the challenges students face are real.
“In today’s world, the family dynamic looks different than it once did,” she said. “And no matter what the family structure looks like, the dialogue among family members about finances is anything but commonplace. It’s not exactly the conversation that comes up at dinner. But those dynamics were the catalyst for the CFLE to set its goal for this annual conference, identify a specific form of its outreach, and grow its passion to help students and teachers know more about finances so that they can make better, educated decisions.”
Boyd said her plan is to grow the conference so that any teacher who wants to attend may do so. The current structure of the conference allows for a number of teachers to attend, but there is still a limit on attendees and, thus, a waiting list.
“In past years, Finance University has been a partnership effort. Last year, we started the transition for the CFLE to take over the event entirely. Something we’d really like to take a look at starting next year is to grow this program to include a greater number of educators from across West Virginia,” Boyd said. “The commitment and passion of the teachers who are participating is undeniable, and they want to pass along what they’ve learned to students. There is no doubt that there’s incredible value to what we’re presenting, and that’s what will continue to drive us forward.”
WVU College of Business and Economics
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.