SAU plays role in success of Economics Arkansas, Nonprofit Organization of the Year

Economics Arkansas was named Nonprofit Organization of the Year at the 25th anniversary of the Arkansas Business of the Year Awards event in Little Rock.

Southern Arkansas University President Dr. David Rankin and College of Business Chair Dr. Lisa Toms serve on the board of Economics Arkansas. Associate Professor of Economics and Director of SAU’s Center for Economic Education and Research (CEER) Dr. Jennifer Logan is affiliated with this organization through her position at SAU. Through her work at CEER, Logan provides economics training for K-12 teachers.

Toms was among 800 in attendance Tuesday night when the award was announced. A $2,500 monetary award provided by AT&T accompanies the honor.

“Through Economics Arkansas partnership with the CEER at SAU, hundreds of K-12 teachers and therefore thousands of children have the advantage of learning economic and personal finance concepts.  When students understand pricing, supply and demand, the wise use of credit and other important concepts, we can hope for a brighter future for them and our society,” said Dr. Toms.

“This is a fabulous reward for a group of individuals in Little Rock that are out there promoting economic education and professional development for teachers every day,” said Logan.  “I am proud to be affiliated with such a fabulous organization and I think the award is well deserved. I have the best of both worlds.  I am fortunate enough to work with such a fantastic group of people in the SAU College of Business and I get to work with Economics Arkansas as well.”

Founded in 1962 as the Arkansas Council on Economic Education, Economic Arkansas has been training public school teachers to teach economics for a half century. A law passed in 2009 made it a requirement that all students who enter high school in Arkansas must complete a semester of economics to qualify for a diploma.

“Economics is the science of decision-making, and all of our lives are built one decision at a time,” Executive Director Sue Owens told Arkansas Business. “It is so critical that our students understand how to make decisions for their lives. They can build the lives of their dreams if they understand how to invest in their own human capital.”

According to Owens, 2014 will have the first class of graduates who have had the economics course.

“People may not realize what the impact might be until you look at the number of kids who are going to graduate each year from high school and the knowledge they are going to take out into the marketplace and into their lives,” she said. “It’s going to be dramatically different for them.”

Economics Arkansas invests in teachers by teaching them how to incorporate economic principles into lesson plans for all ages. The non-profit organization has operated on less than a $1million annual budget and receives funding through government, gifts and fees for services.

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