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Nasdaq Foundation Awards $50,000 Grant To Iowa Electronic Markets

The Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) has received a $50,000 grant from the Nasdaq Educational Foundation to conduct a conference where faculty and students can use the IEM to learn about financial markets.

The conference, scheduled from April 12-14 at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, will be hosted by the IEM and the UI department of finance. Funding will be available to 30 faculty and 15 students at U.S. colleges serving minorities and other at-risk populations.

This is the first year that the finance department and the IEM have cooperated on a conference. Professor Jarjisu Sa-Aadu, finance department chair, said, "The UI finance department is very enthusiastic and delighted to participate in this conference. We are eager to share our expertise and exchange ideas with conference participants concerning issues that affect the most dynamic markets in the world, the U.S. financial markets."

Faculty attendees with IEM experience will show less-experienced attendees how they can integrate the IEM into classroom instruction. Financial market industry professionals from Nasdaq, along with finance faculty experts led by UI Associate Professor Thomas George, will also speak about current issues in financial markets. In addition to receiving hands-on experience with the IEM trading platform, students will learn about careers in finance.

Operated by six UI business faculty, the IEM is a small-scale, real money electronic futures market that operates under the auspices of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It is located at tippie.uiowa.edu/iem> on the Internet. While it is best known for its political markets designed to predict election outcomes, the IEM also trades in other contracts whose eventual payoffs are tied to real-world economic and political events. By participating in the IEM, students prepare to trade in larger volume capital markets.

Through assignments and IEM trading activities, students develop critical skills in technology, financial markets, and economics, said Robert Forsythe, senior associate dean of the Tippie College of Business and IEM co-director. Forsythe said that research has shown that active, hands-on learning is particularly beneficial for non-traditional students and those from underrepresented populations. "The IEM has all of the elements for productive, active learning. Students can apply concepts from classes to market decisions, interact with and learn from the market, and use the market as a gateway for their own explorations in economics, finance and related fields," he added.

Since 1997, the IEM has had support from the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation and Nasdaq Stock Market Educational Foundation to develop economic literacy programs at two- and four-year teaching institutions where there are significant populations of "students at-risk." These include institutions with minority students, first generation college students, rural community college students and non-traditional students. IEM staff and faculty have worked with faculty from 43 institutions and have traveled to many of them to conduct training sessions and share information.

According to Forsythe, a centralized conference offers several advantages by attracting faculty from a broad range of colleges and universities and enlisting faculty participants who can interact with and learn from one another. The participants can also focus on the learning objectives without encountering the distractions that exist at their normal workplaces, and the conference can offer a broad range of topics from which participants can choose.

The Nasdaq Stock Market Educational Foundation, Inc., was established in 1994 to advance knowledge of business, economics, and finance. The Foundation is particularly interested in projects or programs that foster economic literacy, promote understanding of the capital formation process, and/or provide an education on how securities markets operate and function.

For more information about the IEM and its educational programs, call (319) 335-0794.


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