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UI Hosts Nasdaq/IEM Conference April 11-13

Twenty-five faculty and students from across the U.S. gathered recently at the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business to learn about financial markets, and how the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) can be used to enhance economic education.

Funded by grants from the NASDAQ Educational Foundation and the National Science Foundation, the NASDAQ/ IEM Interdisciplinary Educational Alliance Securities Market Conference was held April 11-13 at the John Pappajohn Business Building.

The NASDAQ Educational Foundation and the National Science Foundation provided funding for the conference that targeted faculty and students from historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other colleges that serve significant populations of "at risk" students. Faculty and students came from many different georgraphic areas and backgrounds, ranging from Southern University, a historically African-American university in Baton Rouge, La., to Santa Monica College, a Los Angeles community college serving a largely Hispanic population.

On April 11, participants heard from financial market industry professionals and UI finance faculty experts on asset securitization, a method of financing corporate and consumer credit. This portion of the conference featured Weston Rose, a finance analyst at John Deere Credit; Greg Podhajsky, director of structured finance at AEGON, U.S.A.; and J. Sa-Aadu, Chester A. Phillips Professor of Business Finance and Real Estate and department executive officer at the Tippie College. Jon Garfinkel, assistant professor of finance at the Tippie College, gave a presentation on capital markets and firm value, based on his recent research in the area.

Tiara Harper, a business administration major from Delaware State University said the conference was a rewarding experience for her, because it introduced her to different concepts of asset securitization. " I also enjoyed attending the recruiting session for the University of Iowa's MBA program. It was very helpful in my quest for graduate school. In addition, this conference made me realize the importance of investments in the stock," she said.

On April 12 and 13, attendees learned about the Iowa Electronic Markets, including how to deliver an online course and recent developments with the IEM. The audience included faculty and students who have never used the IEM, as well as a number of seasoned IEM participants.

"I learned a great deal about the IEM and how it relates to a real market. The purpose is to understand what factors affect the market. I will definitely use the information that I received from the conference in the near future," said Sophara Pryce, an accounting major from Delaware State University, who used the IEM for the first time at the conference.

Faculty and students also shared information about "best practices" for integrating the IEM into instruction. Robert Angell, an accounting professor at North Carolina A & T University, has used the IEM in his classes and finds it to be a great way to get students involved in their studies.

"It's a good way to get students to do something more than just read their textbooks," he said.

"By participating in the IEM, students prepare to trade in larger volume capital markets and develop critical skills in technology, financial markets, and economics," explained Robert Forsythe, senior associate dean of the Tippie College of Business and IEM co-director. "This conference allowed us to make this curriculum available to a wider audience, increasing its impact on students in underserved populations."

Operated by six faculty at the UI's Henry B. Tippie College of Business, the IEM is a small-scale, real-money electronic futures market that operates under the auspices of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Located at tippie.uiowa.edu/iem>, the IEM trades contracts whose eventual payoffs are tied to real-world economic and political events.

This conference was one of a continuing series of IEM initiatives. Since 1997, the IEM has received continuous support from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the NASDAQ Educational Foundation to develop economic literacy programs at two- and four-year teaching institutions where there are significant populations of "students at-risk." To date, IEM staff and faculty have worked with faculty from 43 institutions, conducting market training sessions and sharing information.

Colleges and Universities represented in the conference included Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Scott Community College in Iowa, Santa Monica College in California, North Carolina A&T State University, University of Texas-Pan American, Southern University in Louisiana, and Husson College in Maine.


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