I have the distinct privilege of serving as the interim dean in an excellent business school (Cameron School of Business) at an excellent university (University of North Carolina Wilmington) in a state which has historically made a large commitment to education (North Carolina). I do, however, believe that there is an “overlooked” educational opportunity: financial literacy. My hunch is that I could say this anywhere I lived.
In the Cameron School of Business, we do a great job of teaching the functional areas of a business enterprise. Our students understand that they will be working in a global marketplace, even if they choose to remain in North Carolina. Our students understand the importance, as well as the potential frustrations, of teamwork. Our students understand social responsibility and decision making within an ethical context. In sum, the CSB produces excellent graduates with in-depth training.
We put diligent effort into developing ethical, innovative graduates who are capable of critical thinking and who are organizationally effective. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, we witness a great need in training all students, throughout all grade levels, with skills in creating and sustaining financially responsible decision making to cope with life’s contingencies as well as the financial demands of retirement.
Recent newspaper headlines criticize the growing levels of student debt (and default); question the financial return on a college education; show that many families cannot develop or adhere to a budget; or point out the inadequacy of planning for retirement. It seems that society has deemed these as areas one should learn individually, and classes in personal finance could certainly help. The mandated Civics and Economics course at the 10th-grade level is a great start, but more training will be necessary. On the other hand, budgets are already stretched, and it will be difficult to build topics which are not mandated by accreditation agencies into curriculums, whether at the grade school or university level.
While the Cameron School of Business does not have the resources to mount the challenge of financial-responsibility training for all students, we do have one offering, primarily designed for those who are already in or planning to enter the professional area of financial planning. These professionals fill a large void in financial literacy by providing highly marketable services to ensure financial security for their clients.
Our Swain Center for Business and Economic Services will again offer the training program leading to eligibility to sit for the Certified Financial Planner™ designation, beginning in January 2015. Our program has been revamped into a hybrid-learning format to better meet the needs of today’s busy professionals. In essence, students in the program will meet face-to-face on every-other Tuesday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. During the off-weeks, they will work independently on projects, while still benefitting from the instructors expertise, as well as other students in the course, through an electronic framework. With this new hybrid format, the coursework can be reduced to 12 months. Students completing the coursework are eligible to sit for the 10-hour exam developed by the CFP Board of Standards. The program is rigorous, but the results are extremely valuable to financial planners, and ultimately, to their clients.
If you are interested in learning more about the CFP® program or other developmental programs, please contact Jennifer Mackethan in the Swain Center for more information (910.962.2237 or [email protected]).
For 2014-2015, Dr. Robert T. Burrus, Jr. will serve as interim Dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Before taking on the role of interim Dean, Burrus was the department chair for economics and finance and a professor of economics. He has been on Cameron’s faculty since 1998. The Cameron School of Business has 90 full-time faculty members and 29 administrative and staff members. The school hosts approximately 2,000 undergraduate students and 170 graduate students. International students come to study at Cameron from all over the world. The Cameron School of Business is AACSB accredited; offers capstone experiences; houses a Financial Trading Markets Room; provides for overseas learning opportunities; and is a founding member of the Trans-Atlantic Business School Alliance. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit http://csb.uncw.edu/. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].
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