Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City University Professors Setting Aside Class Curricula to Address Financial Troubles

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City University Professors Setting Aside Class Curricula to Address Financial Troubles

Article excerpt

Jonathan Willner had clearly defined plans for the year that didn't involve failed banks and a stock market crash.

But he and other business and economics professors at Oklahoma City University's Meinders School of Business are happy to set aside their class curricula - at least for a while - for what they hope is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"If you have something that's this significant and has immediate application in the classroom, and it is important for their future in a lot of respects, I've got no problem taking something else out of my plans," Willner said. "This is a rare teaching opportunity to a lot of students. ... So if I'm going to miss a chapter, I'm willing to do it under these circumstances."

College students had a keenly focused perspective on economic news Tuesday as the nation's congressional leaders argued through a proposed $700 billion financial bailout and potential adjustments to federal deposit insurance. Many students have business or investment dreams of their own after school, business school Dean Vincent Orza said. But they also have direct daily access to experienced academic minds in the field to help them understand what's happening in real time.

The current financial crisis, Orza said, "actually goes across all the disciplines, whether it's marketing, management, economics, accounting, finance. This is a problem that touches every part of business."

Visiting assistant marketing professor Rand Wergin said his master's degree-level class in marketing strategy and decision- making has a diverse international student composition, "and they've been asking questions like, 'How will this affect my home country?' and 'How will that affect decisions we make in the marketplace?' ... Because it's not just American banks; we're also seeing foreign governments respond."

Wergin said most of his students have never seen a real financial crisis or inflation in their lives. Willner agreed, saying the U.S. economy is usually "very, very dull," which makes it difficult for them to apply theory in practice. …

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