Institutes kick off in July

Economics Institute participants discover the excitement of markets.

Economics Institute participants discover the excitement of markets.

Institutes in economics and personal finance are set for July at JMU. The institutes are geared toward, but not limited to, teachers of the required high school class in personal finance and economics.

The Economics Institute, set for July 7-8-9 and 14-15-16, covers the economics portion of the class with instruction on content, methods and materials. The Personal Finance Institute, set for July 21-25, not only covers the personal finance part of the course but also provides excellent materials for personal financial planning by teachers.

The institutes, coordinated by the Virginia Council on Economic Education, are free to participants, thanks to generous financial support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the BB&T Charitable Foundation, Capital One, the Genworth Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc., the SunTrust Foundation, the Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation and Wells Fargo.

Enrollment update: The Economics Institute is full, but there may be cancellations that will free up space. If you register at (economics) you’ll get an update on availability. Places remain available in the Personal Finance Institute; register at

Article on Yellen appears in Social Education

UntitledAn article for high school teachers on the challenges facing the Federal Reserve, coauthored by JMU’s William Wood, appeared in the March-April version of Social EducationSocial Education is the flagship journal of the National Council for the Social Studies. In the article, “Undoing Quantitative Easing: Janet Yellen’s Tiger Ride,” Wood and his coauthors showed how aggressive intervention by the Fed may be difficult to unwind in the face of continued sluggishness in the economy and difficulties of measurement. The article begins by quoting a proverb: “One who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount,” and demonstrates the complications of reducing intervention in money and credit markets. The article also notes Yellen’s strengths as she takes over as the first female chair of the Fed’s Board of Governors, and the continuity of her policy views with those of predecessor Ben S. Bernanke. Wood coauthored the article with M. Scott Niederjohn of Lakeland College and Mark C. Schug of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Rockingham-Harrisonburg prizes expanded

A new prize and increased cash awards are among the highlights of economic education awards competition in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg for 2014. Under the new structure, there will be an overall $1000 grand prize and a $750 reserve grand prize. In addition, there will be grade-level awards in four categories: PK-3, 4-5, middle school and high school. For each category, the new first-place prize money is $500. Second place in each category carries a $300 prize and the third place award will be $200. A total of 12 category prizes and two overall prizes are being funded in the new structure.

The increased funding was made possible by Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc., the nonprofit organization that funds teacher outreach through the JMU Center for Economic Education. SVEE joins the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and Harrisonburg-Rockingham in sponsoring the annual awards competition.

To enter, just teach a lesson or unit with economic content, write up what you did, and get it to the Center for Economic Education before the June 16 deadline. Lynne Stover of the JMU Center is available to consult with you throughout the process. Our number one tip: don’t throw anything away! (Pictures, student work and other materials are vital in showing the judges what you did.)

All entries into the local competition are automatically forwarded to state competition for judging. There are multiple prizes at the state level, sponsored by the Virginia Council on Economic Education.

Call for hosts and co-presenters

We are currently working on the economic education workshop schedule for fall 2014. If you would be interested in hosting one of our workshops at your school, please contact Lynne Stover. If you’re a host, then all your school is asked to provide is the room on the scheduled day and time. We do the rest, bringing materials and refreshments. We handle enrollment and printing of certificates for participants. In addition to hosts, we’re also looking for co-presenters, who would handle part of the workshop teaching duties along with Lynne. Lynne has a lot of experience tag-team teaching and will happily make your role as large or as small as you’d prefer for it to be. Contact Lynne if you’re interested.

GEM Fair video available

The annual GEM Fair was held at JMU’s Festival Conference Center. This video tells the story of the GEM Fair, using a student narrator. At a GEM Fair, students from area Mini-Economies bring products from their classroom economies for a simulated international market place. (GEM Fair stands for “Global Entrepreneurship Marketplace Fair.”)