The University of Texas-Pan American is working to help teenagers become responsible with money by giving their teachers a crash course in economics and personal finance this summer.
The University's College of Business Administration and College of Education have joined with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Texas Council on Economic Education in providing a daylong workshop July 13 called "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Teaching Students Economics and Personal Finance" for high school-level educators.
The workshop, which will be at UTPA's College of Education, was designed by the Dallas Fed to train educators how to teach their students about financial literacy, credit and debt management so the youths can make better decisions when they are older.
Topics addressed in the sessions are: "Economic Thought in Individual Decision Making," "Decision Making at the Institutional Level: Overview of the Federal Reserve," "Teaching the Ethical Foundations of Economic Decision Making," "Financially Literate Consumers Make Better Decision Makers," and "Taking Conference Content Back to the Classroom." Teachers will also learn about the major economic issues affecting the Mexican and American sides of the border.
Bill Gilmer, vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, will give a special address on the South Texas border economy. U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa also has been invited to give the opening address.
The event's organizers said the country's recent economic turmoil shows how important it is to teach youth to be responsible with their money and make well-educated decisions.
"The last five or 10 years have shown us that easy credit leads to problems," said Dr. Teofilo Ozuna, dean of the College of Business Administration. "What easy credit does is it doesn't let you be as prudent with the use of your money as much as you need to be."
High school and college students can find themselves in much trouble if they don't make wise decisions. Programs such as the one UTPA, the Dallas Fed and the council are hosting can help them make better choices, Ozuna said.
The College of Business Administration has been conducting these workshops for years but teamed up with the College of Education as part of the University's push for more collaboration among its six colleges, Ozuna said.
"It shows how the University is beginning to combine the colleges. The College of Education has the relationships with the school teachers and the pedagogy that goes on there, and our college has the expertise in finance and the economics, so combining those disciplines really leads to a more solid workshop," he said.
Dr. Hector Ochoa, dean of the College of Education, said the workshop will also allow teachers to receive professional development required by the state from experts in the fields they teach.
"This is a really good opportunity for teachers in public schools who teach economics or financial planning," he said. "Teachers will be exposed to material that's current. These types of professional development opportunities are not very common."
Ochoa said his college sent out letters to superintendents and high school principals throughout Region One, which includes the Rio Grande Valley. Region One Education Service Center also helped spread the word to public school districts.
The workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration costs $15 and the deadline to sign up is July 1. To register online, visit www.dallasfed.org and click on "Economic Education-Events."