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UC Center Receives Award As Nation's Top Center
For Promoting Economic Education

Date: Oct. 23, 2002
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Archive: General News

UC's Economics Center for Education & Research has been singled out from among 250 centers of its kind around the nation to receive the first-ever outstanding performance award from the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE).

The center is the recipient of the first Albert Beekhuis Award, given in recognition of outstanding performance in working with teachers and exhibiting excellence in practice, delivery of high-quality programs and outreach to the community.

"A group from our board and economic educators from within our network reviewed a number of outstanding centers, and the unanimous conclusion was that the first Beekhuis award ought to go to the Cincinnati center for clearly fulfilling those criteria of excellence in working with teachers, the delivery of high-quality programs and effective outreach to the business and education community around the center," said NCEE president and chief executive officer Robert Duvall.

UC's Economics Center for Education & Research is one of the most established centers of its kind in the nation, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It has enrolled more than 46,000 teachers representing 50 school districts in its programs, resulting in more than one million students gaining new knowledge about our economy and how it affects their lives.

Within the past year alone, the center has offered 92 separate courses to Tri-state educators. "These centers help us to implement the heart of our mission and method, which is teaching the teachers at the K-12 level how to get economics into the curriculum effectively and make it come alive, so it's not the 'dismal science,' " Duvall said.

When taught creatively, it is anything but that, says George Vredeveld, the UC center's founding director. "These programs have shown dramatic results," he said. "They have shown an increase in (school) attendance of students and an increase in scores on economics tests. But they also have shown an impact on other subjects. Kids buy into their education and see more value in it. Programs are set up so they have practical applications for subjects like math and reading."

For instance, on the national level, the NCEE has just launched a program with partner State Farm Insurance to deliver teaching materials to math teachers around the nation. The principles being taught deal with mathematics, but the context they are being studied in deals with economics.

The UC center offers innovative school programs such as the Student Enterprise Program, which allows hundreds of teachers and students to design and operate their own market economy and democratic civil society as part of the curriculum, and the Stock Market Game. The center is also home to the professional development courses for teachers, as well as an economic research arm that looks at issues of economic development.

"Only a few of our centers conduct research along with their teacher training efforts," Duvall said. "And (the UC center) has been just exemplary in the steady and sure set of offerings they've offered to teachers, so that what they put out is not just sporadic but a sustained effort to extend their impact and deepen their reach."

Duvall also singled out the strength of the relationship between the center and UC as its host university as another laudable aspect that helped set the center up for recognition. NCEE views the UC center as so well set up, in fact, that it often suggests new directors for other centers in its network come to UC as a learning experience in how an economic education center should run.

"We see a great opportunity in this endowed award to send a signal to our network and to the world that what's done in our centers is of tremendous importance," Duvall said. "We think it's more important today than ever before to get to young people a better understanding of how the world works."

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