Annual Report 2015 – 2016

The Economics and Finance Department provides quality business education, delivered by research engaged faculty in partnership with the business community, to prepare students for professional careers and enhance regional economic development.

The Economics and Finance Department values:

  • Respect for our diverse students, colleagues and communities
  • Integrity in our professional conduct
  • Commitment to continuous improvement
  • Accountability for our actions and results.

The Economics and Finance Department serves as a catalyst to advance education and economic development in the state of Arkansas.

The Economics and Finance faculty published four peer-reviewed journal articles and gave eight academic conference presentations during 2015-2016.  Several faculty were interviewed for newspaper, radio or TV reports, and op-eds from the faculty were published in a variety of newspapers across the country. Dr. Matt McMahon served as economic expert in a ScienceCafe Little Rock in May 2016.

Dr. Ken Galchus, the Director of the Kenneth Pat Wilson Center  for Economic Education, organized and delivered seminars for Economics Arkansas’ audience of K-12 teachers. The workshops cover economics and finance topics and applications that can be used in K-12 classrooms. Dr. Galchus also organized and delivered financial literacy workshops for the Department of Community Corrections.

Dr. Ashvin Vibhakar, the Ford Chair of Finance, organized an ethics forum "Ethics is more than Semantics, it makes Business Sense," held on April 7, 2016. Nearly 200 finance and accounting professionals attended the event, which was held in the atrium of the College of Business Reynolds Building.

Dr. Matt McMahon and Dr. Zi Jia opened the TREE (Trojan Experimental Economics-Finance) Lab in the Spring semester. The lab will experimentally test economic and finance hypotheses about human behavior.

A team of four finance majors, coached by Dr. Vibhakar, competed in the CFA Research Challenge in February, 2016, held in Memphis.

A team of four economics and finance majors, competing as Drone Surveying Solution, won the undergraduate division of the 16th Annual Donald W. Reynolds Governors Cup. The team also won the AT&T Elevator Pitch competition as part of the Governor's Cup competition.

The College of Business curriculum management plan assesses the degree to which student learning outcomes meet the College of Business learning objectives. In 2015-2016, the College assessed the development of student presentation skills. In addition to the College assessment, finance students were assessed using the MFT assessment and a departmental test in Finc 4395 Advanced Financial Management.  The Economics students were assessed using the MFT assessment and presentations from Econ 4320 International Economics. Overall the finance and economics students matched the MFT national norms in finance, economics and quantitative analysis.

The Department of Economics and Finance has 3 priorities for the year. The first priority is to increase the number of students taking economics and finance classes. The department will be working with other departments in the College and on campus to explore interdisciplinary options and joint programs to attract more students. The second priority is to develop our faculty, with particular attention to junior faculty. Following several recent retirements, the Economics faculty now consists of one professor, one associate professor, and three assistant professors. We will be mentoring the junior faculty regarding their teaching and research. The third priority is to raise the profile of the department. We will continue reaching out to the community to explore new program needs. We will increase the online advertisement of the ongoing engagement of our faculty with external constituencies.