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New PEC addition gives students worldview of business

Duane Bonifer
MONMOUTH, Ill. – The Haywood Business Wing of the Monmouth College Center for Science and Business recently received a new addition that professors hope will inspire as well as inform.

Earlier this fall, a pair of electronic screens and a stock ticker were installed at the front of the Haywood Business Wing.

In addition to showing the latest prices of major U.S. stocks, the display also posts details about business markets along with world news supplied by Reuters news service. The display was paid for by a gift to the College’s Political Economy and Commerce (PEC) Department.

“We needed something to say ‘business’ besides just the fact that it says ‘Haywood Business Wing’ up above at the entrance to our department,” said Associate Professor Wendine Bolon, chair of the department. “We wanted something that said ‘business’ the same way the slide rule up on the wall in the Mathematics Department says ‘math.’”

Bolon said that the idea to install a financial news display came from PEC lecturer Tom Prince, who helped lead the project.

In addition to providing students, faculty and staff with current financial news, Bolon said the new display also serves a pedagogical purpose by getting students “to think about some things they might not have thought about before.”

“The whole idea is to not just tell people what’s going on in our department but to also get students excited about the financials – getting them to think, ‘Maybe I should open that app on my phone that I’ve never opened,’” Bolon said. “We want students to ask questions that they will get excited about.”

The electronic display also gives viewers a broad view of the business world, which Bolon said mirrors the PEC department’s multidisciplinary approach to educating students.

“In political economy and commerce, we take a much broader approach to business,” Bolon said. “We think about business, economics, commerce, international trade in a greater context.”

As Bolon points out, it’s also important that students understand how other factors – such as politics, religion, social structures and history – shape and affect business.

“When we talk about political economy and commerce, we mean wrapping the business and economics disciplines in a greater context,” Bolon said. “When students study in our department, they learn in a very multidisciplinary way what it means to engage in business, be a leader or to be an economist in this diverse and dynamic world.”