ECU personal finance instructors inspire students to save $100,000

ECU College of Business professors, left to right, Bill Pratt, Len Rhodes and Mark Weitzel taught students about saving money during a personal finance class at East Carolina University. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

 

Three personal finance instructors in the East Carolina University College of Business challenged their students to save $50,000 this past semester by taking tips and ideas from class to change their spending behaviors. Together the 500 students saved more than $130,000.

“We were hoping to help our students save up to $50,000 for the year, averaging to $100 per student,” said Bill Pratt, one of the instructors. “I couldn’t help but smile as I tallied the amount of savings.”

The challenge was simple: students were asked to submit any changes in their behavior that resulted in spending less and saving more  ̶  even securing a paid internship or part-time job counted. The submission did not count as part of their course grade; instead student names were entered into a drawing for several $50 gift cards.

“We begin the semester by discussing jobs, careers and the importance of internships. From there we move into basic financial topics such as how to create a college budget, how to pay for college, how to save on the cost of a car, how to buy insurance and many other personal finance topics,” said Mark Weitzel, who created the course more than 10 years ago.

“We wanted a fun way to demonstrate to our students that making good financial decisions as a result of what they learn in class is easy and will make a real difference in their lives.”

The savings ranged from reducing the number of times students dine out or buy gourmet coffee to saving thousands of dollars on the purchase of a car. One student saved an average of $100 per month by riding his bike to school. Another student stopped buying a snack before her first class and saved more than $50 each month.

One couple kept heating and cooling costs to a minimum by turning the thermostat low in the winter and high in the summer, bundling up when it was cold and taking advantage of cool mornings in the summer by opening windows. Some students even earned a paid internship or asked for and received a pay raise at their job. One student in particular applied to be a resident advisor on campus and was offered the position, which covers room and board and provides a monthly stipend.

“Our goal is to teach students enough about money so they know the right questions to ask and where to find the answers they need. We want our students to know enough so that no one can take advantage of their financial inexperience,” said Len Rhodes, one of the instructors.

The personal finance class at ECU is a three credit hour elective course that fills to its 500 student capacity each semester. The instructors authored the textbook for the class and all net proceeds from the sale of the book go to financial literacy initiatives on ECU’s campus.

The instructors also recently penned a book called “How to Keep Your Kid from Moving Back Home after College,” which gives parents the tools and knowledge they need to help their children develop good personal financial habits.

For more information about ECU’s financial literacy initiatives or the personal finance course, contact teaching instructor Mark Weitzel at weitzelm@ecu.edu.

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Medical & Health Sciences Foundation names new board members, officers

The East Carolina University Medical & Health Sciences Foundation has announced new officers and new directors for 2012. This foundation serves ECU’s Health Sciences Division.

The new officers for the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation are:

James (Jim) W. Chesnutt, chairman

New ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation officers, left to right, are James W. Chesnutt, chairman, and Richard Brown, vice chairman (Contributed photo).

James W. Chesnutt graduated from East Carolina University in 1963 and completed UNC-Chapel Hill’s Young Executive Program in 1975. He has served as president and CEO of National Spinning Co. Inc., in Washington, N.C. since 1997 after working at Bank of America and Harriet and Henderson Yarns. He sits on the boards of directors at National Spinning Co., the North Carolina Manufacturers Association, the ECU College of Business Advisory Council and the ECU Board of Visitors. He is chair of the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation and the National Council of Textile Organizations.

Richard Brown, vice chairman

Richard Brown served as the CFO of East Carolina University for 15 years before his retirement as executive vice chancellor for administration in 2004. A magna cum laude graduate in accounting from SUNY Binghamton, Brown worked four years as a CPA before starting a 15-year financial management career at SUNY Stony Brook. A member of the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation board of directors since 2005, he has chaired the budget committee for much of that time as well as serving on the executive, audit and engagement committees. Brown resides in Emerald Isle, where he continues to use his professional experience and talents in various consulting and volunteer activities.

Stacy Brody, secretary

Stacy Brody

Stacy Brody was raised in Norfolk, Va. and attended the University of Maryland, where she earned a degree in journalism. Brody moved to Greenville 27 years ago and served as a buyer for Brody’s until after her children were born. She is an active community volunteer and currently serves on the boards of directors for the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation, Friends of the Ronald McDonald House, Women for Women and Congregation Bayt Shalom.

New members of the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation are:

Jon Day

Jonathan R. Day is a 1975 graduate of ECU with a BSBA. He has worked in the real estate business for 35 years in Greenville and eastern North Carolina. He is president and founder of Jon Day & Associates, a commercial real estate firm based in Greenville. He is a member of the Greenville Pitt Association of Realtors. He has served as past chairman of the Greenville Greenways Committee and previously served nine years on the Medical Foundation.

Douglas C. Privette, MD, FACC

Douglas C. Privette, MD, FACC, started medical school with the first class at ECU’s medical school in 1972. He graduated in 1976 and completed his internship and residency at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1979. Board certified in internal medicine and cardiology, Privette started private practice in internal medicine and cardiology in 1981 with Quadrangle Internal Medicine and Cardiology. In 1985, he started the interventional cardiology program at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in 1985, started Regional Cardiology in 1992 and Coastal Carolina Cardiology in 1999. He retired in 2009 and currently serves as the director of regional cardiology at the East Carolina Heart Institute at Vidant Health Systems.

New ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation board members, left to right, Douglas C. Privette and Jon Day. (Contributed photo)

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ECU to offer new master of science program

The Department of Health Services and Information Management has received the official notification from the UNC Board of Governors to establish the master of science in health informatics and information management program starting in fall 2013.

The MS in HIIM program is designed to prepare health informaticians and information managers who will work to lead, develop and implement clear and effective health information strategies within and across health care organizations.

The establishment of the MS in HIIM program is a direct response to the emerging strong workforce needs from the field as well as the vision of the national association, American Health Information Management Association, to transform health information management to a graduate level education by 2016.

The program at ECU is the second such program approved within the UNC constituent institutions. The program will be offered both on campus and via distance education.

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College of Education hosts 232 clinical teachers

The East Carolina University College of Education hosted 232 clinical teachers in the Latham Clinical School Network March 14 and March 28.

The event provided activities centered around the theme of Crucial Conversations with clinical teachers regarding Teacher Performance Assessment and Electronic Evidences required for teacher education students. Teacher education students need those materials to complete their portfolios for licensure recommendation.

Sessions were presented by faculty members in the College of Education.

Attendees represented Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Edgecombe, Granville, Greene, Hertford, Johnston, Lenoir, Martin, Nash-Rocky Mount, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson County School Systems.

The event was organized by the Office of Professional Development and Student Outreach in the College of Education.

For more information, contact Christa Monroe (monroec@ecu.edu) or call the Office of Professional Development and Student Outreach at 252-328-2950.

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