By Katie Peters- Arts Editor
College students learn a lot of valuable skills during their time at school to help them navigate their professional careers. But how many classes are offered to help students navigate adult life? For the past 10 years, Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Neil Hatem has taken one day to teach financial literacy in each class he teaches. Now, Hatem is working to make Intermediate Financial Literacy a required one-credit course for every undergraduate student.
After realizing one day wasn’t sufficient to teach comprehensive financial literacy, Hatem took steps to create his own semester-long course to better educate students. “It started with me giving workshops to my own class,” he says. “Then I started going to some of my friends and colleagues here to their classes… [students] kept saying, ‘can you do that again?’ So I know that kids want this information.”
This semester, he is running an experimental session of IDS217X: Intermediate Financial Literacy with a class of 33 students. He hopes they walk away from the class feeling more confident about handling their personal finances and knowing how to network when needed. The class features many guest speakers such as alumni, a financial advisor and President Michael Alexander to speak about their own financial paths.
Senior Koinonia Howard decided to take this class to prepare herself as she steps into the real world. Through this class, she hopes to learn “what to expect, how to maneuver in different financial situations and just the different language,” she says. “You really need to learn how to budget… and be strategic about how you move.”
Koinonia, along with classmate senior Haley Cannon, advocated for the importance of this class as a new option for students. “I think it’s just a really good [and] real experience instead of looking down at a textbook all class,” says Cannon. “It’s very real and it’s going to get you prepared.” President Alexander was invited to speak to Hatem’s class. Alexander spoke about his financial struggles and how he navigated life in California as a young adult. He agrees with Hatem in saying this course would benefit many students and hopes to see the course grow in the future.
“I wish we can make it mandatory somehow, and that’s my goal. But believe it or not, as President, I don’t get to decide that,” he says. “I’d like to see this grow into something that more students would be exposed to. I don’t think [the course- work is] a big burden, but it helps you the rest of your life.”