| Program: || African American Economic Experience, Baton Rouge, LA |
| Contact(s): || Dr. Donald R. Andrews and Dr. Ashagre A. Yigletu: (504) 771-2992 |
| Purpose: || To integrate the role of race, gender and entrepreneurship into the economics curriculum at the College of Business at Southern University |
The African American Economic Experience (AAEE) is funded by the Morehouse Research Institute and the Ford Foundation, with matching funds from the College of Business at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The program started in January of 1997 as a result of a national forum sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation on integrating race and gender issues into the economics curriculum. This was followed by a meeting at Benedict College in South Carolina that was attended by over 35 historically black colleges and universities that have economics departments. Proposals were submitted and funded in January of 1998 at the National Economics Association annual meeting in Chicago. The AAEE was started based on the need to generate a greater understanding of the importance of economics and entrepreneurship in providing solutions to social and economic problems in the black community. The principal goals of this project are: to enable black students to develop an economic framework for understanding and analyzing the major economic and social problems prevailing in the black community; to increase the number of black economists who will be future educators and researchers; and, to promote greater economic understanding and to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit in the black community.
AAEE integrates integrating race, gender, and entrepreneurship into at least four courses of the economics curriculum. It also enhances students' understanding of basic economic concepts by designing and developing pedagogical methods such as experimental learning, on-site learning and computer-aided instruction. The seven members who teach economics attend faculty development programs on integrating race, gender, entrepreneurship and other related topics into their course syllabi. To aid the mission of the program, AAEE develops four instructional handbooks, two working papers, and two publications on the "Black Economic Experience: Integrating the Role of Gender, Race and Entrepreneurship into the Economics Curriculum." The project specifically increases the number of students who are economics majors going to graduate schools by at least 25 percent. These students are involved in research, paper presentation and publication activities, and they can participate in internships in the community with small businesses and professional organizations. The community is involved by establishing a "Community Economic Education Forum" for increasing economic literacy both on campus and the local black community. The forum facilitates interaction and discussion among faculty, students, the community, local area economists and other invited speakers on current economic issues and policies. The AAEE is working to increase the economics understanding and entrepreneurial skill of at least 32 local entrepreneurs by providing them with computer-aided workshops on using the Internet and other business software.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
In its first year, 150 students have participated in the new curriculum. In the next year, the AAEE will expand to reach 1,700 students. This program complements the Entrepreneurship Training and Technical Assistance Program conducted by the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization in the United States Department of Transportation.