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Scott Niederjohn, Lakeland College's Charlotte and Walter Kohler Assistant Professor of Economics and Business, Wednesday was named a 2011 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award winner by The Governor's Council on Financial Literacy.
The winners, which include individuals and organizations, are recognized for their work to advance the cause of personal financial knowledge among Wisconsin citizens.
"The recipients of the Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award are helping Wisconsinites of all ages improve their personal finance skills in our schools, in the workplace and in communities across the state," Governor Scott Walker said. "These citizen leaders equip students, parents, peers and consumers with the necessary tools to make informed decisions about their own money, which improves individual quality of life, as well as the Wisconsin economy."
Niederjohn was recognized along with Mark Schug, professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, for their work in creating and conducting a series of two-day seminars for teachers, journalists, clergy, non-profit managers and elected officials titled "Economics for Opinion Leaders Workshop." These workshops have been held over the past three years.
The seminars introduce opinion leaders to the economic way of thinking which stresses choices, costs, incentives, rules of the economic system, trade and gains from trade. It includes supply and demand analysis, the basic institutions of a market economy including private property rights, profit motive, consumer sovereignty, competition and freedom of contract. There are a series of interactive exercises to demonstrate key points.
"Economic and financial education helps opinion leaders understand how our market system works," Niederjohn said. "It can also help them to become more effective in their everyday work. A new level of economic understanding can help teachers, religious leaders and journalists prepare more insightful lessons, sermons and articles. It can help managers of non-profits understand how the missions of their organizations can be advanced through the operation of free markets."
A member of Lakeland's faculty since 2004, Niederjohn also serves as chair of the college's business administration division, and is director of Lakeland's Center for Economic Education, which he created. His research has been featured in numerous academic journals, and his research and thoughts on public policy and other state issues regularly have him quoted by statewide media outlets.
The financial literacy award recipients were selected from 45 nominations submitted for consideration. Criteria used in the screening process included innovative implementation, demonstrated measureable results, collaboration with partners, whether the effort was statewide or had the potential to be statewide and whether the effort was focused on needs-based groups.
"Many of these efforts can be replicated in other parts of the state," Walker said. "The Governor's Council on Financial Literacy is eager to help facilitate the implementation of personal financial literacy programs in school districts and communities throughout Wisconsin."
Created by executive order last spring, The Governor's Council on Financial Literacy is working to measurably improve the financial literacy of Wisconsin citizens.