Dr. Kathaleena Edward Monds, professor of information systems in the Albany State University College of Business was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $11,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation. The winning proposal is entitled, Using Information Systems to explore Economic Freedom: African-Americans and Free Enterprise. The grant will engage a cross-disciplinary group of students in lectures and book discussions about economic freedom, private enterprise, and the free market through a book club. The works of Frederick Douglass, Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell will be examined to help students understand the history of African-Americans in a market economy.
The club, known as Sankofa (which means to return, to go, to look, to seek) creates an environment where undergraduate students at ASU will learn about economics from past history and apply the information to future economic decisions. According to Monds, understanding economic freedom is germane to understanding the roles and responsibilities of being a citizen. Economic education can no longer be taught in a silo and limited to economics courses (i.e. microeconomics and macroeconomics). Economic freedom in the African-American community should be explored from a holistic approach, she says.
Monds says the concept for the project and grant proposal was conceived during a recent visit to Oklahoma State University. I had an opportunity to visit the historical Black Wall Street (in Tulsa), which during the 1900s served as the mecca for free enterprise among African-Americans of that era. Black Wall Street, like the Black Bottom (in Detroit) and Auburn Avenue (in Atlanta) have always been landmarks of wealth and economic viability. As such, I thought that engaging students in reading the works of Frederick Douglass, and modern day economists, would be an excellent way to stimulate intellectual discussions and research around the topic of economic freedom, she explained.
The grant will pay program expenses which kick off in the spring semester. Students will begin reading the books. Lectures and weekly book sessions are scheduled to take place in the fall semester (via webinars). Proceeds from the grant will also pay stipends to student leaders.
Monds, co-director of the Center for Economic Education/Small and Minority Entrepreneurship holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Spelman College, a Master of Science in Computer Science and a Doctorate in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University.
For more information contact the ASU Office of University Communications at (229) 430-4671.