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Austrian economics program denied

Master’s program did not get approval from Academic Affairs committee

On August 26, 2011

Strong opinions and much discussion led the Standing Council for Academic Planning to reject the College of Business' proposal for a master's degree program.

The College of Business proposed an Austrian economics master's program to the Standing Council for Academic Planning, a committee within the provost's office that oversees changes in academic programs, during the committee's March 22 meeting. The committee rejected the proposal several meetings later due to disagreements about the program's funding and consequences of its approval.

Bill Barnett and Dan D'Amico, economics professors for the College of Business, initially proposed the master's program to the committee. According to D'Amico, the master's program was designed to take advantage of the expertise and public reputations of the economics faculty. It was also intended to promote student success—something the College of Business takes pride in, D'Amico said.

Reasons for rejection include the program's initial budget and funding plan. Barnett said in the initial proposal that the College of Business would raise $9 million to endow the program. A representative from the Stranding Council for Academic Planning was not available to comment.

Maria Cuadra, business senior and president of the Economics Club, said she believes this new program would have benefited both the undergraduate and graduate programs.

"Master's students would be able to become members of the Economics Club and consistently expose their working papers and research topics on panels. Undergraduate students interested in this discipline will have the opportunity to be actively involved in these research processes," Cuadra said.

According to D'Amico, Austrian economics incorporates human factors such as uncertainty, ignorance, morality, culture and faith. D'Amico also stressed that Austrian economics emphasizes the history of economic thought. The unique strategies of Austrian economics, which are values of the Loyola mission, would have been a major aspect of the MA program, he said.

Professors are not the only supporters of an Austrian economics program. Over 330 students worldwide expressed interest in the master's program through a survey the College of Business shared through Facebook and several Austrian economics networks.

Cuadra said she believes an Austrian economics master's program would be good for Loyola.

"The level of research at the university will increase, and students are going to be more exposed to the fresh, new ideas of graduate students," Cuadra said.

Although it was not approved, D'Amico said the College of Business has not given up on this master's program.

Jamie Futral can be contacted at

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