University News

Western Illinois University Forms the School of Accounting, Finance, Economics and Decision Sciences

November 13, 2020

Printer friendly version

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University has merged five undergraduate majors, three master's degrees and one post-baccalaureate certificate to form the School of Accounting, Finance, Economics and Decision Sciences (AFED). The new school, located within the College of Business and Technology, will allow curricular synergies between the multiple disciplines.

This merger will serve as an opportunity to strengthen the curriculum, encourage collaboration between the students and faculty across the disciplines and benefit WIU overall.

"Although each of the four primary academic disciplines is distinct and valued in their individual contributions, there are also fantastic synergies and complementarities between them," said Jessica Lin, interim director of the School of AFED. "For instance, nearly all quantitatively-minded business students need to be well versed in methods of data visualization; the use of predictive analytics models are being deployed to assist with auditing and fraud detection; and behavioral finance is one of the fastest-growing subfields of finance and it employs many of the findings from behavioral economics."

The Bachelor of Business in Accounting is the largest undergraduate major in the new school, with over 200 registered students. The BB in Business Analytics and the M.S. in Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics are the newest programs, and Lin said they have been growing every year since their formations.

"Knowing what we know now, in a world with COVID-19, the timing of this merger for the Quad Cities community is perfect," said Jennifer McGarry, assistant professor of accounting.
"This merger leverages the strengths of four strong degree programs, which will provide WIU-QC students with more opportunities to develop high-demand skills necessary to be competitive in the current job market."

The faculty members in the newly-formed school agree this new merger will be a benefit for students.

"The merger of the four disciplines will provide extra space for economies of scale that will allow both the students and the faculty to tap into the benefits of an interdisciplinary interaction," said Shankar Ghimire, assistant professor of economics and graduate advisor for the M.S. in quantitative economics. "Those students who were centered on one side of the house now have more flexibility to reach out to the students and faculty from the other disciplines. Faculty across the four disciplines have a diverse background and already engage in cross-disciplinary research. I am genuinely excited for cross-pollination in producing knowledge that will benefit both the students and faculty members."

"Economics motivates nearly all the decisions we make in life and especially in business. The disciplines of accounting, finance and decision sciences are all equally important contributors in the creation of information used to optimize economic decision making. The overlapping tools, techniques and objectives of the disciplines make me excited about the future of our new School of AFED," added Charles Pryor and Soon Suk Yoon, professors of accounting.

For more information on the newly formed School of Accounting, Finance, Economics and Decision Sciences, visit

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing