LAS CRUCES – Ken Miyagishima keeps busy, with his dual role as business owner and mayor of Las Cruces, but he still finds time to share his experience in the insurance and personal finance industry with College of Business students from New Mexico States University, where he teaches a course on the principles of personal finance.
“I’ve always been a big advocate for financial literacy,” said Miyagishima, an NMSU alumnus who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in real estate and finance in 1985. He also recently earned a master’s degree. in business administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Miyagishima currently teaches personal financial planning and investing in a global economy at the College of Business. Students learn some of the basics of personal finance, including taxes; credit; consumer, home and auto loans; Assurance; and retirement planning.
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As he takes on this new role at NMSU in the spring semester, Miyagishima is no stranger to the classroom. He previously taught personal finance at Doña Ana Community College from 1990 to 1996. He said he wanted to use the knowledge and experience he gained over the years to benefit NMSU students and the community. .
Miyagishima said he contacted Professor Tim Query of the College of Business’s finance department to express his interest in teaching a course, and department head Ken Martin was happy to accept the offer.
“He also has a public role as mayor of Las Cruces, so he’s a busy guy, but we appreciate him being able to fit into his schedule and teach for us,” Martin said, who is also professor of finance at Regents.
The Miyagishima course is a “Broader World Viewing” course at NMSU, which means that any student can take the course without any prerequisites. There are 45 students enrolled this semester, and many of them come from outside the College of Business. He said it’s crucial that all students learn the importance of planning for their financial future.
“My students today are engineering, wildlife science, criminal justice majors,” he said. “They haven’t been exposed to budgets, money, investments, things of that nature, and that’s important to them because they’re going to earn a good income, but if they don’t know how to save for retirement in the future when the time comes and they’re ready to retire, they won’t have it there. So my goal is to teach them.
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Martin said Miyagishima sets an example for students to explore new heights within the college while providing a unique learning experience.
“I think it could be very beneficial for students because they can see someone in person who has been involved in the private sector, who has started an insurance agency and who is now a district manager, but who also takes on a public role, which is what it takes to have real proactive government within the community,” Martin explained. “He’s a real role model for a lot of these students.”
Miyagishima said this course is meant to be a face-to-face learning experience, but can implement blended learning for students who sometimes need to attend virtually. Nevertheless, he explained that his teaching method was not based solely on the textbook.
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“I try to share with them concrete examples and concrete solutions that are not in a textbook,” he said. “I appreciate it. It’s fun, and if I can help change and increase their awareness, that’s all I hope to do.
“Ken is a great example of our department’s ability to use community members and professionals from different industries to come to class, teach a lesson, and share their expertise,” Martin said. “I hope students will understand, even if they are not majoring in business or finance, they can still enter the financial services industry at different levels and in different companies.”
As for the future, Miyagishima said he would also like to explore teaching a government or political science course and hopes to teach that course again in the fall.