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Wharton is turning a disaster into a learning experience.

Following the eruption of the current economic crisis, the University approved a new course: "The Economic and Financial Crisis: Causes, Consequences and Policy Options."

The course, which is pass/fail and earns students half a course credit unit, focuses on the intricacies of the economic situation.

It is coordinated by Mauro Guillen, Wharton professor of Management and Sociology, but each lecture features a different professor who contributes his or her expertise on the topic. The first lecture will take place Tuesday.

The course will analyze the causes and consequences of the current economic and financial crisis from the United States, Europe, Japan, China, Russia, Latin America and the Middle East, according to the syllabus.

The syllabus goes on to list the course topics, which will include the macroeconomic aspects of the crisis, financial innovation, global contagion, the role of central banks and multilateral agencies and the impact of the crisis on banks, stock markets, insurance and private equity.

Grades will depend on class participation and reaction papers.

"This course will be a great experience and is an example of Wharton being creative," said Wharton senior Justin Fox. He added that, since he plans to go into finance services, the ramifications of the crisis will definitely affect his colleagues as well as himself.

Julie Johnson, a Wharton senior, called the course "incredible." She said that she is interested in how the financial situation unraveled from an academic prospective. She insisted, "The financial industry will never be the same."

The first lecture will be given by Jeremy Siegel of the Finance department. He said he plans to discuss the crisis and markets.

"Being at Penn during the financial crisis and being given the chance to learn about it from industry experts really encapsulates the reasons why I wanted to come to a school like Penn," wrote Sakina Zaidi, a junior in both Wharton and the College, in an e-mail.

Guillen said that the class will benefit more than just the students who take it.

"Students will get first-hand analysis and opinions from some of the world's experts on the crisis, faculty will have a forum to participate in the public debate about how to surmount the crisis," he wrote in an e-mail. "The Wharton School as a whole will be able to show that not only it cares about the crisis but that it can make a contribution to solving it."

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