Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2016 – Oswego: Mary Tone Rodgers

Mary Tone Rodgers

Mary Tone Rodgers

Mary Tone Rodgers is the Marcia Belmar Willock Professor of Finance at SUNY-Oswego.

In our online Economics MBA course, students hailing from different cultural backgrounds, different industries, different areas of New York State and different stages of career progress weighed in during our weekly discussions. One week, each student analyzed the potential economic effect of a local politician’s policy proposal in his or her hometown or county. Students analyzed policies from Buffalo to Watertown to Long Island in the online forum.

We had a surprising outcome. From the narrow starting perspective of the assignment, we synthesized a broad statewide understanding of how the economic effects of politicians’ proposals sometimes complemented and sometimes contradicted each other. By questioning each other about the policies, students ended up stitching together a statewide understanding of the economic impacts of local policies, a result that would not likely have occurred had we structured the class as a face-to-face learning experience grounded in one classroom in one location. The ability to include students from across the whole state helped us gain a holistic view of how policy proposals might affect our entire state.

Based on that experience, I now frame more discussion forums in like manner. We can build a sense of a New York State community by linking our local perspectives together in Open-SUNY online classrooms.

I worked for a Wall Street investment banking firm for 30 years before joining the SUNY-Oswego faculty as the Marcia Belmar Willock Professor of Finance. Along with teaching, I advise the student-managed portion of Oswego’s endowment fund. As my research specialty, I study how patterns in financial crises can repeat themselves. Recently, the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta invited me to present my latest research on how collapses in commodity prices can accompany financial crises.

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