Photo of Natallia Gray

Dr. Natallia Gray, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Economics

ngray@semo.edu
573-651-2012
http://faculty.semo.edu/ngray/
Office: Dempster Hall  218

Curriculum Vitae


I believe that one of the most important skills I can teach my students is to critically evaluate and verify the information they receive, rather than accept everything at face value. In the end, one of the most important roles of education, is to teach students not what to think, but how to think for themselves; not what kind of argument to support, but to weight those arguments and make informed decisions.

What area do you teach?

Economics; Healthcare Management

Education/Degree(s)

Ph.D. Economics, University of South Florida (2014)
M.A. Economics, University of South Florida (2011)
B.S. Economics, University of Southern Maine (2008)
B.S. Hospitality Management, Belarussian State Economic University (2005)

Your philosophy of teaching:

1. What Education Is and Isn’t:
“The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” ― Malcolm S. Forbes

I believe that one of the most important skills I can teach my students is to critically evaluate and verify the information they receive, rather than accept everything at face value. In the end, one of the most important roles of education, is to teach students not what to think, but how to think for themselves; not what kind of argument to support, but to weight those arguments and make informed decisions.

2. Deep Learning Approach:
The boulder of “essential content” can only go thundering down the [growing] hill of knowledge – Grant Higgins.

Since students cannot learn everything about economics by the end of my class, I focus on teaching them the key concepts, principles, and questions, rather than on “bouldering the essential content” of the textbook on them. I slow down when I feel that students need extra time to become comfortable with the material.
Students today are also accustomed to the “banking education” method, where knowledge is deposited by the instructor; received, memorized and repeated by students; and finally withdrawn, like a bank deposit, during the test. By shifting the focus from the banking method to deep learning, I try to foster deep understanding and long term retention.
To promote deep learning, instead of surface learning, I ask my students to link new ideas to already known concepts and principles, and use them for problem solving in unfamiliar contexts, rather than tacitly accept the information and memorize isolated and unlinked facts. I develop my assignments to test students’ ability to apply and synthesize what they have learned, with a focus on integration of knowledge and a cumulative experience.

3. Learning Should Not be Boring.
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” ― Marilyn Monroe

Economists are often described as “boring” people and “dismal” scientists. I take my classes as an opportunity to correct this common misconception. I teach with a lot of energy and passion, as I try to present economic concepts in a lively and interesting fashion, and use examples to which students can relate.

4. Good Teaching is Hard Work
“Good Teaching is Hard Work, Not a Halo.” – Neal Conan

My students often tell me that I am a “natural teacher.” While I am certainly glad that they found my instruction to be that way, I wasn’t born a natural teacher. I believe that great teachers are made, not born, and I strive daily to mold myself in this image.
A good teacher cannot just “wing it”, although they might for the first 20 minutes of the class. I find that becoming an expert in the material, coming to class with a goal and a plan, searching for alternative examples to complement the textbook, and educating students about current economic conditions are the first steps to becoming a good teacher.

Why did you decide to teach?

I love economics and that is why I enjoy teaching it and showing how relevant it is to student’s daily lives.

Credentials/career path

I joined Southeast Missouri State University in 2014. I am currently employed as an Assistant Professor of Economics by the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance. Prior to that, I taught Economics at the University of South Florida (USF) 2013-2014, in Tampa, FL, while pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics at the same time. My fields of study included health economics, public finance, and urban and regional economics. I received a distinction by the Economics Department in passing my microeconomics/mathematical economics qualifying exam. In 2013, I was awarded the Dissertation Completion Fellowship by the USF Graduate School in recognition of the importance and quality of my research titled “Social Interactions and Breast Cancer Prevention Among Women in the United States.” I was employed as a teaching assistant in the same department for 2010-2013.

Professional Highlight

Working together with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, our Women in Economics SEMO Organization gave impetus to what has become “Annual Women in Economics Symposium” an event that provides mentoring to female students of economics across the U.S.

Award/Honor/Recognition

Copper Dome Excellence in Teaching, 2017-2019, Harrison College of Business
Outstanding Contribution in Reviewing, 2016, from “Social Science and Medicine” Journal

Organization with which you are involved

Women in Economics
Junior Achievement

Most Recent/Notable Published Work

Vanteddu, G., Gray, N. (2017). Ease of Doing Business in the Developing World and Political and Civil Rights. Journal of International Business and Economics, 17(4), 79-88. http://www.iabe.org/domains/IABE-DOI/article.aspx?DOI=JIBE-17-4.7
Gray, N., Picone, G. (2016). The Effect of the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations on Mammography Rates. Health Services Research, 51(4), 1533–1545. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.12445
Gray, N., Picone, G., Sloan, F., Yashkin, A. (2015). Relation between BMI and diabetes mellitus and its complications among US older adults. Southern Medical Journal, 108(1), 29—36. http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC4457375

Best advice for students

“You could learn economics because it is going to be on the test; you need to learn it because you will be using it for the rest of your life. You might as well major in it”
- Justin Wolfers
“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Contact

573.651.2181
bglastetter@semo.edu
Dempster Hall 205
Economics and Finance Department
One University Plaza, MS 5845
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701