Dr. Mary Ellen Benedict is recognized by her students as well as her peers as a true teacher—someone who effectively helps others learn. Her ability and dedication were formally recognized by the University trustees Feb. 26 when they named her a Distinguished Teaching Professor.
Benedict has taught economics at BGSU since 1991, with an emphasis in labor economics. She has taught labor, managerial and econometrics as well as principles of microeconomics. As a senior faculty member commented, “Economics is not easy, and yet students are willing to engage in the challenge under her guidance.”
Another senior faculty member noted that “she is very thoughtful about how to support the students on major projects and exams.” Her commitment to helping students succeed has earned her several nominations by them for the Master Teacher Award.
She has long been the advisor to the Economics Club, which entails not only helping students organize events but also chaperoning them. Participation in the club is an important part of being an economics major at BGSU, and students often comment on how helpful she is.
“While deeply involved in the teaching effort, she remains active in scholarly pursuits, publishing regularly and participating in other professional activities,” said department chair Dr. John Hoag. She has included both undergraduate and graduate students in her own research, for which she received the Elliott Blinn Award for mentorship in undergraduate research.
Benedict encourages her students to participate in economics conferences and spends a great deal of time helping them prepare and develop the best possible paper. As a supporter of students not only from BGSU, she is also the central faculty working on the annual undergraduate research contest, which brings students to Bowling Green from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana to present their work.
In addition to her own economics-related research, Benedict is interested in the science of teaching itself. She has coordinated the department’s annual teaching conference the last three years and has published four articles related to the classroom. One of these, devoted to role playing in a labor-relations course, won the 2001 Ralph C. Hoeber Excellence in Research Award from the Journal of Legal Studies. Another innovative study looked at the relationship of seat location in the classroom and performance in a large economics class.
Her keen interest in education and her flexibility have also resulted in her being invited to participate in the development of innovative programs in the College of Business Administration, Hoag said, which further “signifies her standing across the college.”
Benedict has both master’s and doctoral degrees from Carnegie Mellon University.