Kathleen Rodenburg

Q: Where did you go to university?
A: University of Guelph, B Comm., major in Hospitality   management
Wilfrid Laurier University, MBA,
University of Guelph, MA & PhD in Economics

Q: What area of study in economics do you specialize in?
A: Decision theory & Consumer Behaviour & Experimental & Applied Micro

Q: What classes do you teach here at the university?
A: Econ 344/Agbus 302 : Principles of Marketing –across many programs
MDEI 614 –Principles of Marketing leveraging digital technology (Specifically,    social media)-Masters students on the Stratford campus
MDEI 624- Consumer Behaviour
MDEI 631- Milestone Project for Masters Students. Students are placed in teams and become a consultancy group that partners with major industry players to solve a pre-identified problem or challenge faced by the organization (i.e., Thomson Reuters, Sunlife, Canadian Tire).

Q: What research are you currently working on?

A: Currently on ice due to my heavy teaching commitments however,
I am deeply concerned with the many ethical dilemmas faced by individuals in the business environment; in particular, the conflict involved in making ethical trade-offs in lieu of profits. While profits are easily assessed, altruistic decisions often are measured based on various individual interpretations of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.  As the language of business is deeply rooted in financial/economic indicators, the use of economic models and strong business acumen is a logical means to gain more intuition and understanding surrounding ethical dilemmas. In particular, the identification of the key motivational factors that influence business decisions could provide evidence and provide compelling metrics to be used to influence business decisions that result in outcomes that are both ethical and profitable.

Q: And how long have you been teaching at uWaterloo?
A: 1 and half years

Q: Why economics? What is your favourite thing about it?
A:  Economics is a logical way to explain cause and effect relationships.
As the language of business is deeply rooted in financial/economic indicators, the use of economic models and strong business acumen is a logical means to gain more intuition and understanding surrounding ethical dilemmas (or what society may define as an ethical dilemma; it may the case that individuals did not set out to make decisions that cause a negative consequence to society, it may be the case that individuals are just bad at making decisions). By determining the optimal choices for individuals using economic models we can study decision choices that deviate from this optimal choice and potentially determine the causes for these deviations…it may not  be that individuals in business lack ethics, …the deviation could be a result of a myriad of explanations.

Q: Do you have any special or interesting talents?
A: I am a late vocation Academic. I have fifteen (15) years of business and industry experience, holding seniormanagement positions at a Tier I organization in the areas of marketing, sales, supply chain management and finance. Furthermore, I had many human resource responsibilities, including training and developing and mentoring employees, succession planning, organizational structure design, and hiring and dismissing employees. Prior to returning to school I most recently was in the position of Director of Marketing Innovation for Campbell’s Canada. As such, I bring a very practical perspective to the classroom. I am convinced that deeper learning will occur through the real world demonstration of theories and concepts. It is important where possible to not only teach students the central concepts and models from theory, but also provide a forum where they have exposure to the real world environment.  As an example, classrooms set up as a virtual workplace environment aligned with an existing real-world global organization provide a forum where theories and concepts can be explained using real-world examples.

I am an avid sports enthusiast, both as a participant as well as a spectator. I have completed several marathons. I am very slow and therefore my dream to qualify for the Boston marathon will be a long time coming. I suspect by the time I am 70, the time requirement to qualify for the Boston will align with my age☺. I have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (hardest thing I had ever done, next to giving birth;) in 2005 while working in Moshi, Tanzania at Amani- Amani Children’s home provides a safe and loving home, nutritious meals, and Medical care to homeless children in Kilimanjaro. The work involved assisting the organization in the development of strategic plan for fund raising. (However, playing with the kids was the most fulfilling aspect of the experience). I love watching all sports games associated with Notre Dame, ‘the Fighting Irish’!

Q: What did you want to be “when you grew up?”

A: When I was really little (12 years old), a veterinarian, until I realized that even a simple ketchup spill on a table caused an immediate fainting spell…I just didn’t have the stomach for it.  I think a more appropriate way to phrase this question for me is ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’ I still don’t know! I can’t speak in terms of specific career or job title as that continuously evolved for me, and will continue to evolve. What I do know is that I want to always be challenged by opportunities and that these opportunities will often be cleverly disguised as obstacles. I also know that with my education comes privileges and therefore I have an obligation to use these privileges in a meaningful way that makes even small differences toward a better world.  Therefore, an ideal career would be one where I would be able to ‘inspire students’, to create their own possibilities, to silence the voice inside their head that says…I cannot do this and encourage them to ask how they can make a difference today and tomorrow. It has been very encouraging and incredibly calming for me to know that the University of Waterloo students that I have come in contact with thus far will go out into the world and be our future!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *