Gatepost Interview: Rongbing Liu, professor of finance

What is your role at FSU?

I joined FSU last year. This is my second year here. I just graduated from UMass Boston, so this is my first job. I am a tenure-track assistant professor. I teach finance courses. 

What made you interested in teaching at Framingham State?

Framingham State is near Boston, which is convenient. Everyone is friendly here and I like the small community. The faculty members enjoy their work here a lot. The students are hardworking and very mature. I enjoy the work here. The system here is similar to UMass Boston, as they are both state schools, so it has been an easy transition. I also like Framingham’s neighborhoods. It is a very active community and students find internships all over this area. 

What made you interested in studying education?

Being a professor is the final target, the goal, of the Ph.D. education. The ultimate goal with a Ph.D. is to go to a university and teach. All of the training we get during a Ph.D. study is how to be a professor and how to give the knowledge you learn to your students. Personally, I enjoy being a professor. I like to teach students what I learned in school. It’s important for me to share my struggles and experience in this area to help students find their interests.

What is your favorite part about working with students? 

I enjoy discussing questions with students. The first time they start to learn, they have so many questions in their minds. Those questions are enlightening to me. I love how curious students are. The questions initiate very valuable discussions. Many of my explanations and teachings are based on students’ questions. That is the best part of being a professor. Framingham State students are so down to earth. Many of them are working while earning their degree, so their questions are more practical and down to earth. Many of the subjects I teach in the textbooks are far from daily life, but the students here always relate what we learn to their jobs and daily lives. That is very impressive. I used to teach at Northeastern – compared to those students, the students here are better at relating school lessons to real life. I especially like working with the freshmen because their questions are intriguing to me. I feel proud when students come out of my classroom and say they were interested in finance. Meeting with new students every semester is an enjoyable process for me. 

How has COVID-19 impacted your classes? 

The bad thing is we can’t meet in person. Many things are better if they are experienced in person. In person, I can see reactions from students. I can tell who is understanding the topics. Being online makes it difficult to catch students’ reactions. But there are also positives. I think students feel more relaxed taking classes on Zoom. Also, they have quicker access to the internet. They can raise more interesting questions based on what they discovered online. Also, I feel like students are more active when taking online classes. Overall, they seem to be raising more questions online than they did in person. 

What are some of your hobbies? 

Reading, I love a good book. I enjoy reading a lot. I also like skiing. There are so many good places to ski near Boston.

What has been your most memorable moment at FSU?

I had a student who was initially a chemistry major. After he took one of my classes, he changed his major to finance. The subject was completely different from chemistry. I was really happy to know he made the decision because of just one class he took with me. He was really interested in the class, and this made me so happy. He is taking another course with me this semester. This is my fondest memory so far at Framingham State. 

What are your goals for your time at FSU?

Right now, I am on a tenure track, so to be tenured here. I want to teach students and attract more students to the subject. It’s not only about finance major students – finance is relevant to everyone. I want to train students how to manage their money. My ultimate goal is to raise every student’s awareness about their money issues. 

What advice do you have for FSU students? 

Start thinking about your career planning as soon as possible – the earlier, the better. I encourage students to read more books. Read all types of books, either related to their major or books related to other topics. I also want to encourage students to learn more based on their interests outside of the classroom. Always ask faculty members good questions.