Professor Receives University Professorships for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence
Jonathan Meer, economics professor and director of both undergraduate programs and engagement and outreach, receives prestigious distinction.
By Rachel Knight ‘18
Only the most distinguished instructors at Texas A&M University are honored with the University Professorships for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (UPUTE), so it’s no surprise that Jonathan Meer received one this year.
Meer is a professor in the Department of Economics who also serves as director of both undergraduate programs and engagement and outreach. His passion for enhancing the undergraduate experience at Texas A&M is driven by his affinity for his students.
“Many of our students are immensely talented but just don’t know what’s out there,” Meer shared. “Their lives are full of unknown unknowns. They don’t know what they don’t know. Often, first-year students come in barely knowing what economics is even about. I try to show them the menu – all the things they could do. It’s not about making me happy by following in my footsteps, it’s about figuring out what makes them happy. And it gives me an immense amount of satisfaction when I see them get there.”
The economics department and its students have benefited from teaching innovations founded by Meer in the last decade. Some of these innovations include spearheading the creation of an online version of principles in microeconomics that reaches more than 2,500 students each year and creating a video guide to online teaching for large courses utilized by faculty around the country. However, one of his innovations stands out above the rest.
“I really do love the Economics Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (EUROP), which matches students and faculty to work on rigorous research,” Meer explained. “I modeled it on my own experiences with my undergraduate advisor, Harvey Rosen. We have such amazing students at Texas A&M and I wanted them to have the sorts of opportunities that set me on my path. Having that research experience under their belt means they have a broader array of choices available to them.”
Receiving a UPUTE sets Meer up to successfully expand more opportunities for undergraduates, because it carries a three-year stipend and bursary to support teaching and expand opportunities for professional development. Meer already has big plans to put these resources to use.
“I want to open doors for students who have the talent and drive to make the most of them,” Meer said. “I intend to use these resources to help students attend research conferences to present their work and to continue to recruit the kind of stellar undergrads that make Texas A&M what it is.”
Above all, Meer expressed great gratitude for being honored with a UPUTE.
“It’s hard to express how grateful I am for this recognition.” Meer remarked. “It really means a lot that my colleagues and students – both current and former – would go out of their way to acknowledge it.”