MU Department of Economics professor awarded 2022 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

Eric Parsons is an associate teaching professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Economics in the MU College of Arts & Science.

Eric Parsons

Eric Parsons

March 21, 2022
Contact: Sara Diedrich, 573-882-3243,

Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri; Latha Ramchand, MU provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs; and Steve Sowers, president and CEO of the central region of Commerce Bank, today awarded a 2022 William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence to Eric Parsons. Parsons is an associate teaching professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Economics in the College of Arts & Science.

Parsons was surprised in class with the fellowship announcement, which includes a $15,000 check. Kemper Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

Eric Parsons biography

It’s common knowledge at the University of Missouri Department of Economics that Eric Parsons is an excellent teacher and a trusted mentor. Winner of the Walter L. Johnson Excellence in Teaching Fellowship, the Purple Chalk Teaching Award and the Nouss Teaching Excellence Award, Parsons has also been recognized by colleagues for promoting a wider interest in economics and by students for contributing to their ongoing success.

Parsons has served as director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Economics since 2019. In that role, he provides guidance to current students while helping to introduce a new generation to the field. Parsons is also an associate teaching professor who interacts with more than 2,000 undergraduates each year through his Principles of Microeconomics course. Parsons has been instrumental in rethinking the economics curriculum to better speak to the many backgrounds and experiences of the Mizzou community, contributing to the department winning the inaugural American Economic Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion.

“Parsons’s accomplishments and contributions to the success of our program cannot be exaggerated,” said Jeffrey Milyo, in a letter nominating Parsons for the Kemper Award. Milyo is chair and professor in the Department of Economics. “But cataloguing these points misses perhaps his most important attribute: Parsons loves being a teacher at Mizzou. He is completely dedicated to his craft and to his students.”

Kadie Clark, who graduated from MU in 2021 with bachelor’s degrees in economics and geography, worked with Parsons as a Peer Learning Assistant for Principles of Microeconomics. Clark said Parsons showed her how collaboration and curiosity can inspire others.

“In the simplest of terms, Dr. Parsons is a champion for student success both in and out of the classroom,” she said.

Clark cites Parsons with showing her how to consider many complex factors when generating research.

“Dr. Parsons has taught me and many others that questioning the relationship between the economy and other disciplines is both natural and essential, and that at least a basic understanding of economics is relevant for all,” she said.

Current economics undergraduate, Olivia Skeans, also credits Parsons with encouraging her academic achievements. Skeans said Parsons advised her on multiple scholarships and research opportunities.

“In all of our experiences together, he has never hesitated to sacrifice his own time to ensure I was given the proper support in order to achieve success,” she said.

A true Tiger, Parsons received bachelor’s degrees in economics and history, master’s degrees in economics and applied mathematics and a doctorate in economics from the University of Missouri.

Meet all of the 2022 recipients

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