The Power of a Professor

Dr. Courtney Meyers has been described by her colleagues and students as a highly motivated individual who is passionate about what she does.

“I am a bit of a workhorse,” said Meyers, associate professor and graduate studies coordinator for the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications at Texas Tech University. “I have a pretty strong work ethic, and I set high expectations for myself and my students.”

Her high expectations have led to a great deal of success. Meyers is a highly decorated faculty member who has received many prestigious awards, including the Texas Tech President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Teacher Award, and the Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching Award.

Persistent Past

Meyers has touched the lives of many since her arrival as a newly hired faculty member at Texas Tech in 2008. Dr. Cindy Akers, professor and associate dean for academic and student programs for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, knew Meyers as a master’s student at the University of Arkansas. They have since maintained a friendship as colleagues at Texas Tech.

“When she was first hired I was put as her faculty mentor,” Akers said. “But now I would say we’re just good friends. I respect her and now look to her for advice; the roles have kind of changed.”

Meyers said she is grateful for the relationships made with people she has impacted through her time as a professor, and appreciates their recognition of all the hard work she puts into being the best she can be.

“I never set out to be a teacher so I could win awards,” Meyers said. “But it is empowering to know that I can be the type of teacher that is worthy of that recognition.”

Passionate Present

Dr. Meyers recently received Texas Tech University’s 2018 Integrated Scholar Award. Dr. Scott Burris, professor and interim department chair of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, said being an integrated scholar means the research the professor conducts on their own time is integrated with the lessons they teach in the classroom.

“It’s a pretty big compliment for someone to be recognized for that distinction,” Burris said. “She works really hard, and she makes sure the work is done well.”

Meyers spends much of her time preparing new and exciting ways to engage students in their coursework.

“I often say that teaching is like medicine or law in that we practice at it,” Meyers said. “We are never fully developed as teachers. There are always things we could do a little bit better or a little bit differently.”

Her efforts do not go unnoticed by the students she teaches. Paisley Cooper, a senior agricultural communication major, felt so strongly that Meyers has such a positive impact on the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications she nominated her for an on-campus award in 2017.

“From the first day I met Dr. Meyers as an incoming freshman, I could tell that she dedicated her day-to-day life to help students like myself succeed,” Cooper said. “Dr. Meyers is a critical part of why our agricultural communications program is nationally recognized. Our department owes a lot to her leadership and expertise because it simply doesn’t get any better than her.”

Cooper is one of many students Meyers has had a positive impact on. Meyers said being able to influence the lives of her students makes her excited to see what they can accomplish.

“Perhaps they got a paper back that they did really well on when they didn’t expect to, or they get a job that they didn’t think was possible, but someone along the way encouraged them to do so,” Meyers said with a smile. “That motivates me to get up and come into work every day and do my part to be a positive influence in their life.”

It is empowering to know that I can be the type of teacher that is worthy of that recognition.

Favorable Future

While all the awards Dr. Meyers has received in the past are nothing short of prestigious, her work ethic proves there will be even greater accomplishments in the road ahead for her. Burris said Meyers has helped the department in more ways than he could explain.

“It’s easy to see why she has such a meaningful impact here,” Burris said. “Students like her, love her and enjoy her, but even more than that, they value and respect what they gain from being in her classes. That’s way more important than being liked.”

Respect is a common theme among those who know Meyers personally. Cooper said one of the aspects that makes her so different from other professors is her attention to fine details.

“Dr. Meyers doesn’t skip the little things like learning each student’s name and working to build a relationship with each of us,” Cooper said. “She strives to be more than just a professor, but also a mentor and a helping hand. Dr. Meyers is always looking to improve her teaching tactics and form her lectures and assignments to fit the evolving skill base that is needed in the industry.”

Having taken on the role of both teacher and learner of a new curriculum, Meyers said one of her goals to improve the future of her classes is to make sure they are exciting and compelling. She said if she is bored as a teacher, she knows her students are bored, and that is something she never wants to happen.

“A lot of my time is invested in trying to remain up-to-date on the latest technology, trends, and best practices my students need to know,” Meyers said. “I also need to know what is happening in agriculture and how that can relate to their work.”

Akers said she has enjoyed seeing the growth and development Meyers has made in her professional career.

“I think she always wants to push the envelope and doesn’t want to stick to the status-quo,” Akers said. “She’s always looking to make things better. We have seen a lot of changes because of her competitive nature.”

Meyers said she knows she has a competitive spirit, which has led to so much success in her field of work.

“It’s not that I’m competing against anyone, it’s that I’m competing against the former version of myself,” Meyers said. “I always want to do better. If in that pursuit that I get recognized, that means that the work I put in and the energy spent was worth it all.”

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