By Cole Deutschendorf
Economics is an important subject, whether being learned at a high school or college level. It deals with topics that are vital to understanding how the world works, such as inflation or the stock market. Therefore, having a good understanding of economics is crucial as children and teenagers get older, turning into adults.
That is where Matt Wilper comes in.
Wilper is the economics professor at Hutchinson Community College, including both micro and macroeconomics.
Wilper grew up in Garnett, a town of about 3,000 in eastern Kansas. He attended college at Washburn University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He became a produce manager, but found that he wanted more from life.
Ironically, it was an economic event, The Great Recession, that led to Wilper earning a Masters in Business Administration.
“My goal was originally to be in HR, until Neosho County Community College offered me a part-time teaching position, and that’s when I really fell in love with it,” Wilper said.
Wilper said he enjoys the flexible work-life balance that comes with being a professor at a community college, but above all else, he truly loves getting to work with students.
“I really do like the students,” he said. “They are hard to beat.”
Dawson Ellette, a Newton freshman, has enjoyed getting to have Wilper as an instructor.
“You can really tell that he cares about his students a lot,” Ellette said. “Even when we are talking about topics that could be considered boring, he still finds a way to make it interesting.”
Wilper says that the worst part of being a professor at a community college is the lack of time he gets to spend with students.
“It will sound corny, but at a community college, you get to know a student, they’re great to have in class, and then they’re gone the next year,” Wilper said.
At the same time, being at a smaller college allows him to focus on teaching the best that he can.
“If I was at a university, I would be required to publish and research, which would obviously take away a considerable amount of time from me.”
Wilper said he also hopes that he is able to instill some of the more important topics of economics into his student’s heads.
“Sometimes I worry about getting stuff to stick into their heads,” he said. “I get it, economics can be dry. But there are some topics too important not to understand.”
He also wants people to understand that they will deal with economics every single day.
“You don’t think about it, but you make choices. Every single choice you make comes with a trade off,” Wilper said.
Wilper will continue to teach at HutchCC, using compassion while he teaches, trying to make his student’s experiences better day in, day out.