Amber Qureshi UrrutiaProfessor Urrutia earned her Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Riverside and now teaches economics at SMC. On campus, she is an advocate for equity in the classroom and as a member of the Equity and Diversity Committee. She enjoys working with and mentoring students as they work toward their goals, including in her role as advisor of the Economics Club. Her other interests include reading, traveling, and animals, of which she has many.

Specialty Area

  • Applied Microeconomics

  • Labor Economics

  • Women in the Economy

  • Environmental Economics

  • Economics of Higher Education

Teaching Philosophy/Equity Statement

All students are entitled to a complete and fulfilling experience in the classroom. Fostering enthusiasm for the subject of economics that they can take with them no matter what they ultimately pursue is an important component of providing that experience. Helping students to apply and carry concepts forward past exams and into the real world is another key element. Successful teaching is equitable and inclusive and should involve:

  • Conveying understanding, not memorization
  • Economics is an exciting and relevant field, not just a series of supply and demand graphs. Passing along its vast knowledge to students in the form of a number of models to memorize is both ineffective and an injustice to the subject. Students deserve to learn economics in a manner that will feel both relevant and applicable, whether it be through the use of interactive 'games,' the presentation of data that supports models being taught, or just through a considerate and detailed explanation. Providing a wide variety of learning methods in this way also allows students of all strengths to truly learn the material rather than just memorize it.

  • Contagious enthusiasm

    Student curiosity can quickly be crushed by an educator who doesn't display the appropriate level of enthusiasm for the subject matter being taught. An important part of teaching economics, therefore, is the ability to express a healthy level of zeal for the field and the wide variety of topics it can help us to understand.

  • Approachability and helpfulness

    Being available and helpful to students when needed is the most effective way to ensure all students are provided with the opportunity to succeed. This includes answering questions via email and holding extra office hours, as well as being available for questions from everyone in the classroom. It also means being open to talk about whatever a student may be interested in, from future education and career plans to understanding economics in the news, to course relevant questions. Making it a point to be available to students is essential to encourage their appreciation for the field, as well as providing an equitable and inclusive learning environment for all.

    The ultimate goal as an educator is to ensure that achievement and motivation reach their full potential in all students. Creating a learning environment that will cater to this goal makes the classroom experience an incredibly rewarding one for everyone.