UNIBusiness professor Wee Meng Eric Lee receives fellowship to enhance community engagement projects
Wee Meng Eric Lee, an associate professor of accounting at UNIBusiness, is one of the newest recipients of the Veridian and College of Education Fellowship, which encourages UNI faculty to engage with community partners and enhance teaching. The fellowship is administered by Veridian Credit Union and the UNI College of Education Dean’s Fund for Excellence.
Lee has long been a partner of the Cedar Valley community, incorporating real-life projects into his accounting courses. A few years ago, Lee and students in his cost and managerial accounting class worked with a local entrepreneur in the recycling business. Students visited the worksite, spoke with company employees, performed detailed analysis and provided recommendations to improve the company’s accounting and business systems. More recently, Lee has been working with a local nonprofit organization to incorporate both a data analytic and consulting framework to help rationalize accounting and business processes.
This fellowship, and the funds that go along with it, will allow Lee to continue making these crucial connections in the community.
“I’m definitely very excited to receive this fellowship funding,” Lee said. “Winning the fellowship allows me to continue partnering with some of our finest local community leaders, and having our accounting students work with these leaders toward improving a community that is actually close to their hearts.”
Lee embodies what the fellowship and UNI are striving to accomplish. The university has made community engagement a pillar of its 2017-2022 strategic plan. The Veridian Community Engagement Fellowship, which was started more than a decade ago, has provided a model for how public institutions, the private sector and nonprofit agencies can work together to improve lives.
“One of the hallmarks of the University of Northern Iowa is the practical, service-learning opportunities afforded to students through community engagement projects,” said Julianne Gassman, who is a professor in the College of Education and helps administer the fellowship. “These experiences positively impact our community and also make our students better future professionals and better people.”