Accounting Educator's Focus on Students Earns Him Outstanding Teacher AwardPosted March 7, 2011
If you’d asked a young Don McFall what he wanted to be when he grew up, he wouldn’t have answered “teacher.” However, teaching is now McFall’s life, and he has such an aptitude for it that he was recently recognized with the Outstanding Teacher Award.
The Outstanding Teaching Award honors full-time, non-tenure track and part-time faculty and is sponsored by the University Teaching Council. This prestigious award is presented annually to three faculty members who consistently demonstrate extraordinary skills in classroom teaching.
McFall, professor emeritus of accounting, began his career as an accountant. A friend who worked at a local community college asked him if he would like to teach accounting, and McFall agreed. From the first day, he realized that a classroom was where he wanted to be. McFall now has more than 27 years of higher education experience, and he estimates that he has taught more than 20,000 students during that time.
McFall is an effective educator because of his interest in what he teaches. He believes the field of accounting offers great careers. McFall says that there are many people who have been successful in the field and who are satisfied with what they do. And contrary to popular belief, accounting is not all about math. The skills McFall touts as valuable to an accountant are organization and attention to detail.
Interaction with his students is an important part of McFall’s teaching style, and he maximizes those opportunities by serving as an adviser for both Beta Alpha Psi and the Accounting Association. McFall also draws inspiration for his teaching through these activities.
McFall gleans further enthusiasm from his co-workers, some of whom have Harvard doctorates. Initially, McFall was brought to Kent State by his desire to acquire a Ph.D. Ultimately, McFall ended up teaching at Kent State.
“I’ve always had it made,” McFall says. “I am just very thankful. Kent State has been more than I could have anticipated.”
As for what he wants for his students, McFall hopes that they will find their passion in college. He wants students to develop a lifelong interest in and devise a way to apply the knowledge acquired during the course of their studies.
McFall also offers advice for educators.
“There are varieties of good teaching, but the common denominator is concern for the students and their interest in learning,” McFall says.
McFall concludes by saying that he gets his greatest joy from seeing what his students are able to accomplish. In turn, it seems his students receive some joy from McFall as well. He shares his favorite student evaluation, which reads: “Mr. McFall, you are truly amazing. Your class has had a profound effect on my life. In fact, if I had but one hour to live, I would like to spend it in your class.”
By Jaime Ramos