The Illinois CPA Society honored Timothy West, Northern Illinois University associate professor and Grant Thornton professor of accountancy, with the 2013 Outstanding Educator Award.
The award recognizes Illinois educators at a college or university who excel in leadership and teaching, and who make continuous and outstanding contributions to accounting education in the state.
West helps students become problem-solvers and leaders. When he joined NIU in 2008, he was tasked with creating a unique and integrated master’s level course designed to enhance the leadership qualities of budding accounting professionals. What resulted was a course that meshes accounting disciplines such as assurance, financial, managerial and tax, and informs the profession with insights from research involving judgment and decision making, management, business analytics and ethics.
In recent years, West has incorporated Chicago’s famed Second City comedy club, theatre and school of improvisation to change the way his students thought about communicating with non-accountants. He also has implemented the “Wheel of (Presentation) Doom.” Before each presentation, he spins the wheel and students are subjected to technology failure, team member absence or other situations that may compromise a presentation. Students must then adjust their presentations at a moment’s notice.
During the past decade, West worked closely with the U.S. Army Medical Command to assess the operational efficiency of Army medicine, and in 2011 he and Col. Mark Cronk received the Lybrand Silver Medal from the Institute of Management Accountants for their paper, Financial Officers as Organizational Leaders: Lessons from Army Medicine.
West also has focused much attention on academic dishonesty in the classroom and his work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today and BusinessWeek. A prodigious writer, he has authored a variety of research and practitioner papers including publications in Journal of Management Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Journal of Business Ethics, Strategic Finance, and Advances in Management Accounting. A graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia, Dr. West worked in the private sector as an auditor and director of finance before obtaining his PhD in accounting from the University of Tennesseeat Knoxville.
He has been on the faculty of Iowa State University, Washington University at St. Louis, and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.