Inspiring Teacher: Bud Bowlin, professor of accounting
Published March 2016
Bud Bowlin is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who brings a strong sense of dedication and integrity to his courses. The students in Bowlin's managerial accounting and cost accounting courses include him on their list of NDSU's inspiring teachers.
How did you decide to pursue your profession?
I retired from the Air Force in 1992 and thought the best way for me to continue to serve the citizens of the United States was as a professor. Since my Ph.D. was in accounting and my background in the Air Force was in financial management, I decided to enter the academic accounting field. That way, I could share both my academic preparation and practical experience with individuals wanting to learn.
What do you like best about teaching?
There are two things I like about teaching. One is working with students to prepare them for entering the workplace. The second is the opportunity to do research in areas that interest me.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I share my professional experience so students have a better idea on how to put the things they learn in the classroom into practice.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as a teacher?
I need to remind myself that the students are 19 to 21 years old, and often have no business or accounting experience.
How do you know you’ve succeeded with a student or a class?
I've succeeded when students ask insightful questions or give an insightful answer to one of my questions.
What is the most common trait or traits of successful students?
Successful students work hard and put in the hours to study the material and do the homework. On average, successful students put in two to three hours of work outside of class for every class hour.
What has been the best moment of your teaching career so far?
The best moments are when students contact me a few years after they graduate to tell me they now appreciate and understand why I made them do what they did in class.
What have you learned from your students?
I've learned patience and better communication. Most of my students are more technically advanced than I am, and I've learned how to make better use of (electronic) spreadsheets and social media.
What is something every student should experience before they graduate from NDSU?
I'd urge a student to take a course for the enjoyment of it—a course that allows him or her to learn something in an area that is of interest, but is not in the major. Not everything is about being technically ready to enter the workforce. Take a religion course or a history course or an art course or a music course – something not directly related to his or her major. Become a more interesting person.
Bowlin joined the NDSU faculty in 2007. He earned his bachelor's degree at Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania; his master's degree in business administration from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley; and his doctorate in accounting from the University of Texas, Austin.