Nancy Emerson, lecturer of accounting
Published January 2016
Emerson is a respected accounting faculty member. Her students consider her an inspiring teacher because of the encouragement she brings them in and out of the classroom.
What do you teach?
I teach Elements of Accounting I and II, which are the entry-level accounting courses for all business majors. I also teach Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting.
How did you decide to pursue your profession?
I come from a family of educators. My father taught accounting and my sister teaches geology and earth science. More importantly, I love to work with students making the transition into adulthood and help them discover what they excel at, what they like and how that intersects with careers and needs in the community.
What is the most common trait or traits of successful students?
Successful students are present, prepared and participate. If I could encourage students to do one thing better, it would be to realize the time it takes to study. Successful students spend at least two hours preparing for every hour in class.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as a teacher?
Students today have so much information at their fingertips. Encouraging them to focus on reading textbooks and developing foundational material within their own knowledge base is a challenge. At the same time, these very students often teach me new ways to utilize and adopt technology.
Who is a teacher who inspired you as a student and why?
Darlene Carlson, my 10th grade mathematics teacher. I loved the way that she interacted with students, often telling tales about herself or her family. She didn’t do this every day, but she did it often enough that I felt like I knew her both as a person and respected teacher.
How do you know you’ve succeeded with a student or a class?
It’s easy to see the successes of a top tier student. We see their achievements in successive classes. For students who struggle through the topic, it is sometimes difficult to know the impact I have had until that student reaches out to me. One of my favorite memories is of a student who dropped the accounting major but made it a point to continue to stop by during office hours. As this student reached his senior year, I was one of the first with whom he shared his excitement over a job interview at a company that was his top choice.
What is your favorite NDSU tradition?
I am an avid sports fan. Most often you will find me at the men’s and women’s basketball games. If I know a student is an athlete, I try to get to at least one of their events during the semester. This semester, I will be extending my reach to the music department as one of my students is in a choral concert.
What do you like best about teaching?
The best part of teaching is when a student, who has previously been struggling, gets it. Usually, it is by their hard work and determination to stick with the material that turns things around.
Emerson joined the NDSU faculty in 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Catherine University and master’s degree from Northern Illinois University.