The Stephen F. Austin State University Gerald W. Schlief School of Accountancy within the Rusche College of Business recently awarded the Sammie Smith Professorship to assistant accounting professor Dr. Stephanie Ross. The new professorship was created through an endowment by Professor Emeritus Dr. Sammie Smith.
The purpose of the endowment is to retain and attract quality faculty to the Gerald W. Schlief School of Accountancy. Dr. Kelly Noe, director, says it will also have a positive impact on students.
“Awarding this honor to Stephanie helps our school retain valuable talent by offering a more competitive salary, and this in turn assures the best student experience,” Noe said. “We are so grateful for the continued support of our programs. Sammie’s endowment has made this professorship possible.”
Smith – who spent 46 years in higher education, 26 of them at SFA, and 15 of those as chair of the department – gifted the endowment with the goal of providing opportunity for professors.
“I firmly believe that the most important asset that any university has is its faculty, and I will do anything I can to help in recruitment and retention – and encourage others to do the same,” said Smith.
Ross said she is grateful for and appreciates the award, adding that her teaching style and goals demonstrate the quality of professors the endowment works to retain.
“Accounting isn’t just math,” she said. “My goal as a professor is to increase the students’ motivation and learning abilities by showing them that accounting is more like solving a puzzle. By incorporating critical drivers such as concern, competence, and clarification into my teaching style, I am able to structure the class in a manner that allows for the comprehension of a subject that is often considered dry and difficult.”
Smith is also working on funding another professorship in accountancy in the name of his wife, Beverly, who is an SFA accounting alum and current university employee in the office of the vice president for finance and administration. Smith’s goal is to fully fund that award by January 2023.
For more information about the Sammie Smith Professorship Award, contact Dr. Kelly Noe at email@example.com or 936-468-1530.
Richard Massey is a senior marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University.