Published 12/02/14

Catching up with Accounting Professor Kathleen A. Simons

Kathy SimonsFresh out of college, Kathy Simons taught elementary school while earning a master's in education. Working at H&R Block at night, she decided to pursue a graduate degree in taxation and enrolled in Bryant's MST program, where she met several local practitioners and eventually accepted a job in public accounting. She then earned the CPA designation, was accepted into a doctoral program at Boston University, and started teaching at Bryant while completing a Doctorate in Business Administration.

"I saw Bryant as a way to combine a passion for teaching with an interest in financial accounting and taxation," says Simons, who teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses. Thirty years later, she is still doing what she loves. Her classes have a reputation for being tough, yet students recommend them to their peers.

"The material is difficult, but I believe my students understand that I am truly interested in their success," says Simons, who received the 2008 Distinguished Faculty Award from the Bryant Alumni Association, and the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1990 and 2013.

Simons notes that plenty has changed in teaching accounting over the years, particularly with the proliferation of technology in the classroom and within the profession. "To me, though, the most notable difference today is the incredible number of commitments students have – so much more than 30, 20, or even 10 years ago," she says. "This emphasizes the need for faculty to communicate the material in an efficient, understandable manner."

What hasn't changed, she adds, is that Bryant remains committed to providing a quality education, combining business and liberal arts to prepare its students to become well-rounded global citizens. "Our students are very motivated and well versed in all aspects of accounting, but they also have a variety of interests."

Many alumni have kept in touch with Simons over the years as they have gone on to become CPAs, staff accountants, managers and partners in accounting firms, and professors at universities. "They are engaging, well educated, and ethical men and women," she says.