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JSOM Faculty Member Earns Accounting Educator of the Year Award

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TSCPA Outstanding Accounting Educator of the Year Award winner Kathy Zolton (center, with long sleeves) posed with fellow accounting faculty member Jennifer Johnson (behind Zolton) and other VITA volunteers in 2014.

Ringing endorsements from colleagues and students about Kathy Zolton’s creative teaching, contributions to the accounting curriculum and outstanding volunteer service to low-income taxpayers across Dallas recently helped her secure an Outstanding Accounting Educator of the Year Award from the Texas Society of CPAs.

Zolton, a CPA who began teaching at the Naveen Jindal School of Management in 2012, earned the accolade Oct. 30 in an award ceremony at the society’s annual education conference in Austin. She received $500, a commemorative plaque and complimentary conference registration.

Now a senior lecturer and former associate director of JSOM’s MS in Accounting Program, Zolton received numerous TSCPA accolades for excellence in teaching and active service to the accounting profession. The society cited her “engaging and enthusiastic style of teaching” and her efforts to present “abstract concepts in a memorable and visual manner” in lauding her classroom style.

Extoling her contributions to JSOM’s graduate accounting curriculum, the society noted she “has contributed to significant changes,” including implementing a boot camp for incoming students.

And under her leadership of the campus Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, a society news release about the award said, “UT Dallas supplied more than 70 percent of the volunteer force in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, helping low-income families receive more than $9.9 million in tax refunds in 2015.”

Kathy Zolton in Austin with the plaque commemorating her TSCPA Outstanding Accounting Educator Award

That, Dr. William (Bill) Cready, Accounting Area coordinator and Adolf Enthoven Distinguished Professor in Accounting and Information Management, wrote in a recommendation letter “is simply an amazing accomplishment.”

Cready also called Zolton “a key player” in putting in place recent curriculum changes, including raising the level of prerequisite coursework required of incoming students and requiring comprehensive final exams in core courses.

He also credited her with assembling the graduate accounting program’s advisory board.

Associate Area Coordinator Tiffany Bortz wrote in her recommendation letter that “Kathy is very passionate about teaching.”

“Prior to joining UT Dallas,” accounting faculty colleague Jennifer Johnson said in her recommendation, “Kathy was an assistant controller, and spent many years prior to that in public accounting. Those years of real-world work experience make her lessons and teaching successful, and key to the students’ future success.”

Several past Zolton students backed her with their own endorsements. One wrote that Zolton often used demonstrations to help make concepts easier to grasp. “For example, when [we were] studying how a parent company accounts for subsidiaries, she used Lego blocks to help us grasp the overarching concepts behind the accounting.”

After Zolton won the award, former student Daniel Macias, a 2013 BS in Accounting alumnus, wrote in that Zolton “helped coordinate the interview with my current employer immediately after I finished an internship….I am the accounts receivable clerk at a real estate investment firm, Caddo Holdings.”

Zolton, he said, “goes out of her way to make sure her students receive the dividends for their investment in higher education by assisting with her resources and connections.”

Kris Imherr

Kris Imherr

Kris Imherr, the Jindal School’s communications director, has a BA in English and an MS in journalism. She is proud of them both and happily puts them to use on JSOM’s behalf. She thinks JSOM Perspectives is a great idea and encourages everyone with a point of view and a pencil to contribute.

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