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December 15, 2016

College of Business Professors Featured in CSU, Chico's 2016-'17 Outstanding Faculty Awards

Two College of Business professors were winners among the recently announced 2016-2017 Outstanding Faculty Awards, which were selected by the University's Faculty Recognition and Support Committee.

The awards celebrate faculty excellence and include Outstanding Professor, Teacher, Academic Adviser, Research Mentor, Faculty Service and Lecturer. This year’s winners received surprise visits from University President Gayle Hutchinson and her cabinet during the last two weeks. 

Outstanding Professor | Wallace Leese

Wallace Leese (center) teaches in his Cost Management Accounting  (ACCT 320) class after recognition for Outstanding Professor from the Faculty Recognition and Support Committee (FRAS) on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 in Chico, Calif.  (Jason Halley/University Photographer)
Wallace Leese teaches in his Cost Management Accounting (ACCT 320) class after recognition for Outstanding Professor. 

For 38 years, Wallace Leese has been making accountants out of CSU, Chico accounting students. Leese’s high expectations yield exceptional results, as many of his former students—and current accountants—look back fondly on their time under his tutelage.

For many students, Leese is the most challenging accounting professor they’ll have, and it springs from his undeniable commitment to quality and passion for preparation. He emphasizes learning and critical thinking in lieu of memorization, laying the groundwork for his students to pass the Certified Management Account certification exam, as well as preparing them for future employment. His availability to help students often extends outside his regular office hours.

Leese’s concern with his students’ performance moves beyond the classroom. He regularly maintains contact with on-campus accounting tutors, ensuring the cohesion between what he and the tutors taught remains intact. Leese also regularly attends meetings between the CSU, Chico Department of Accounting and local employers so he can structure his classes to focus on what’s relevant in today’s accounting world.

As a result, CSU, Chico Executive Director for University Development Kristine Mazzei notes that “after visiting hundreds of College of Business alumni for over two years, I can say with certainty that I hear successful accountants most often reference [Leese’s] classes, commitment to quality and high expectations as central to their professional achievements.”

Leese holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Niagara University, and earned his master’s degree and PhD in accounting from Arizona State University.


Outstanding Teacher | Nick Lynch

Nick Lynch teaches in his ACCT558 class, Accounting Ethics after being recognized for Outstanding Teacher Award by the Faculty Recognition and Support Committee (FRAS) on Thursday, December 8, 2016 in Chico, Calif.  (Jason Halley/University Photographer)
Nick Lynch teaches his Accounting Ethics (ACCT 558) class after being recognized for Outstanding Teacher Award.

To say that passing the Uniform CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Examination is challenging is a true understatement. To prepare his students for the test’s rigors, accounting professor Nicholas Lynch does far more than just teach the textbook.

Lynch believes that student engagement is equally as important as a sound understanding of the concepts that drive the numbers involved in comprehending accounting. Combine the two, and you’re describing the type of learning found in Lynch’s classroom.

In order to keep students engaged in his classes, Lynch writes conceptual notes and work problems on his whiteboard, which the students transcribe.

Additionally, he peppers in current events that could affect their work, as well as includes tidbits from one of his current research projects, of which there seems to be no shortage: In 2016 alone, Lynch has had five publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Lynch’s students have called him a role model and a mentor, and Department of Accounting Chair Tim Kizirian added that the department is “very lucky” to have him on staff. “Chico State students deserve the best,” Kizirian said. “And with Professor Lynch, they got it.”

Lynch holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Villanova University, a master’s degree in accountancy from Bryant University and a PhD in accountancy from Mississippi State University.


Sean Murphy
Public Affairs

See the entire list of winners and read the story via Chico State News here.