Today@Sam Article

‘Excellence In Teaching’ Winner Humbled By Award

July 18, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

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Sam Houston State University prides itself on its outstanding faculty, educators that exemplify leadership and take seriously their direct influence on the lives and future career paths of students daily. Though, to simply call Ronald "Ronny" Daigle an accounting professor, does not come close to describing his impact on the world of education, particularly in teaching.

Daigle grew up around academia through his father and its significance was stressed to him at an early age. He always knew he wanted to pursue a career as an academic, but also recognized the importance of practical experience when teaching a business-related discipline. For this reason, he worked in public and corporate accounting over the course of seven years before pursuing his Ph.D.

Soon after, Daigle began his academic career as a teaching assistant at Texas Tech University. It was near the end of his time there that he came to Sam Houston State University to conduct research for his dissertation. His first introduction to the university was during the week of the September 11 attacks.

“I was stranded in Huntsville and unable to collect my data because classes were cancelled,” Daigle said. “I hung around and tried to stay out of the way, but I got to meet the faculty and witness the environment during that time, and as sad as that week was, I left with such a great opinion about the university.”

Daigle then served as an assistant professor at LSU for four years but was collaborating with SHSU faculty and visiting the campus during that time to work on research. Then in 2006, when the opportunity presented itself, Daigle accepted a position at SHSU.

“I didn’t just answer an ad and have an interview, coming to Sam Houston was a process that developed over time,” Daigle said. “There is something special here and one of those things is definitely the emphasis placed on teaching. You can see that the bar is set high to be excellent in teaching at this university.”

SHSU’s culture of outstanding teaching and service, along with Daigle’s passion for research, are what gravitated him to the campus.

Today, Daigle primarily teaches Accounting Information Systems and Auditing and was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching for his ability to find synergy between his teaching, intellectual contributions and service activities.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award. At the same time, I feel a sense of responsibility because I still plan on teaching for a very long time,” Daigle said. “I am years away from retiring. I hope I can live up to the expectations and be a good steward of this award. It’s a responsibility I am more than willing and happy to shoulder.”

Daigle’s teaching process involves challenging students to develop rigorous, positive and enthusiastic habits towards their education.

“I do give my students a lot of work and my classes are rigorous. I want them to be prepared and I want them to provide value to society and to their careers,” Daigle said. “I even tell my students that they are my academic children and I am their academic parent. I only want the best for them.”

Students enrolled in his courses claim that he fosters the perfect environment for success by celebrating student achievement and awarding prizes on exams which he refers to as, “opportunities for excellence.” His enthusiasm for teaching is apparent as he holds the door open at the end of each class and personally says goodbye and offers quick counsel to his students as they leave.

Daigle is highly respected within the accounting academic community because he not only seeks to learn and grow in his own knowledge, but shares his expertise with others through service in academic organizations, presentations and editorial scholarship. He has co-authored education materials that were used this past year by 80 universities and over 5,000 students and is serving as the President of the Forensic Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association.

“I am always looking for synergy in my courses like getting creative in the classroom and publishing cases. I impress upon my students that not only are they learning this case, but students from other universities are also getting a good Sam Houston based education as well,” Daigle said. “We have a lot of first generation students and they are unsure about what they are capable of doing. I let them know that they are accomplishing things that are being accomplished by students at other schools. It gives them a big boost to their belief in what they can accomplish.”

Daigle’s office is also reflective of his commitment to serving as a devoted and motivated educator and reveals his fun and creative teaching style. Every inch of space is filled with items that inspire his own teaching career, such as his father’s rocking chair that he kept in his office during his career as a college professor, signed Bearkat sports memorabilia, a collection of orange jackets, magnets, books and photos with students.  

“Almost no day goes by in which there is not at least one if not multiple students wanting to talk with him about course topics, as well as seeking his advice and counsel for their careers,” one nominator said. “It is in that area of teaching that he demonstrates his high level of personal, individualized interest in his students.”

Despite earning the Excellence in Teaching Award, Daigle asserts he would not have received it without others, including his family, mentors, colleagues and most especially his students.

“My students inspire me, and I feed off their passion and energy. This achievement, I see it as their achievement, as well.”

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