ROCK HILL, S.C. - Angela Letourneau, professor and chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics for Winthrop University, is the S.C. Professor of the Year for senior colleges and universities. The award was announced today at a press conference held in the Rotunda of the Capitol.
Letourneau teaches in every program in the university's College of Business Administration and was recognized earlier this year as the 2006 recipient of the Distinguished Professor of the Year for Winthrop. Winthrop officials said Letourneau, who plans to retire at the end of this academic year, is the epitome of faculty excellence. "Teaching and learning are the core of all we do at Winthrop, and Dr. Letourneau's body of work with her students is eloquently representative testimony as to why that is so important in creating a well-rounded workforce and citizenry for the future of South Carolina," said Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio.
The Distinguished Professor award is the highest recognition Winthrop bestows upon a faculty member. The selection indicates exceptional skill in teaching, significant research or creative effort, high standing among professional colleagues and general service to the university.
"Dr. Letourneau is equally adept at dealing with young sophomores in basic accounting, aspiring CPAs, or adult learners in the weekend Executive MBA program seeking only to broaden their overall understanding of managerial accounting," said Roger Weikle, dean of the College of Business Administration. In 2003, Letourneau also was named the winner of the "Educator of the Year Award" by the S.C. Association of the certified public accountants for her contributions to student professional development.
She is one of the most sought-after mentors in the college's peer evaluation system, according to Weikle. Letourneau has lent her expertise to national committees, university committees and student groups in the Small Business Institute program, which is part of the Small Business Administration program to involve university programs in real-life problem-solving projects for small businesses. Her student course evaluations reveal that she was "very effective in communication and challenging students to think critically" and "can make hard things easy very quickly." She has helped shape the college's curriculum, most recently working on the complete revision of the accounting series for the E.M.B.A. programs in 2005.
Letourneau led the department in investing in instructional technology to help students become proficient for the accounting industry. Almost 15 years ago, she joined a group of her colleagues in attending a conference in Maryland explaining how computers could improve business students' learning through "online" interaction. She made the case to invest in the technology and won a grant to pay for equipment to give students' immediate feedback on their knowledge. When the next generation of software was developed, Letourneau convinced a vendor to provide it to Winthrop as a gift. As Winthrop began using WebCT, she recognized its benefits for accountants, given the move of the profession into electronic financial transactions and the industry's use of computer exams for certification.
Winthrop students benefit from her leadership in the department. In the 2005-06 recruiting cycle, her students were hired by all Big Four accounting firms. Her former students are now partners in two of those firms. And in each of the last two years, Winthrop students have scored the highest in the Southeast on the qualifying test for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
A productive scholar whose work has been published in the industry's most reputable journals, Letourneau has made contributions nationally to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International to improve coverage of introductory accounting for non majors. A Winthrop faculty member since 1988, Letourneau also taught at Louisiana Tech University and worked as an Internal Revenue Service agent. She holds a B.S.B.A. in accounting from Louisiana State University-Shreveport and an M.B.A. in accounting and D.B.A. in accounting from Louisiana Tech.
Joining Letourneau as 2006 Governor’s Professors of the Year is James E. Privett, professor in the Department of Science, Math and Engineering at the University of South Carolina Sumter, who won the award for the state’s two-year colleges and universities. Letourneau and Privett were selected from a total of 35 candidates nominated by their respective institutions. At today’s luncheon honoring the professors, the two were each presented a framed certificate to document their designation and a check for $5,000.