Assistant Professor of Accounting
Portland State University
Akin to many of our top profs this year, colleagues, students, and alumni alike came out in full-force to thoughtfully nominate Amanda Winn. She received around 80 separate nominations, which would have been close to a record in previous years. Former and current students, in particular, came out in droves to share their appreciation of Winn’s energy, excitement, and ability to make accounting fun and engaging.
“Prof. Amanda Winn’s commitment to meeting students where they are — whether they be quantitative or more qualitative in nature — and imparting the essential skills and constructs in accounting is remarkable,” another Portland State professor said in her nomination of Winn. “She receives extremely high students evaluations that rave about her ability to make complex accounting topics digestible, and dare I say, fun. As a faculty colleague, she is more than happy to help other faculty learn teaching methods from her arsenal. In terms of her research, Amanda builds in a multidisciplinary perspective including theories from psychology and economics to predict how disclosure and regularly rules may alter investors’ or auditors’ judgments. Overall she is a joy to work with and learn from!”
In her spare time, Winn says she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and exploring all the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Current Age: 36
At current institution since what year? 2017
Education: Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Washington Foster School of Business; Master of Accounting and Information Studies and B.S. in Accounting from the University of Kansas
List of current MBA courses you currently teach: Financial Reporting
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIFE AS A PROFESSOR:
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I was enjoying being a Teaching Assistant at the University of Kansas, and a kind professor, Susan Scholz, took the time to tell me about the research side of academic careers, which I previously knew nothing about. That conversation piqued my interest and ultimately changed my career path.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?
Broadly speaking, I use experiments to research how the changing information environment affects the judgments of people who use financial accounting information. One interesting current finding is that when investors read a press release on their mobile device, their judgments are more influenced by the content of the press release’s headline than if they had instead read the same press release on their computer. The implication is that the device you use to access financial information can change how you process and interpret that information.
If I weren’t a business school professor… I would probably still be working as an auditor at KPMG.
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?
I hope the students can tell how much I care about them and respect their efforts to change their lives for the better. I try to show that in the classroom by being organized, by respecting students’ time, and by making the class content as relevant as possible.
One word that describes my first-time teaching: Nervous
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: I can’t say there have been any surprises, but balancing my time between teaching and research obligations is the biggest ongoing challenge.
Professor you most admire and why:
My academic heroes are those who taught me at the University of Washington, especially Jane Jollineau, Frank Hodge, and Robert Bowen. All three have made important contributions to research while maintaining teaching excellence. Professor Bowen also deserves credit for everything I know about teaching MBA students.
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?
I love convincing people with no accounting background that financial reporting is important, and even interesting! I also really enjoy how excited our MBA students are to be in the classroom, working towards the next phase of their careers.
What is most challenging?
Helping students juggle their competing priorities and keeping up everyone’s energy level during long evening classes.
Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: Inquisitive
Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Overconfident
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM:
What are your hobbies?
Spending time with my family, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and reading.
How will you spend your summer?
Catching up on research projects
Favorite place(s) to vacation:
Anywhere with warm weather and a beach
I have recently really enjoyed Educated by Tara Westover and Grit by Angela Duckworth. I also read a ton of beach-worthy fiction.
What is your favorite movie and/or television show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?
The Great British Baking Show. I appreciate how kind the contestants are to each other and enjoy seeing everything they create.
Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist:
I don’t think I could pick a favorite. I played in classical and jazz bands throughout college, but I mostly listen to whatever is currently on the radio and songs that facilitate my daughters’ living-room dance parties.
THOUGHTS OF REFLECTIONS:
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…
Even more integration with the surrounding professional community, to help students see what career paths are possible and for faculty to better understand how to prepare students for those careers.
In your opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at doing what?
Recruiting, supporting, and promoting a diverse workforce.
Faculty and administrators say:
“Prof. Amanda Winn’s commitment to meeting students where they are–whether they be quantitative or more qualitative in nature–and imparting the essential skills and constructs in accounting is remarkable! She receives extremely high students evaluations that rave about her ability to make complex accounting topics digestible…and dare I say…fun. As a faculty colleague, she is more than happy to help other faculty learn teaching methods from her arsenal. In terms of her research, Amanda builds in a multidisciplinary perspective including theories from psychology and economics to predict how disclosure and regularly rules may alter investors’ or auditors’ judgments. Overall she is a joy to work with and learn from!”
“I am a Marine Corps veteran and a current MBA student. I had Amanda Winn as my Financial Accounting Professor during the first year of my graduate degree. When I met her, Professor Winn was straight out of a top accounting firm and we were her first class. I knew from my undergraduate degree that accounting was not a subject I enjoyed or excelled in. Somehow, Professor Winn made it fun, engaging, and easier to understand. That is not to say we didn’t have some bumps along the road as is the case with an entirely new course format and instructor. What I remember most about the times when we were all struggling though how to navigate these challenges is that Professor Winn was with us every step of the way. Her focus on her students and the time she dedicated to ensuring our success, as well as her infectious enthusiasm for teaching backed by years in a competitive accounting firm indicated to me that Professor Winn was meant to teach. In the (nearly) two years Professor Winn has been at Portland State she has already made an incredible impact on the MBA program and I cannot wait to see the results of her passion and drive on our community as she perfects her craft.”
“I have the privilege of working as Amanda’s graduate assistant. She is one of the brightest, kindest, most patient, and best organized people I have had the pleasure of working with. She’s also an excellent instructor. I had no exposure to accounting prior to taking her Financial Management course during the first year of my MBA program, and by the end of the course I was reading 10-Ks like a pro!”