Dr. Lou Orchard
College of Business
The Heritage Bank University Professorship
Dr. Lou Orchard teaches various accounting focused programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, including courses such as Auditing and Assurance Services, Advanced Financial Accounting, and Managerial Cost Accounting.
How do you foster engaged, experiential learning opportunities for your students?
In many cases, I try to stimulate interest in the material by briefly discussing why the material is important, sometimes with stories from the news. After that, I try first to explain the material as clearly, as concisely, and as interestingly as possible. Next, I demonstrate how to work an exercise or problem dealing with that material. Finally, I ask students to work a similar exercise or problem in class on their own, and when they have finished, if anyone wants me to, I show them a correct way to solve it.
Obviously I can’t force my students to do the work necessary to learn, but my beginning students quickly learn (if they didn’t know it already) that even a passing grade requires significant effort on their part, and that, as with anything worthwhile in life, you get out of a class what you put into it.
Tell us something cool you are working on!
A little over five years ago, I was asked to chair my College’s Assessment Committee (having never served on the committee before). All the best Colleges of Business are accredited by the AACSB, which requires rigorous assessment. Assessment involves measuring whether students are learning what we want them to learn – and if they are not, formulating and implementing measures to remedy that situation. Which sounds simple, but it’s not!
Why is this so important? Well, graduates of AACSB-accredited schools earn significantly more than graduates of non-AACSB-accredited schools. Second, AACSB accreditation is a sign of quality recognized throughout the world, which means that as long as CSU’s College of Business maintains its AACSB accreditation, the value of our business students’ degrees will be recognized around the globe.
It has been extremely gratifying to be part of an amazing team in the College of Business that worked so tirelessly to help us maintain our AACSB accreditation, which was reaffirmed just this week!
What are some of your personal values and principles that shape how you carry out your work?
I strongly believe in the value of what we do here at Clayton State, and that is what motivates me every day. For my part, I help prepare students for well-paying careers that contribute to their communities. Many students find those careers attractive, particularly in what remain difficult economic times for many families. It is gratifying when my students succeed, and when they do not; it motivates me to strive for continuous improvement in what I do.
I did not do well in accounting when I was an undergraduate (I think I missed the class on debits and credits!). I overcame this obstacle by focusing intensely on passing the CPA exam and by taking a CPA review course. After having taught for many years, it can be difficult for some professors to remember ever having not known the material they teach. I haven’t forgotten my early struggles to learn the material, and I try to keep my own past struggles in mind as I watch my introductory students themselves struggle at first to learn what is much like a foreign language to them.
I try to live my life in such a way that I’ll be able to look back and honestly say that I made a positive difference in people’s lives. I’ve been very lucky and blessed to have had the parents, family, friends and opportunities I have had, and I try to help my students take advantage of the gifts and opportunities they have been given to build great careers for themselves!
What does it mean to you to be recognized by your peers?
When I learned that I had won this award, I was a little shocked, and quite humbled, because there are so many other faculty members in my College who deserve it. To receive this recognition for all my hard work is extremely gratifying. Receiving this award makes me feel that my contributions are valued by Clayton State, and I am extremely grateful for this award and recognition!