MURFREESBORO — With more than 30 years of service molding future accountants as a member of the Jones College of Business faculty, Dr. Paula Thomas was honored Friday as the 13th recipient of the Career Achievement Award during MTSU’s Fall Faculty meeting at Tucker Theatre.
Thomas holds the Deloitte Foundation Professorship in Accounting, an honor “that reflects her success in instilling knowledge and professionalism in students and preparing them for careers,” University Provost Brad Bartel said.
In accepting the award from the MTSU Foundation, the Fayetteville, Tennessee, native said her position at MTSU had “allowed me to do things I had never dreamed of … It’s provided me a career, opened doors and allowed me to pursue opportunities in the accounting profession and accounting education well beyond our campus.”
After starting her professional year as an accountant in Nashville, Thomas caught the teaching bug after teaching night courses in accounting at a community college and decided to pursue an academic career. Her research on cash-balance pensions was a resource for IBM employees who were concerned about their reduced pension benefits resulting from IBM’s pension plan conversions.
At MTSU, Thomas has previously served as a department chair, has worked on accounting curriculum at the national level through a variety of professional organizations, and currently serves as faculty adviser for Beta Alpha Psi, an international honors organization for financial information students and professionals. Last year, the group’s service and professional activities earned it “Superior Chapter” status, Beta Alpha Psi’s highest designation.
Thomas thanked her husband, Earl, also a member of the business faculty, and her three children for supporting her while also praising current and former colleagues, administrators and students “for allowing me to be a part of their lives and allowing me to see their successes. That’s really the most rewarding part of my job.”
Other faculty awards
Other faculty members were also honored during Friday’s meeting. Presented by alumna Kathy Jones (B.S. ’83), current president of the MTSU Foundation, the five recipients of the 2014 Outstanding Teacher Award are:
- Dr. Heather J. Brown, Department of Concrete Industry Management.
- Dr. Rebecca M. Fischer, speech-language pathology and audiology, Department of Health and Human Performance.
- Associate professor Sisavanh Houghton, Department of Art.
- Dr. Victor J. Montemayor, Department of Physics and Astronomy.
- Dr. Nathan C. Phillips, horticulture, School of Agribusiness and Agriscience.
The 13 additional MTSU Foundation Award winners for 2014 are:
- Dr. Paula Bevels Thomas, Department of Accounting – Career Achievement Award.
- Drs. Ashley B. Morris, Department of Biology, and Ahad Nasab, Department of Engineering Technology – Special Projects Award.
- Dr. Janis Brickey, interior design, Department of Human Sciences - Creative Activity Award.
- Drs. Cyrille L. Magne, Department of Psychology, and Ngee Sing Chong, Department of Chemistry – Distinguished Research Award.
- Dr. M. Dawn McCormack, Department of History – Outstanding Teaching in General Education Award.
- Drs. Jonathan M. Bradley, Department of English; Thomas M. Brinthaupt, Department of Psychology; and Michael S. Fleming, Department of Recording Industry – Outstanding Achievement in Instructional Technology Award.
- Dr. Wendy Beckman, Department of Aerospace; Nancy E. Stubblefield, College of Mass Communication; and Dr. Jeremy Winters, Department of Elementary and Special Education –Outstanding Public Service Award.
To view the MTSU Foundation Awards 2014 program, visit http://ow.ly/ACj0h.