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Dr. Craig Reese Department of Accounting, Business Administration and Finance

Dr. Craig Reese

Bobcat Quick Hit:

Favorite Author: George Orwell

Favorite Movie: "The Alamo" (1960)

Favorite Quote: "Not to be a republican (liberal) at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head." - Franç ois Guizot, French historian (1787-1874)
Similar quotes are attributed to Churchill, Disraeli, George Bernard Shaw and Bertrand Russell.

If you could have a dinner party with two people, living or dead, who would it be? And why? "Jesus Christ and Socrates. I would ask Jesus to explain how his preaching changed the Old Testament. I would ask Socrates to critique Christianity."


It didn't take long for Dr. Craig Reese to realize that rather than practice accounting, he wanted to be more involved in understanding accounting.

"The only way you can indulge in that kind of activity is to be a teacher, a professor," he said. "Then, research is not quite voluntary—it's necessary. Very early in my career, I was interested in taking my dissertation, which is what you're supposed to do, and pursuing research related to that."

Dr. Reese was right on the money. He has been a teacher for 45 years, including the last 26 at St. Thomas University.

He graduated with a BBA from the University of Texas in 1969. Dr. Reese followed that degree with an MBA in business economics from St. Mary's University in 1974, and then a PhD in accounting and taxation from the University of Texas in 1979. His teaching career started while he was a PhD student.

"For all but maybe four or five years here at St. Thomas, I've been an administrator as well as an instructor," Dr. Reese said. "I haven't been able to do as much research in recent years. When I retire, I will be moving back to Texas. There's not much doubt about that. That's where my heart is."

Dr. Reese credits his upbringing in a military family and attending a desegregated school in Bermuda with giving him a different perspective.

"That was a very formative time because I was in a mixed-race school," he said. "The assignment coming back to the U.S. was in segregated South Carolina. You go from this school that was half white and half black to an American school in Charleston, South Carolina, and the restrooms at a gas station were marked ‘Male,' ‘Female,' and ‘Colored.' That was a different time.

"Because of that military upbringing in different places, you have a different perspective. You are not parochially focused on one place. My dad was a pilot, so I was following his trips around the world. He was flying from one place to another, and I was looking at the globe. That was not the perspective of other kids at that time. I think it's better when you grow up with a bunch of kids throughout most of your youth, but that wasn't my case."

Dr. Reese teaches the Managerial Accounting course in the online MBA program at STU.

Q: What will students learn in the online MBA course that you teach?

A: The main course I'll be teaching to all of the students is the Managerial Accounting course. The prerequisite for that is having undergraduate courses in principles of financial accounting. The purpose of the Managerial Accounting course is to show MBA students how they can use accounting information to help make particular decisions that come up for managers who are not the CFO. You need to be aware of what your CFO is doing. After the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, you really want to know your CFO, and you want to know your auditor. …

Managerial Accounting involves teaching awareness and recognition of accounting for operations based on principles. Therefore, when the information is presented to you, you understand enough to ask more questions, as opposed to being in a situation where you basically have no application knowledge. When you have no application knowledge, you learn the principles, but you don't know how to apply the information that's generated from the accounting activity itself. That's the main objective of the course.

This program caters to two groups—those with an undergraduate degree in business and those who do not have a business undergrad degree. For those who do not, we evaluate the courses they have had in the past to see if they have had economics, statistics and accounting. If they haven't had all three of those—or any of them—we have preparatory courses to prepare them to succeed in the MBA program.

I'll be teaching two of those preparatory courses. One is Essentials of Accounting, where in one term, we try to cover—in very accelerated fashion—principles of financial accounting. The other course is Foundations for Business Studies. That's going to be an essentials-of-economics course. If you didn't have economics courses as an undergraduate but had statistics, then you wouldn't have to do the statistics preparatory course. I'll be designing two of those courses—accounting and the foundation course.

Q: What is the value of an MBA?

A: There is a reason that the MBA has been the most popular graduate degree, other than the J.D., for years. To be successful in most careers, one must become a manager. The MBA program assists an employee in developing the skills necessary to become a manager.

Q: What advice do you have for the online learner?

A: Number one, with online education, you must always be ahead. You not only have to meet the deadlines for your assignments, you must work ahead. There are many reasons for that. You never know in your personal life when something is going to interfere. … You will fail if you procrastinate.

Q: Do you think your online learners differ from your face-to-face learners? If so, how?

A: Everybody has their own reason for going online—it depends on your circumstances. For somebody who is not in a metropolitan area who doesn't have any colleges with graduate programs nearby, what's their alternative? For a lot of people who are not in circumstances where they can get to a university campus, this is a solution. And it wasn't available before the 21st century.

Online students … have a very specific goal and that is, "To earn this MBA that's going to provide me with some additional skills, give me an opportunity to pursue my career goals. If my employer won't reward me for what I've done, then I need to be looking for a job." This is the way one should look at online learning.

Q: What is your career highlight?

A: The development of graduate education in taxation when I first taught—after my PhD program—at Florida International University, which in those days was a minor institution. At that point, I created the first graduate tax accounting program in the state of Florida. That was in part because, after the Tax Reform Act of 1969, the larger accounting firms decided that they would hire people for work immediately in their tax departments.

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