Megan BurkePoughkeepsie, NY
Megan Burke is in her first year teaching at Marist College, after spending her career teaching at universities such as Old Dominion, Virginia Tech, and Texas A&M Commerce. She teaches in the School of Management with a focus on Accounting. While she hails from the south, she is excited to take on the Northeast and bring her wide variety of professional experiences into the classroom.
So what brought you to Marist?
I was looking to teach at a college with smaller class sizes so I could have more interaction with students, and I also wanted to have students who are engaged and really interested in learning.
What classes do you teach at Marist?
Right now I’m teaching Principles of Accounting. I’ll probably be teaching some tax classes and we’re starting a Master’s Science in Professional Accountancy graduate program which will start in the spring.
How do you bring your professional experiences to the classroom?
I worked in public accounting for several years before I went back to get my Ph.D. and I was also a manager at an accounting firm. Generally, I like to hold students to the skills standards expected of a first-year staffer but I'll also bring case-studies into class and we'll investigate that. This is true especially when I teach tax classes. Case-studies and real-life examples of how it will be handled in the work environment as opposed to just looking at a textbook.
How do you think Accounting differs from any other focus in the School of Management or any other major?
When you talk about the School of Management, I would say that Accounting differs in the sense that it’s rules-based and governed so it’s really an issue of making sure that you understand those rules and how to apply them. When you talk about something like Marketing or Management there’s no real set of rules there that tells you specifically how things have to get done. With Accounting, it’s very rules-based and using a lot of analytics and big data to make decisions.
How has Marist differed from any other school that you’ve taught at previously?
I’ve taught at large, public state universities so it’s different right off the bat. It’s definitely a much smaller feel, there are much smaller classes, there’s an actual ability to interact with students. This is also a liberal arts-based institution so students are well-rounded and have the ability to experience a lot of other things. There’s also a community feel here that everybody at Marist is family and that’s not something you get at a large institution. During my Ph.D., I taught at Virginia Tech and you can have classes up to 1,200 students! The largest class I taught at Virginia Tech was 120 students and that is something you’re not going to have at Marist. That’s definitely been a nice, welcome change.
What advice would you give to an incoming student?
Make sure that you take your studies seriously from the start because it’s really hard to dig yourself out of a GPA hole. It’s better to have a good start and a good foundation. Really work at that transition, it’s not high school and there are different expectations. If you’re struggling, you need to seek out help in the first several weeks rather than waiting until the end of the semester. Marist has a strong commitment to students and there are a lot of resources to help you with whatever it is you might be struggling with and they can point you in the right direction. It’s important to take advantage of that. And, don't forget, faculty are people too! Occasionally you should just stop by and have a conversation with them, so you can understand that they’re people too and they’re not all that scary.
Written by Caroline Wolf '19