Dr. Eric Chan spent the majority of his academic life in the northeast. He earned his undergraduate degrees in Accounting and Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park, his Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Pittsburgh, and has family roots in Washington, D.C. Soon after graduating Pittsburgh with his Ph. D., however, his journey brought him to the south. Upon being hired, Dr. Chan was offered a position to teach either MBA or honors students– for the past five years he’s taught Managerial Accounting (ACC 312H) to Canfield BHP students.
“I remember when I first came, they asked me to either teach a masters level class or the undergraduate honors students. To me, it was a no brainer. I think I connect better with younger students and an intro class is very important for whether (students) enjoy and end up pursuing accounting,” Dr. Chan said.
Aside from being able to teach honors students, Dr. Chan felt that the University of Texas was the best choice for him because of the research opportunities as well. The faculty and McCombs resources, including the McCombs Behavioral Lab, both played a major part in his decision.
“I study people’s decision making– how they respond to certain interventions, whether there’s an incentive or rewards scheme that we implement, or how they react to certain feedback. Without the lab we wouldn’t be able to do our research, so that’s an important resource,” he said. “I also have four other colleagues who do experimental research and all of them are just fantastic. Many of them are doing top research in their respective fields. Being able to learn from them is very important for me.”
Dr. Chan applies his academic and personal learnings to the classes he teaches by linking case studies with recent research studies to inform his students.
“The case studies help (students) apply their knowledge and techniques, but the research is also important to see, ‘Hey, there’s actually more to this than just applying the techniques,’” Dr. Chan said. “It’s actually a lot of tradeoffs and understanding of how people think and respond to actions. Bringing in research can help students see the bigger picture and also help see the cutting edge or new frontier in terms of accounting. For a lot of people, it’s hard to imagine what that might be, so I want to expose students to that”
In addition to connecting research studies to traditional case studies, Dr. Chan accelerates the lecture aspects of his class to ensure time for discussion. Dr. Chan said Canfield BHP students tend to be engaged and willing to speak up and share ideas. He said it’s one of his favorite things about Canfield BHP students because the discussion helps people connect the class to real life. Dr. Chan said that the conversation Canfield BHP students generate allow him to learn as well.
“(Canfield BHP) students are willing to ask questions that are not just about a specific idea or a process or a learning objective. They ask, ‘How does this apply to the big picture of what’s going on outside the room?,’” Dr. Chan said. “On the first day of class I got (a question) about how accounting applies to the real world where AI and machine learning are taking over many jobs. I appreciate students being able to ask those big picture questions, because I learn something from hearing those questions and thinking through them.”