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Accounting for the Real World

Dr. Nathan Goldman reflects on his first year teaching at Poole College of Management

Not many professors have to navigate teaching in the midst of a worldwide pandemic their first year on a new college campus, but like most things, Dr. Nathan Goldman tries to take it all in stride. Goldman, a tenure-track assistant professor of accounting, joined the Poole College of Management faculty in the summer of 2019 and immediately found ways to contribute to not only the college but particularly to the Jenkins Masters of Accounting (MAC) program.

“Nathan has done a great job of responding to the needs of the students during his first year teaching in the MAC Program. He provides an excellent balance of challenging students on one hand and providing needed support on the other – a good blend the students appreciate,” says Scott Showalter, Jenkins MAC Program director. “I appreciate the effort Nathan puts forth to make the student’s experience the best it can be.”

Goldman joined the Poole faculty after spending three years as an accounting professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He previously worked at the University of Arizona, where he received his doctorate in accounting, and at Deloitte & Touche in Charlotte.

“I met my wife, who is also an accountant, in North Carolina and we always hoped to move back to the state if we could,” Goldman says. “I already had relationships with some of the accounting professors at Poole – like Christina Lewellen, who I collaborated with on research papers, and Robert Whited, who I crossed paths with when working as an accountant in Charlotte. So when the stars aligned and a position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of a phenomenal accounting department and MAC program.”

It didn’t take long for Goldman to make an impact on the college. 

“In his first year, Nathan has been very involved on campus,” says Andrea Young, associate director of marketing for Poole College’s Jenkins Graduate Programs. “He’s published research, participated in media interviews, spoken at conferences, and even participated in some Instagram takeovers for the MAC program and Poole College.”

Goldman attributes his eagerness to get involved to his desire to make real connections with his students, which he hopes will serve them well as they progress through their careers.

“I try to participate in a lot of areas to help my students get to know me a little bit,” Goldman says. “This isn’t just another year of college. The MAC program is both coursework and mentorship where we help guide students’ transformation into becoming a professional. We’re not just teachers evaluating whether or not they know the material, but rather we’re also mentors to guide them along in their professional journey.”

We’re not just teachers evaluating whether or not they know the material, but rather we’re also mentors to guide them along in their professional journey.

One thing that Goldman believes sets the Jenkins MAC Program apart from other accounting programs is its focus on real-world application. To that end, Goldman tries to ensure his own research and classroom instruction ties into relevant issues facing society and business.

For instance, Goldman answered questions about stimulus payments in a recent interview with a local FOX affiliate, and in October, he co-wrote a paper discussing President-elect Joe Biden’s proposed tax plan.

“I appreciate how the Jenkins MAC Program is not focused on a style of teaching whose sole purpose is to pass an exam or to get a certain grade, but one that incorporates practicums and brings in accounting practitioners to provide insight into complex issues our students will encounter,” Goldman says. “This semester, I brought in four accounting practitioners to participate in a panel discussion around the CARES Act, Biden vs. Trump tax plans and even the news about President Trump’s tax records. That information is not necessarily something the students would be tested on when it comes time for their CPA exam, but instead information that’s really practical in the real world.”

He sees that a strong focus on practical knowledge is not only encouraged in the classroom but also plays a big role in faculty research. “We’re not just about demonstrating theoretical knowledge, but rather providing research that practitioners can pick up and run with,” he says.

As a result, Goldman believes NC State’s MAC program attracts a certain kind of student.

“Our students are phenomenal. They are so interested in learning,” Goldman says. “They don’t just care about getting the right answer, but they want to understand why it’s the right answer – and how they can apply that answer in the real world. And I think that’s a direct result of the faculty Poole College – and NC State – attracts.

There’s an expectation here that not only should you be outstanding at research, but also outstanding as a teacher. I think that’s something that separates us from some of our peer schools. There’s a constant demand to not only produce relevant, timely research but, as faculty, to continue to make our classes better. I always try to find new ways to improve and enhance my material and provide the best possible learning environment for my students.”