Being an educator is no walk in the park, and much dedication goes into creating lessons that impart students not just with knowledge, but also a love for learning. SMU School of Accountancy (SOA) Associate Professor Seow Poh Sun recently received recognition for his excellence as an educator when he received the prestigious American Accounting Association’s (AAA) Outstanding Accounting Educator Award 2023.
This award recognises an educator’s sustained contributions that have significantly impacted accounting education or accounting educators and is given in recognition of educational innovation and excellence in teaching. Other career contributions in the judging criteria include research guidance and mentorship to students, as well as impactful service to the profession and/or academic community. Assoc Prof Seow was one of the two recipients of the award this year, with the other being Prof Lilian F Mills, Dean of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.
Inspiring an excitement to learn
Assoc Prof Seow’s passion for education is clear in his ethos.
“I believe that teaching is not just about knowledge transfer,” he explains.
“It is about motivating and inspiring students to be curious and excited about learning. To inspire my students, I strive to ignite their interest by demonstrating its relevance in the real world. I believe that learning becomes a joy if I can ignite their interest to pursue knowledge.”
Over several years, Assoc Prof Seow has demonstrated his outstanding dedication and creativity as an educator. In 2013, he co-created the world’s first mobile-gaming app in Accounting, The Accounting Challenge or ACE. The app was later updated to SMU Challenge in 2019. He is also the co-creator for the Red Flags Accounting Fraud game, which uses the concept of gamification to help students learn how to identify accounting fraud.
Besides this, Assoc Prof Seow has created three online e-learning tutorials which have received extensive recognition across the accounting education community, namely; Resource-Event-Agent (REA) Data Modelling, Business Process (Revenue Cycle) and Business Process (Expenditure Cycle) to teach Accounting Information System (AIS) courses.
An affirmation of a stellar record
This year’s award is the latest of several accolades which affirms Assoc Prof Seow’s outstanding efforts as an educator, a testament to the sustained work and dedication that he has put towards teaching aspiring accountants in an effective way.
In 2020, he was the first recipient of the inaugural European Accounting Association (EAA) Accounting Education Excellence Award and was the first in Asia to receive the Howard Teall Award for Innovation in Accounting Education (First Prize) from the Canadian Academic Accounting Association for his video-learning project to teach internal controls. He also received the American Accounting Association (AAA) Outstanding Instructional Contribution Award in 2018 for developing an online tutorial to teach database modelling, the AAA Jim Bulloch Award for Innovations in Management Accounting Education in 2017 and the AAA Innovation in Accounting Education Award in 2015.
This latest award will be presented to Assoc Prof Seow at the 2023 AAA Annual Meeting, which will be held in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, 8 August. Sponsored by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Foundation, the award consists of a unique glass art piece, citation, as well as US$5,000 that will be split evenly between the award’s two recipients.
Dean of School of Accountancy, Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor Cheng Qiang, remarks, “The School is very proud of Assoc Prof Seow Poh Sun’s significant contributions to SMU and the accounting education pedagogy. As a recipient of the prestigious AAA Outstanding Accounting Educator Award 2023, we hope that he will continue to inspire his peers towards achieving innovative and cutting-edge practices in Accounting Education.