Utah Tech University

Faculty Spotlight: Cindy Greenman

By Malia H Adamson

Dr. Cindy Greenman is an Associate Professor of Accounting at Dixie State University and has been for the past two years. Dr. Greenman has a variety of interests and specialties, which include teaching forensic accounting and fraud, accounting ethics, learning about different pedagogy, and utilizing case studies and real-world cases to get information to the students.

Innovation in Teaching

Innovative Teaching through Active Accounting

Accounting is a subject that Dr. Greenman believes is perfectly suited to active learning. In her classes, Prof. Greenman’s students learn by doing. They practice doing journal entries, calculating margins and inventory values, and other facets of accounting.

This active learning is something that Prof. Greenman applies in all of her classes in different ways. In her managerial courses, Dr. Greenman creates practice problems for students to work through in excel that mirror tasks they will see often in normal business situations. In her Auditing classes, Prof. Greenman has students work through audit procedures just as they would in a real-world audit.

With upper-level accounting classes, she takes this approach a step further by assigning them semester-long projects, where students apply what they have learned in an in-depth, hands-on experience. One of these classes is the Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination class (ACCT 4150). In this class, students are separated into teams of four-to-five students and are each assigned a fraud case. The groups receive the fraud complaint during the first week, and each week following this, they receive a new piece of evidence. This evidence includes interview transcripts, emails, bank statements, etc. At the end of the semester, they take all of the evidence that they have gathered and analyzed along the way and create a Case Report.

Get to Know Me Better

Cindy Greenman Awarded Fraud Educator of the Year (2019) by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)

Are you from Southern Utah originally or did you move from another location when you came to DSU?

Prof. Greenman originally hails from Michigan. After graduating from college, she started teaching evening classes at a local college. She fell in love with teaching and afterward pursued a Ph.D. so that she could teach full-time. In 2011, she and her family moved to Arizona, where she taught before moving to St. George in July of 2020. The main reason that Dr. Greenman decided to come work at DSU is because of the culture here. She wanted a work environment where the administration values and supports their faculty, and DSU has been a great environment for this type of support. Especially in regards to who Dr. Greenman works with on a daily basis, she has a great love and respect for the people who have contributed to her experience here.

What inspires you in your teaching?

The most inspiring thing to Prof. Greenman is her students. Dr. Greenman herself was a first-generation student, and she remembers the struggle of going to school while working and dealing with other life commitments, often having to miss out on many of the fun experiences that college had to offer, such as studying abroad. But it taught her a lot about working hard to accomplish her goals. Our university has a large population of students that are first-generation or are working through school, and although she doesn’t single them out or make any special accommodations for them, she does offer support to all of her students. This support includes allowing students one assignment extension per semester, as well as dropping the lowest homework grade of each student at the end of the semester.

What is your best teaching resource?

Dr. Greenman has found great resources in her profession, one of which is the American Accounting Association, an organization specializing in accounting faculty. They hold annual conferences that she attends to keep up with current trends in her field, as well as offer her a chance to network with other accounting faculty from various universities.

As far as people who have been a great support of her teaching, she cites some of her high school teachers and coaches that showed her what being a good teacher is all about, as well as her many mentors along the way. Dr. Greenman is so grateful for all that she has learned from her colleagues. Dr. Ross Johnson, her assigned onboarding mentor, has been a continual support in her work here at DSU. Additionally, Dr. Derrick Esplin, the Chair along with the entire department of the Accounting, Finance, and Data Analytics Department, have been incredibly supportive of Dr. Greenman and her work. The entire department has been amazing to work with.

What is your Favorite Class to Teach?

Dr. Greenman explains that it is hard for her to choose a favorite, as she loves many different classes for different reasons. She enjoys financial accounting because it is the first introduction to accounting that many students receive at the university, and it’s fun to see students’ first spark of interest in the subject during this class. Managerial Accounting is another great class because it is very applicable to real-life situations, and as such, students understand the subject well and often can apply it to their current life situations. Auditing is an upper-division course that she loves to teach, as the process of auditing was a large part of her career both before and after teaching. She can relate much of the class to experiences that she has had in her field, and it is exciting for her to be able to teach students using these connections. Lastly, the Forensic Accounting class is one that Dr. Greenman particularly enjoys because it investigates fraud cases, and it’s fun to discuss crime in relation to accounting with the students.

What is your most challenging teaching experience?

Early in her full-time teaching career in Arizona, one of Dr. Greenman’s advisee students was killed in a car accident on her way to class. It was extremely difficult for her and everyone else at the school, as it was a smaller school and everyone knew each other. They ended up holding a huge memorial on campus for her, and her parents even flew in from California to attend. It was a very moving experience, and it was hard for Dr. Greenman to go back to class and see her empty seat afterward. Dr. Greenman explains, “It was challenging getting through the rest of the semester. However, I learned that the other students needed to talk about her. We shared stories. We missed her, but realized we could move on and still remember her.”

What is your favorite teaching experience?

One of Dr. Greenman’s favorite experiences was when her students all spontaneously dressed up on Halloween in costumes that related to the course. The class was accounting, so the costumes were all a play on common accounting phrases and objects, such as a “Cash Cow”, a “Money Launderer”, a calculator, and “General Ledger”. It was such a fun event that showed her students were not only engaging with the topic, but were having fun with it. The experience was engaging enough for both the students and herself that she has continued the tradition using extra credit to encourage students to keep the tradition.

What interests or hobbies do you have outside of work?

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Greenman enjoys hiking with her husband of 27 years, as there is no shortage of beautiful trails in St. George. She has two grown children that live with their families, one of which lives in Nebraska, and the other of which lives in Colorado; she also visits Michigan often as a large portion of her family lives there.

Dr. Greenman also enjoys traveling. She is looking forward to the time when foreign travel is less restrictive. In her life, she’s been to 45 out of 50 united states, as well as 20 foreign countries. One of her favorite travel experiences was with a colleague to Vietnam. The two traveled by boat on the Mekong River, visiting floating markets, bicycling alongside rice fields, and learning about the local cuisine. They even had lunch in a village that taught them about rice cakes, candy making, and snake wine. She still has a bottle of snake wine that has a baby cobra inside it!

What advice would you give to other faculty teaching at DSU?

While Dr. Greenman is rather new to this university, she has had over 19 years of teaching experience, and through this experience, she has learned many new things about her job as a professor. If she had to give advice to other faculty members, it would be to try your best to be flexible and continue to improve your classes. Learn alongside your students what works and what doesn’t, and use these experiences to improve your classes.