The award is presented annually to outstanding adjunct educators at Mason, including those devoted to course planning and preparation; curriculum development; and innovative teaching, advising, and mentoring.
Baker has been teaching as an adjunct professor at Mason for nearly fifteen years. She began teaching at Mason to “test the waters” at a time when she was considering a career change from public accounting to academia.
“I just fell in love with the classroom environment and the Mason community,” she said.
That helped her make the decision to transition from a twelve year career at Ernst & Young working in audit, tax consulting and tax compliance to teaching at Mason. Baker has taught a variety of accounting courses over the years but has been part of the ACCT 361 Accounting Information Systems instructional team for the past thirteen years. The course, she says, reflects so much of what she experienced with her audit and tax clients.
“We focus the course in a way that students are encouraged to ask questions and make connections to the real world. The students at Mason come to class with a lot of energy and a strong practical approach to problem solving.
“I tell the students the bad news is I expect a lot; the good news is I expect a lot from everyone. It is incredibly rewarding to see so many students achieve success at Mason due to their hard work and good choices,” said Baker.
Karen Kitching, associate professor of accounting and academic director of the MS in Accounting program said that Baker is an integral member of the ACCT 361 team, helping with the design of the course, the creation of the exams, and the grading rubrics.
“She goes above and beyond the usual duties of part-time faculty. On a few occasions, Heather has stepped up to the plate to coordinate the course when I am not able to do so, including this semester,” said Kitching.
“She is so deserving of this award. Her steadfast support of our undergraduate accounting program has made it a better one.”