CPA PROFILE

Dr. Shawn Mauldin

Dr. Shawn Mauldin has made just about every transition you can make in the CPA profession: from industry to owning his own business to public accounting to academia.

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Dr. Shawn Mauldin

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Dean of the College of Business
Nicholls State University
Thibodaux, LA

Dr. Shawn Mauldin has made just about every transition you can make in the CPA profession: from industry to owning his own business to public accounting to academia.

But it was that last one that finally cured his wanderlust. “I was teaching a part-time class, which led to an opportunity to work full-time as an instructor of accounting. And when I did that, I realized that’s really what my calling was. I remember thinking that I can’t believe they actually pay people to do something that they enjoy so much,” Shawn says.

He was 39 years old at the time. Since then, Shawn has become one of the most devoted accounting educators around. He rose from professor to the Department Head of Accounting and Business Law at Nicholls State University, his alma mater. From there, the school decided he could run the place—and named him Dean of the College of Business.

“As dean, you set the strategic direction of the College of Business,” Shawn says. “You determine what the long-term goals are and you set the path to get there. And you have the influence and the power to actually get that done.”

Shawn spends his days being an advocate and voice for the College of Business. He represents the school in campus-wide meetings, networks with potential donors and local employers, and even manages renovation projects for the school’s buildings. He is also still active in research, something that all university accounting faculty must take on.

“Since we are an accredited business school, we’re required to maintain a certain level of research to be academically qualified,” Shawn says. “I publish things that help practicing CPAs understand various issues.”

While Shawn misses teaching classes, in some ways being Dean is even better than being a professor. “[As dean], you indirectly influence students’ lives more than you do as a faculty member,” he says.

However, when you’re the man in charge, not everything can be sunshine and roses. Shawn says a lot of his interaction with students comes when they’re not happy about something and want him to resolve an issue. But those interactions don’t outweigh the great parts of the job. “Just being in this environment, being around other professors and students, it’s just a great lifestyle. Each day is different.”

  • 7am: Breakfast with advisory board member

    The Executive Advisory Board of the College of Business meets formally twice a year, usually at a breakfast. The board is made up of captains of industry in the community, who provide feedback to us on our curriculum, quality of students, fundraising initiatives, etc.

  • 8am: Meeting with Executive MBA program director

    I meet with the director of our Executive MBA program regularly to discuss what’s going on, as he reports directly to me. We talk about promoting the program, the curriculum, and any issues that may arise.

  • 9am: Meeting with leaders of student organizations

    There are a number of student organizations in the College of Business, such as Beta Alpha Psi. They request meetings with me to get feedback on their needs. I listen to their concerns and try to provide some guidance to make their organizations more efficient.

  • 10am: Meeting with members of the facility service for room renovation

    We’re renovating a room right now with some money from a donor, on behalf of his wife. It will be used for our Executive MBA program and executive management of the college. I am the project manager, overseeing what’s going on and giving input on what the final product should look like. I make sure our vision comes to life—the technology, the furniture, etc.

  • 11am: Meeting with dean’s council

    All the provosts and deans of the university get together weekly to discuss issues related to academics. I represent the College of Business, of course. 

  • 12pm: Rotary meeting

    The local rotary is a community service organization, but also a great place to network within the business community. I have lunch there every Tuesday and socialize with people in the community from various professions.

  • 1pm: Work on article for CPA journal - 2 hours

    As faculty, we have to research, write and publish. It’s a requirement for our jobs. So I try and carve out a little time every day for academic research. It can be challenging.

  • 3pm: Meet with faculty member to discuss online classes

    We’re trying to move more of our classes online. There are some students who live and work far from campus, so they prefer the online courses. However, we need to make sure the courses are still quality—that’s the challenge. Our goal is to have all of our core classes—100 and 200 level classes—online soon.

  • 4pm: Meeting with the Asst. VP of Administration and Director of Purchasing to discuss upcoming projects

    I meet with them to talk about various projects we have within the College of Business for renovation and maintenance of the buildings. You might not think the dean is responsible for the actual buildings we work in, but I am. I determine what needs to be done and they implement it.

  • 5pm: Sign timesheets, approve purchase orders, other paperwork - 2 hours

    This is daily administrative stuff that comes with any job. It’s not fun or exciting in any way, but it has to be done.

  • 7pm: Nicholls State baseball game

    I try to attend sporting events every so often to support my students.

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