Champions of HBU: Rita Tauer

My first academic experience at HBU began in 1983 when I enrolled in the Master of Accountancy degree program. After an early career in merchandising and the birth of my first son, Tommy, I was only three years into my new role as a stay-at-home mom when I took my father up on a challenge. I wanted to return to school for a graduate degree but our budget was not giving me the OK. My dad, knowing me better than I knew myself, told me if I would study accounting, he would pay the tuition. Broke and hungry for the challenge, I began my studies at HBU. Only after looking back did I realize HBU was the only school I considered. I believed I wanted a possible future career in accounting and I knew I wanted education with a solid, ethical infusion. I chose HBU. I made certain assumptions about the HBU education I was about to receive with absolutely no basis, however my assumptions proved true. I believe God’s hand was definitely guiding me and I would learn the whys later.

While in my program I encountered the very best, most caring faculty I had known since my elementary education. My success in the program was important to my faculty but that success meant I would become an ethical, knowledgeable accountant who was non-wavering in my faith. I learned accounting was a good deal more than debits and credits and a good deal more than serving the shareholder. My faculty taught me “the books” and the story those books better tell. HBU faculty were also instrumental in my placement in a public accounting firm after graduation as well as preparing me to sit for the CPA exam. My passing the exam was a tribute to my faculty (and some tutoring from my dad). It should be noted when I graduated with my Master of Accountancy in 1985, my graduation brought the number of HBU graduates to 3,860.

I believe the two most important things in our lives are our faith and our family; in that order. After the birth of my second son, Charley, I decided the pace of public accounting was too intrusive on my family, and I once again returned to the wonderful role of a stay-at-home mom.  After just one year in this role, HBU stepped back into my life. I was invited to teach Intermediate Accounting; the one course that gave me the most grief in my own degree plan. Although terrified at the thought of walking into a classroom, I was honored to be invited and knew I had already witnessed what the responsibilities of an HBU faculty included; I hoped I would be able to live up to what I had enjoyed first-hand. The College of Business and Economics was very supportive of my desire to be at home with my children while affording me the opportunity to have a career in academia. My schedule was flexible and my children and husband Thomas enjoyed many activities on the HBU campus over the years.

My teaching was modeled after the experience I had as a student at HBU. As faculty, I was totally comfortable modeling my faith in the classroom right alongside, and smack dab in the middle of, teaching accounting practice. I selfishly found myself wishing those students pursuing their Accounting education elsewhere would one day encounter my HBU students in workplace and realize what they had missed. I remained as a faculty member until June 2014 and during that time I was honored to assume various additional responsibilities which provided me exposure to graduate students, and afforded me leadership opportunities. I served as director of MBA Programs, associate dean for Graduate Programs and interim dean of the College of Business and Economics; those were some of my most memorable experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed the responsibility, and the relationships I built with the College faculty have become lifelong friendships.

I feel so very fortunate to have had many “careers” here at HBU and each in its own, has allowed me the ability to continue to grow in my career and in my faith. I have been fortunate to serve in positions where I have the opportunity to influence the lives of students as well as faculty, and I pray I have had a positive influence on their lives and their faith.

In 2009, I had the privilege of working with our HBU Athletics leadership to prepare the certification report for NCAA Division-I membership. This was my first introduction to compliance and it served as yet another example of HBU always seeking what is best for our students. The return to NCAA Division I status has brought HBU athletics the exposure it so deserves.

For a brief interlude beginning June 2008, for 18 months, I had the special treat of launching and serving as the dean of a brand new College of Continuing Studies. This was genuinely a lot of fun. The first class offered was Dancing with OUR Stars and was attended by President and Mrs. Sloan, several Board of Trustee members, faculty and HBU friends. This was yet another example of the HBU family being so supportive of everything “HBU.”

I began serving in my current role as associate provost for Academic Operations in June 2010. Prominent in my duties is serving as the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison where one of the most rewarding responsibilities is the annual preparation of the assessment of the beautifully articulated Ten Pillars Vision. Each of the last eight years we have accomplished major milestones of the Vision.

I am about to begin my 30th year here at HBU, and this spring I had the privilege of seeing my son, Charley, teach his first course at HBU. The Tauer legacy lives on! God bless him!

 

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