Every week, Hiram College News will profile one faculty member. Check back at the beginning of each week for the new profile.
This week, we feature Earl Kissell, professor of economics and management.
I began teaching at Hiram through the Weekend College, and this is my twenty-fifth year teaching in the Weekend College. I was employed full-time in the accounting industry. When I retired from industry, it just so happened that a full-time position opened up in the accounting department at Hiram. I applied and got accepted to teach full-time. I have been teaching full-time now for 11 years.
Hiram is a very unique place. Our primary focus at Hiram is on teaching rather than research, even though most of the professors do research. Teaching, mentoring and discussing career developments with students are our primary goals. I think that is what helps students distinguish Hiram from other colleges.
Hiram College is a small, private liberal arts college that primarily focuses on the well-being of its students. We want to ensure that our students grow, not only in terms of technical confidences, but also in terms of softer skills—communication skills, ability to think, to create, to be innovated and to make decisions.
The 12 and 3 week provides significant advantages. First, it enables our students to experience study abroad without falling behind in their graduation rate. It also enables professors to be a little bit more creative and innovated in their classrooms. During that 3-week period, we have total control over the students, and we can arrange for visits outside of the classroom. It also breaks up the semester. I think the 12-3 is incredibly advantageous.
Hiram College students are focused and dedicated, and they come to class prepared. One unique thing about Hiram College students that I have never noticed on other campuses is that there does not seem to be this incredible competitive pressure to always be number one in the class. Most of the students in my classes volunteer to help students that are struggling, and no one seems to be overly obsessed with their grade being better than everyone else’s. They all work together. At Hiram, we do a lot of teamwork, so I think that helps a lot in facilitating compatibility rather than competition in our students.
My colleagues are incredibly bright. They are very caring. I think that is another thing that makes Hiram unique. The faculty is so caring that you get caught up in it. When I came to Hiram, I did not know what Hiram really was. I spent my first year watching and observing my colleagues, and from them I have learned an enormous amount about how to teach, how to mentor, how to care for students. I have the utmost respect for my colleagues.
I love Hiram and enjoy everything I do here. Especially gratifying are my teaching experiences. The students’ demands of excellence have forced me into excellent teaching habits. I get the opportunity to not only teach, but also coach, which would not take place at any other college.
First and foremost, our curriculum prepares students to become certified public accountants. A significant number of our students will go on to graduate schools and then into public accounting, either at the international firms or some of the larger regional firms. Some of our students go directly into industry and work for Fortune 500 companies. Other students make a career in government; they work for the Internal Revenue Service, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Students can also work as auditors for the state of Ohio or for different regulatory agencies. The field of accounting is massive with opportunities. Every business, every entity, every non-profit organization, requires the use of accounting. The doors for accountants are just wide open.