Letitia Pleis, an associate professor of accounting described by her department chair as an “ideal colleague,” is the first recipient of the Parker Faculty Excellence Fellowship, an award that recognizes superior teaching, scholarship and service to students, Metro State and the community.
Pleis, who in five years at the institution has already achieved tenure and a promotion to associate professor, was chosen for the fellowship by an outside panel of accounting professionals. The award, which carries a stipend, was initiated by Virginia Parker, a retired professor and chair of the Accounting Department and professor emeritus of accounting.
Half of Parker’s donation to the department was endowed for a faculty fellowship and half for student scholarships, which were awarded this year to Molly Clark and Doug Purdy, master’s of professional accounting candidates. The awards are funded by investment earnings on Parker’s gift, said Accounting Chair Rick Crosser.
All faculty members in accounting were eligible for the fellowship. “The criteria was just ‘tell us in a narrative why you are deserving,’ ‘’ based on teaching, scholarship and community service, Crosser said.
Pleis cited her goal to “establish an environment that creates a desire to learn as well as an opportunity to learn…by generating excitement in the classroom and using a variety of teaching techniques,” including technology and more basic “known-to-work” methods. She also cited her activities at Metro State, such as membership in the Faculty Senate, and in the community, including participation in professional organizations and development of small business accounting videos that will be available through YouTube.
"I am extremely honored to receive this award," she said. "The award represents the value that Metro and the Accounting Department place on teaching...I would also like to thank Virginia Parker for her contribution to the success of the Metro accounting students and faculty."
Pleis received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and her doctorate in accounting from the University of North Texas, Denton. Earlier this year, she received the Metro State School of Business Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“She’s awesome,” Crosser says. “Her teaching evaluations are incredibly strong; students love her; she’s rigorous.” Crosser says Pleis videotapes class sessions and posts them for students. One course she created, small business consulting, takes graduate students into the field to work with start-ups, Crosser says. Her contemporary issues in accounting class—also self-created—explores through readings and interviews what’s happening in the profession.
Crosser says that Pleis is a member of a top-notch team in accounting. The award, he adds, is not only an honor for Pleis but also for the department he heads.
“Her recognition, in part, is recognition of what we do; this group of faculty are just really, really good.”
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