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College of Business

James Thompson

Jim Thompson, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Accounting

CWU Des Moines 271
206.439.3800 x3839

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In his words (May 2013): I am Dr. James H. Thompson, although most of my students call me Dr. T. I have taught at Central for three years in the department of accounting in Des Moines. I teach intermediate accounting and auditing to undergraduate students and seminars in ethics and in auditing to graduate students. I completed my Ph.D. in Business with a major in Accounting at the University of Oklahoma. I moved to Washington State in 2007 from Oklahoma, where I had taught for 15 years at Oklahoma City University.

Tell us about an interesting hobby.

  • I enjoy playing tennis. I began playing about three years ago. I play in USTA leagues each winter, play in tournaments during the summer months, and play leisurely all year. I play both singles and doubles, but I prefer doubles. Quickness at the net is my best skill, so that makes me more effective at doubles.

What are you currently researching?

  • I began doing research as a doctoral student at the University of Oklahoma. I worked with several professors there on papers while in the program. I have continued working with my dissertation director over the years on a few papers. In addition, I taught in the doctoral program at the University of Mississippi where I co-authored numerous papers with my students, several whom I continue to work with today. My papers generally focus of financial accounting and reporting topics, ethics, and auditing.

What is something unique that you have discovered in your research?

  • Through much of my research, I have focused on topics that I encounter while teaching. In turn, I use many of my published papers in my classes, particularly graduate classes.

Describe your teaching style

  • I enjoy engaging students in the learning process. Sometimes, that involves lecture, especially during undergraduate classes. I am enthusiastic and like to encourage students in learning about accounting topics. Other times, that involves a Socratic approach, particularly in graduate classes. In seminars, I have students do many of the presentations. That way, students read, learn, and share knowledge with the instructor and other students. Many students at first are "uncomfortable" in a non-lecture setting but most gradually see the benefits and enjoy the process. I often have students work to develop a research paper, and some wish to continue that work after the class ends.

What do you think is the key to academic success?

  • Academic success depends on many variables. Although it may begin with ability, ultimately passion, drive, and determination produce success. Passion is where success begins. What you are passionate about, you will want to complete. If passion is lacking, other things will distract you. Drive keeps you working toward an ultimate goal, and determination keeps you from giving up. In intermediate accounting, I always emphasize the need for repetition. I relate success in accounting to success in sports. Those who are successful in sports generally have an ability that gets them started. However, excellence is achieved only by those who are driven to practice and are determined to master an activity. Related to accounting, students may solve all the required homework problems, but those who excel go beyond what is required to insure that they truly understand the method, not just follow the steps in the solution they have seen. They develop a confidence that breeds success. The most outstanding student I have ever taught was a girl from Hong Kong. She was not satisfied by completing one or two problems successfully. She actually solved every problem in the text I believe. She would ask questions when she did not understand and continue working until she was confident that she had mastered a topic. After graduation, she would go on to win the national gold medal for the highest score on the CPA exam of all candidates in the United States.

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