Robert Shepherd, former director of the economics accounting track at UC Santa Cruz, has been named winner of the 2015 Outstanding Educator Award by the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA).
Shepherd was finance director for the City of Santa Cruz for 13 years and began teaching accounting at UCSC in 1982. He was involved in planning and developing the Business Management Economics major which has become one of the most popular on campus and has helped hundreds of students go on to successful careers with major accounting firms.
“The past fifteen years have been the most rewarding period in my teaching career,” Shepherd said. “Many of the students like myself, come from working class families and are often the first member of their family to go to a university. My emphasis is to prepare students for their future career.”
Shepherd instructed and mentored more than 18,000 students in economics at UC Santa Cruz alone. He also taught at Cabrillo College and San Jose State University.
“Bob has been instrumental in building our accounting program,” said Rob Fairlie, chair of the UC Santa Cruz economics department. “His tireless efforts in teaching, advising, and placing students into top accounting jobs have been remarkable.”
Shepherd is now officially a senior lecturer with security of employment emeritus. He taught what may be his final accounting course in winter quarter but continues to be involved in new student orientations, fall "Meet the Firms" job fairs, alumni events, CalCPA scholarship program, and the new Robert J. Shepherd Economics Accounting Path Scholarship program, founded by his family and open to juniors at UCSC.
“I've known Bob for two years now, and I took his last two classes – intermediate accounting in the fall and winter," said Stevenson senior Michael Kim, who nominated Shepherd for the state CPA award. “I like his positive, fun-loving personality and his ready sense of humor.”
Kim, who is finishing an economics/mathematics combined major with a concentration in accounting, said Shepherd always made sure students knew about real-world applications of accounting, drawing on his experiences working for Price Waterhouse, the Walt Disney Co., and the city of Santa Cruz, helping recover after the 1989 earthquake.
“I nominated him in hopes he'd be recognized for all he's done for me and the thousands of students he mentored over the years,” Kim said.
Shepherd said he is still in contact with many former students and is “especially elated” when one calls or writes to say they have passed the difficult national Certified Public Accountant Examination. “I thrive upon my students' success,” he said.
The award will be officially presented at the annual CalCPA Council meeting in June.
Shepherd previously won the UC Santa Cruz Excellence in Teaching Award twice (2001 and 2011); the Universal Design of Instruction Award (2011), issued by the UCSC Disability Resource Center; the Golden Apple Distinguished Teaching Award from the Social Sciences Division (1991); and the Favorite Professor Award (1991 and 1992) from the UCSC Alumni Association.