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Benson was nominated by student Hannah Peterson, who said, “Jan Benson is an extremely effective teacher and helped me understand the extremely difficult content of accounting. Not only has she helped me beyond description in academics, but she has been supportive and understanding of me throughout my college career.”
These comments show the fruit of Benson’s efforts as a UW professor, both in and out of the classroom.
“I consider our students our customers, and I want to give them the best service I can,” Benson says. At the same time, she knows students have different needs beyond having their academic studies expedited by an efficient faculty.
“Students are unique individuals, each with their own hopes and dreams, fears and disappointments, challenges and opportunities. In a small way, I want to help them reach their goals, provide support in challenging situations and give a word of encouragement when things don’t go as planned.”
Benson did not start out wanting to be a college professor. In fact, she was focused on raising her young children when she decided to study for a degree in accounting. Then she went on to earn a master’s degree in that field, which included working as a graduate teaching assistant at Kansas State University. That’s when she discovered she loved working with students.
Benson has received numerous honors and awards since she began her career at UW in 1999. She was a Mortar Board Top Prof in 2013 and the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Professor of the Year in both 2012 and 2013. She was named Ursel K. Albers Mentor of the Year by the Institute of Management Accountants in 2010 and was given the Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award, Ellbogen CTL, in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
In addition to teaching, Benson has 20 years of experience in both public and private accounting. All of these experiences contribute to her success in teaching. “If I can make a small difference in someone else’s life, then that’s my definition of success,” she says.