Bloomberg Businessweek named University of Richmond accounting professor Joe Hoyle one of America’s favorite professors in September, based on a student survey it conducted.
Bloomberg Businessweek first recognized Hoyle in 2006 as a favorite professor. But he has had many awards and other recognitions, as well. In 2007, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named Hoyle the Virginia professor of the year. In 2009, Accounting Today named him one of the 100 most influential people in the field, and he has been named Distinguished Educator at Richmond five times, along with professor of the year twice.
Nancy A. Bagranoff, dean of the Robins School of Business, said, “(He is) simply one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen, anywhere, ever.”
Hoyle’s method of teaching his two classes, “Introduction to Financial Accounting” and “Intermediate Financial Accounting II,” is the Socratic method, he said.
“I go in and I ask a question, and I ask them to figure it out,” Hoyle said. “Why should I give the answer, what good does that do? I think teaching should get away from telling students. It should get toward leading students to figure it out.”
For example, Hoyle said in an email, “I often tell people in my blog that I teach by creating puzzles that the students have to solve.
“I think if you really care about your students, you will push them very, very, very hard to succeed, and I do care about my students, and I push them very hard. I am not an easy teacher.”
Hoyle pushes students to come up with conclusions by themselves, sophomore Kaeli O’Connell said. She is currently in one of his accounting classes.
Hoyle doesn’t just teach the material students need to know; he teaches students how to make decisions in the business field, sophomore Jillian Ertel said. “He puts [in an] equal amount of time preparing for class as you do,” she said.
Hoyle’s door is always open, and “he is very helpful not only in accounting, but in anything else you want to talk about,” senior Brian Queally said.
Including the year Hoyle taught in graduate school at Appalachian State University, this year will be his 42nd year in the classroom, he said. He also taught at Gardner-Webb College from 1972 until 1976 and at The College of William and Mary from 1976 until 1979. He has been teaching at Richmond for 33 years.
Along with teaching students, Hoyle also writes a blog about teaching. “What I want is for other teachers to think about their teaching,” he said. “I want them to stop and say, ‘is this effective or can I make this better?’”
Along with his blog, which has had 62,000 page views, Hoyle said he also gave presentations on teaching to teachers. He asks his audience, “What do you want to accomplish, and are you accomplishing it?”
His most recent presentations have been in Baltimore, Louisville and Savannah.
Bagranoff said, “He’s always refining his craft and challenging others to do the same.”
“On the last day of class I want my students to say, ‘I never thought I could learn so much. I never thought I could think so deeply. I never thought I could work so hard. And it was fun,’” Hoyle said. “Everything I do is to get to that goal.”
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