Making students fluent in language of business

Sung-Han Lee

“When students are encouraged and excited about coming to class, they achieve their full potential,” says Sam Lee. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.

Sam (Sunghan) Lee teaches the “languages of business” — accounting, managerial accounting and cost accounting — to both undergraduate and graduate students.

While he’s interested in the process of financial reporting and disclosure, his research focuses on how organizations publicize topics like management forecasts, sales growth and CEO compensation, including salaries, bonuses and perks.

“I found that introducing accounting as an interesting and useful communication tool motivated students, which in turn facilitated the most effective learning experience,” says Lee, assistant professor of accounting in the College of Business Administration.

Lee came to UIC in 2007 with professional experience that includes auditing financial statements for KPMG Korea and working as an accounting officer for the South Korean army.

Lee predicts that his teaching philosophy, centered on encouraging self-development, will help students evolve as competent accountants.

“I often introduce myself as a guide for students’ journey to explore interesting topics,” he says. “When students are encouraged and excited about coming to class, they achieve their full potential.”

Lee says he finds teaching at UIC offers challenges and areas for his own improvement.

“Students at UIC are not traditional students who only study during their four college years. Most are commuting students who study and work together. Professors need to go an extra mile to motivate students to study hard.”

Lee says his goal is to inspire students to improve the way they study.

“I cannot forget the smiles of many students when they broke through struggles and expressed gratitude for my advice,” he says.

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