Any new faculty member who wants to be a great educator should get advice from Dr. Adolph Neidermeyer.
He has been teaching at the College of Business and Economics since 1972 and has been named the institution’s outstanding teacher 24 times, based on student evaluations. Additionally, the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants has recognized him as Outstanding Accounting Educator in West Virginia.
He has been voted as Outstanding Teacher by the students of the Golden Key National Student Honorary on three occasions. He recently was awarded the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award for the College of Business and Economics.
The fundamental idea behind his success as a teacher is dialogue. “It’s all a matter of establishing rapport with students,” he said. “Learn their names as soon as possible and pose questions to them – ask them to help you answer questions. If they feel a part of the class, that they are participants, then they will also feel obligated to be prepared. If they don’t buy in, then they are just sitting there.”
But it’s not just about the students. This dialogue with students is important to their professor, too. Neidermeyer said the best thing about teaching is “the interchange with students and seeing them grow in awareness of the topics.”
Outside-of-class involvement with students has been an integral part of Neidermeyer’s career. He served as faculty advisor to the Alpha Psi Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting honorary, for more than 20 years. The honorary received numerous awards in the form of tuition scholarships for members for outstanding professional programming and participation during his tenure. Subsequent to his involvement with Beta Alpha Psi, Neidermeyer initiated an Accounting Club to offer additional professional programs for students in the accounting major and served as faculty advisor for a number of years.
Neidermeyer has taught a diverse inventory of accounting courses during his career: Principles of Accounting, Cost Accounting, Intermediate Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, Financial Accounting Theory and Tax Research. He was involved in developing the initial off-campus graduate program for the College and has seen the evolution of the curriculum delivery modes from the early days when faculty traveled to each distance site, to videotaping of the respective courses accompanied by telephone conversation, to live broadcasts from classrooms in B&E to, finally, his development of an online course with 24/7 access.
His current teaching topics are federal taxes and personal financial planning. Neidermeyer developed the course in personal financial planning for students in the EMBA program. Since then, he has taught the course in both the Master of Professional Accounting and undergraduate programs.
There’s a lot to learn, because students entering college simply don’t have much of an idea about how to deal with their own money. For the most part, they have not had any. “The objectives of my course in personal finance are to help them understand how to allocate their own money and to be informed consumers. This awareness will serve them well professionally and in their own lives when they graduate,” he said.
Neidermeyer, the College’s senior faculty member, earned a Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, a master’s degree at The Ohio State University and an undergraduate degree from WVU. He runs/walks a couple miles just about every day, is trim and dresses in business attire for classes.
During his time at WVU, Neidermeyer has seen many changes. Morgantown has grown, certainly, and issues in personal finance in 2013 are quite different from those in the 1970s. For example, benefit choices were simple then: one took what a company offered, and options were few. “It was pretty much lock-step back then. Companies offered a set benefits package, and that was it,” he said. “Now, there has been a switch to cafeteria-style plans with many options. So, financial counseling has changed.”
And then there’s air conditioning. Neidermeyer remembers when the College was in Armstrong Hall, and he had to share air conditioning with a colleague. He had installed his own window unit, but there was a problem with the electricity supply. He was forced to take turns with the late Dr. Gail Shaw, whose office was nearby, running their air conditioners alternately.
Internships were rare 40 years ago. “Now, we have the Center for Career Development matching students with internships. Back then, I called around the state and asked companies if they would take on a student,” he recalled. Additionally, students were recruited mostly for jobs in West Virginia and the Pittsburgh, Pa., area, he said. Today, they begin their careers all across the nation and around the world.
He offers professional development executive short courses in financial accounting and personal planning issues. His research interests include not-for-profit accounting, tax planning, personal financial planning and environmental reporting. Neidermeyer serves on the board of directors of the West Virginia Tax Institute and is an active member of the Institute of Management Accountants.
He is a fan of WVU sports, mystery novels and biographies, and he is married to Ellen, his high school sweetheart. They have two daughters: Presha, a professor of accounting in the College, and Mandy, a certified Waldorf Kindergarten teacher. Their sons-in-law, Presha’s husband, Davide, is a professor of mathematics at Union College, and Mandy’s husband, Jay, is a professor of marketing at Union College. Two grandchildren, Eliza and Jack, are elementary school students in the Waldorf program.
He comments that he has thought about retirement but has no definite plans to enter that phase of his career. “You retire to do activities which you enjoy. I'm currently still fully enjoying my teaching and counseling of students. When that enjoyment wanes, I will retire to have ‘fun’ with other activities,” he said. “My teaching calendar is nine months in length, so I currently have plenty of time to enjoy other activities.”