Faculty Spotlight: Kathy Horton
Kathy Horton earned her undergraduate degree in Marketing. Then her life took a turn she didn't count on.
"I had decided to go back to school for my MBA," Horton explained. "The first course I took in the program was an upper-level accounting course. I loved the intellectual challenge and the content of the material ... so I became an accounting major!"
Her first job after earning her MBA was with the large accounting firm of Peat, Marwick and Mitchell (KPMG today). She then held a variety of corporate positions in accounting at TransUnion Corporation and Sears Bank (Fifth Third Bank today).
It was during this time that she discovered teaching.
"I began teaching part-time at COD when I was working in the corporate world," she explained "I enjoyed it so much that I began looking for a full-time teaching job and began my academic career at Purdue University -- Calumet. I loved accounting and nothing was more fun than sharing that interest with other people."
Horton also had taught at University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola before starting full-time at College of DuPage. And she laughs about the reactions she receives from people upon learning what she teaches.
"It's funny to watch people when I tell them I teach accounting...reactions vary from a polite 'Oh, I'm no good at math' to expressions of disgust!" she said. "Accounting is not math - it just uses numbers to communicate information. I tell my students it's like learning a foreign language. In the beginning, you have to learn the terminology, and then once you understand the meanings, you can communicate information.
"Accounting is all about people - not numbers. Because it's the 'language of business' and business is constantly changing, there are always new issues to address. I promise my students they will never be bored in this career."
Horton also points out to her students that accounting is a career for any place, any time and any company. You can work part time, full time or seasonally. You can work for a small company, a big company or own your own company. In short, all companies need accountants.
She is thrilled to be part of a thriving culture of excellence at College of DuPage.
"I am constantly amazed at the talents and knowledge of my fellow faculty here," Horton said. "So many are nationally and internationally renowned in their fields. But when I stand in front of my classes, it is for them that I try to do my best. Our students come here with so many diverse backgrounds and interests and I am thrilled to try and help them achieve their dreams. As businesspeople, they will use accounting, and I hope to be a small part of their successes.
"I hope my students leave me seeing accounting as a dynamic communication process critical to the operations of our global economy."