Robert Allen, the new dean of Utah Valley University’s Woodbury School of Business, was honored by the American Accounting Association for his leadership and service at the group’s Aug. 9 national convention in Denver.
Allen officially concluded his three-year leadership commitment with the association at the convention, where he was honored for serving as president-elect from 2020-2021, president from 2021-2022 and past president from 2022-2023. He joined the association over 30 years ago and has been a member ever since.
“The association has done a lot for my career,” Allen said. “It was nice to give back and pay it forward. This was more thanking me for my service.”
During Allen’s presidential term, he focused his leadership on growing the impact of professorial teaching and research. Allen said his primary focus has always been teaching even though much of the association’s efforts are focused on research.
“My passion has always been for teaching,” he said. “That is where my heart led me — toward really focusing on students and teaching.”
Allen has now brought that passion to UVU. “I started as dean in January and I am excited about this new opportunity,” he said. “I moved here because we can make an impact here. Everyone is focused on the student’s success. My heart has always been focused on the students.”
Before coming to UVU, Allen served and taught for 31 years at the University of Utah. At UVU, there are about 5,000 students in his college with 100 full-time and 80 part-time faculty.
“We have the opportunity to impact thousands of lives,” Allen said. “It’s fun to make a difference.”
As president of the American Accounting Association, or AAA, he was instrumental in creating a new award to recognize professors whose research makes an impact on solving societal problems.
The AAA is influential among academic accountants in the U.S. and many foreign countries who teach and research at the university and collegiate levels. The association has approximately 8,000 members.
“Business education and research is expensive,” Allen said. “As faculty, we owe it to our students and society to make sure our instruction is cutting-edge, and when we do research, it should be focused on issues and topics that benefit society overall.”
The new research award is co-sponsored by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Its stated purpose is to create the next generation of business and accounting leaders and to focus academic research on issues that will positively impact society the most.
“The AAA went through an incredible amount of change while Bob Allen was on the board and while he served as president,” said Yvonne Hinson, chief executive officer of the AAA, in a press release. “Under Bob’s leadership, the AAA has flourished and greatly expanded its reach. We are so grateful for his steady and insightful leadership.”
Now, Allen says he can take the group and UVU and move them quickly to newer heights.
“This is a university that knows how to leverage its resources,” Allen said. “I like to get out there and visit with the students. I’m meeting with a group this week. I feel UVU is a very special place.”
Over the years, Allen has received multiple academic awards for excellence in both research and teaching. In 2018, the AAA presented him with its most prestigious teaching honor, the J. Michael and Mary Anne Cook/Deloitte Foundation award in the graduate category and in 2008 he received the AAA/Deloitte Foundation Wildman Medal Award for research with the greatest impact on accounting practices.
When asked how his experience and service in the AAA will guide his leadership in UVU’s Woodbury School of Business, Allen said, “My UVU theme will be the same as it was at the AAA — helping students and faculty to grow and succeed in their chosen fields, and to grow the positive impact that they will have in their chosen fields and society at large.”
“As an educator, I feel it is my job to get better every semester, and to help our students and faculty get better,” he added. “Our work in the business school is very important and makes a difference in the lives of our students. I am privileged to work with dedicated people who are continually working to improve our school and focusing on student success. I am continually surprised at the cool things our faculty and staff are doing to help students succeed. It is truly an honor to work with them.”