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School of Accountancy professor has spent decades putting students of all levels first

Jane Morton’s career has taken her around the country—from Arizona to Illinois, Massachusetts and Denver—but wherever she found herself, she always knew what mattered most to her.

“The students have always been my first priority,” said Morton, who grew up in Boulder, Colorado.

Jane Morton

After a decade at Daniels and more than 30 years as an educator, Morton will retire June 30 as a teaching associate professor for the School of Accountancy.

Morton’s background in accounting began with hands-on experience. Early in her career, she worked as an accounts payable clerk for a construction company in Tucson, Arizona. She didn’t have a degree, but the job sparked her interest, so decided to go to school and soon earned her bachelor’s in accounting and finance from the University of Arizona.

At the time, Morton was in her late 20s and wanted to keep her professional momentum going. After conversations with her professors, she went straight from undergraduate school into a doctoral program, also at the University of Arizona. She began teaching in 1988 and completed her PhD in 1993.

Morton went on to hold academic positions at the University of Illinois, Boston’s Suffolk University and Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. After a few years back in practice as a controller for another construction company, Morton returned to teaching with a position at Regis University in Denver.

After seeing an open position at Daniels, Morton interviewed with Sharon Lassar, John J. Gilbert endowed professor and director of Daniels’ School of Accountancy, whom she had previously met while they were both at the University of Arizona.

“Everyone enjoyed working with Jane and she made the lives of all other doctoral students easier,” said Lassar.

Morton joined Daniels in 2011 and said that the rigor of Daniels’ Master of Accountancy program is what makes it stand out among the many universities she’s been a part of.

“It’s an excellent program, and I think it prepares students better than other schools I’ve been at,” she said, pointing out that while the program can certainly be challenging, its value can be seen in the high job placement rate for graduates.

Throughout her career, Morton’s area of expertise has been financial accounting, a subject she’s taught at virtually every level, from undergraduate freshmen classes all the way through executive MBA programs. With this wide range of experiences in mind, Morton said one the keys to her success as a professor has always been her ability to adapt her delivery to each unique set of students, a skill she recommends to all teachers.

“When you teach at different levels, you really have to learn how to modify your approach to the audience,” she said. “I’ve particularly prided myself on my ability to adjust my approach to maximize the learning for the particular group. If I saw looks on my students’ faces like they didn’t understand, then I would pivot and try to find a different way to explain the same thing until I saw the light come on.”

Lassar said she, students and other faculty members have always recognized Morton’s positivity and support.

“Students appreciate her ability to present complex topics in a logical and step-by-step manner,” said Lassar. “In addition to helping her students succeed, she has managed the assurance of learning process for the School of Accountancy since she joined the faculty and therefore helps faculty deliver impactful courses where students master learning objectives.”

Morton’s ability to pivot and adapt was put to the test throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when Morton, like so many others, had to quickly adjust to teaching fully online. That experience stands out to Morton among the many years she’s been working with students.

While she’s closing out her career on that somewhat unusual note, Morton will continue to make the well-being of others her priority, just as she’s done for her many students over the years. In retirement, Morton is looking forward to spending time with her mother, for whom is she is the primary caregiver.