Assistant Professor of Accounting Dave Henderson ’95 wants his students to learn about accounting practices and information systems. But the Shirley Van Epps Waple Professor seeks to impart a more profound lesson, one that will see the undergraduates through every facet of their lives.
He helps them learn to keep learning. That’s a skill Henderson believes UMW is uniquely poised to impart. He’s his own case study.
As a Mary Washington undergraduate, Henderson envisioned using his economics and business double major to ascend the ranks of the corporate world.
But his liberal arts classes challenged him to learn in unexpected ways – to figure out how to identify a location by one photograph, for example, or to recognize a composer by just a few bars of music.
That ability to learn from seemingly unconnected sources helped Henderson shape a career in financial analysis, accounting, and information systems. Ultimately, it gave him the flexibility to trade corporate-world success for a career as a college professor.
While working full time, Henderson earned a master’s degree in information systems technology from George Washington University, and soon became an adjunct instructor.
“They need to be able to write and communicate, and they need to see broader connections across many different disciplines in order to succeed in their chosen careers.” – Dave Henderson
“I started thinking I really liked teaching, and I enjoy it better than my day job,” Henderson recalled. He earned a Ph.D. in accounting and information systems at Virginia Tech in 2007 and taught at the College of Charleston. He joined the UMW faculty in January 2012, returning with wife Jennifer Rice Henderson ’94 to the campus where they met. As a Waple professor, Henderson is deepening his interest in relating his subject matter to the liberal arts – encouraging students to connect business-world situations to literature, history, and other fields.
“They need to be able to write and communicate,” he said of his students. “And they need to see broader connections across many different disciplines in order to succeed in their chosen careers.”