News & Features
The Saturday morning professor
According to Alireza Dorestani, associate professor of accounting at Northeastern Illinois University, his greatest scholarly accomplishment isn’t his three master’s degrees or his two Ph.D.s—one in economics and one in accounting. It’s not his 10 publications in refereed journals or the 12 presentations he’s given in the last four-and-a-half years alone. It’s not even the teaching awards he’s earned—the College of Business and Management Excellence in Teaching Award or the Northeastern Illinois University Student Choice Award.
Dorestani derives the greatest sense of accomplishment when he hears from former students. “Many of my students who pass their CPA exams or succeed in their professional career send me emails and tell me what impact I have had on them. Nothing is more important for me than to hear good news from my former students.”
It comes as no surprise that Dorestani’s students are succeeding; he makes himself available whenever he possibly can. “I allot extensive office hours to help my students outside of the classroom,” Dorestani said. “Before each exam and also whenever my students cannot make it to my office during weekdays, I come in on Saturdays to give review sessions or answer questions. Students know that I care about their success, so they come to me when they have questions.”
In addition to spending one-on-one time with his students, Dorestani attempts to model—through his research and continued education—that learning is a lifelong process. “I try to reinforce the fact that education will never end and that we should all continuously enhance our knowledge and learning,” Dorestani said. “For example, I became a Certified Public Accountant in 2012 and a Certified Fraud Examiner in 2013. When students see that what I say is consistent with what I do, they take my advice and guidance more seriously.”
And when Dorestani’s students take his advice and guidance seriously, they tend to succeed—and then email him expressing their gratitude. It is a beautiful cycle.