The Path to a PhD

PROVO, Utah – Sep 08, 2021 – When Ron Worsham was a MAcc student at the School of Accountancy (SOA) at the BYU Marriott School of Business, his professor noticed his passion and knack for accounting and suggested that Worsham pursue a PhD. Although Worsham was initially uninterested, his professor planted a seed, and the idea of receiving a PhD stayed with him. Now, as an accounting professor at BYU Marriott, Worsham hopes to instill the same passion he feels for accounting within his own students.

Worsham’s professors sparked his interest in tax specifically, which is his current area of focus. He remembers taking classes from former SOA professors Fred Streuling, Dave Stewart, Bob Gardner, and Boyd Randall, who all made the subject of tax seem intriguing. “I carried my professors’ passion and teachings into my professional life. As I pursued my PhD, I naturally continued into that same vein of interest,” says Worsham. “I found tax to be both an interesting subject and a challenging one.”

Eventually, Worsham decided that a PhD was the right career move, and he completed his PhD at the University of Florida in 1994. As he was completing his degree at the University of Florida, Worsham applied to work at BYU Marriott’s SOA as a professor. “I loved my time at BYU Marriott as a student, so of course I wanted to return to the SOA,” he says. “When I had the opportunity to come back here as a professor, I seized the job offer immediately and have enjoyed my time here ever since.”

Throughout the 27 years of Worsham’s time as a professor, he has witnessed many changes in the program. “The SOA has always been a highly respected school, but we have definitely improved in terms of our research stature,” he says. “We are better known for the quality of our research today than when I first started.”

In addition to improved research, Worsham has also noticed a change in the dynamic of the students. “The school is at the highest level we've ever been in terms of the percentage of women enrolled in the SOA. Also, each year the new batch of students seems to be even brighter and more dedicated than the last, with an increased desire to learn, which is exciting as a professor,” he says.

Worsham hopes to increase his students’ enthusiasm for accounting by helping them see the real-world applications of their learning. In the classroom, Worsham focuses on connecting theory to practice and helping students understand how what they learn in the classroom applies in real-world settings and contexts.

“For example, I teach the theory about how partners are taxed on partnership interests they receive for services they provide,” Worsham explains. “A real-world aspect of that theory is to carried interests, which are widely used to compensate partners in private equity, hedge fund, and venture capital partnerships. My students and I discuss these examples and tie them back to what the students read in the textbook, which helps shed light on the value of the concepts being discussed in our class.”

Outside of teaching, Worsham loves outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and fly-fishing. He also feels immensely grateful for the support of his wife, Anne, and four children and enjoys spending time with them. “My family always cheers me on,” he says. “Becoming a faculty member of the SOA was a dream come true. I feel incredibly fortunate to be here and to have the opportunity to positively impact the accounting program.”

Ron Worsham
Ron Worsham. Photo courtesy of BYU Photo.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert