For new BYU Marriott School of Business assistant accounting professor Travis Dyer, teaching is more than a job; it’s a passion.
As he educates students on the intricacies of financial statements and disclosures, Dyer also hopes to teach students about the complexities of life and the importance of learning from difficulties.
Dyer grew up in Vancouver, Washington, and his first job in high school was in a bank as a teller. The son of a CFO, Dyer had been intrigued by numbers and accounting since he was young. As a result, Dyer entered BYU as an undergrad in 2006 thinking he knew exactly what he wanted to do. After being accepted into the School of Accountancy (SOA), he planned on pursuing a career as an auditor. However, after Dyer completed an internship in that area, he realized that auditing wasn’t for him.
During this time, a professor approached Dyer and asked if he had ever considered teaching. Dyer’s initial response was, “Teaching is for nerds, and I’m not a nerd.” His professor’s response—” Oh, yes, you are”— inspired him to seriously consider teaching and research. As he looked further into academic life, Dyer realized this was the route for him.
“My brain is naturally curious. Research is interesting because I feel like I'm asking questions that other people either haven't asked or haven't answered,” says Dyer.
This self-discovery set Dyer on an academic trajectory toward professorship. He graduated from BYU Marriott with his BS and MAcc in 2013 and went on to receive his PhD of accounting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018. After receiving his doctorate, Dyer accepted an assistant teaching position at Cornell University where he taught for three years.
While Dyer was teaching at Cornell, an assistant professor position opened up in the SOA at BYU Marriott. Dyer and his wife, Jessica, decided to take the chance and he applied. Dyer was offered the job, and he and his then family of six made the trip back to Provo.
A professor of upper-level accounting and MBA courses, Dyer acknowledges that his classes are far from easy. But he hopes that when his students are challenged academically, they learn that they are capable of doing hard things. “Life isn’t always easy, but you pick yourself back up and face your challenges,” says Dyer. “And when you reach the other side of your challenge, take a look around. Life is actually quite beautiful,”
Dyer doesn’t preach anything that he hasn’t learned himself, and he uses his personal life experience to better relate to and empathize with his students.
“When my wife and I were undergraduate students at BYU, we lost our first child, which was the most awful experience. We were left wondering, ‘Why is this happening? Where is God in this?’ But during difficult experiences, you can either lean away from God or lean toward God, and my wife and I chose to lean toward Him,” says Dyer. “Everyone has tough times, but God is always there for you.”
With one semester of classes as a professor under his belt, Dyer is excited for many more to come. Not only is he ecstatic to have the opportunity to pursue his passion of research but also is thrilled to continue working with students.
“I love working with young people because they're at a crucial point in their lives. The small decisions they make now will have a major impact on their lives down the road. I am grateful for the opportunity to give minor course corrections and encouragement while they are on their way,” says Dyer.
Writer: Marissa Lundeen