Associate Professor of Accounting
Larry and Lori Wright Research Fellow
Ph.D. in Management, Cornell University, 1998
M.Ac. in Accounting, Brigham Young University, 1992
B.S. in Accounting, Brigham Young University, 1990
"Professor Cristi Gleason is the kind of teacher who knows everyone's name by the end of the first week of class and makes a conscious effort to reach out to all students…she has helped me find my footing in the world of business and has instilled in me a sense of confidence."
—Patrick Teyro, finance and economics major from Naperville, Ill.
Cristi Gleason knows the kind of impact a teacher can have on a student. As an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, the Mesa, Ariz., native had visions of being an attorney. An accounting professor kindled in her an interest in research, however, and her career plans changed.
"He invited me to be his research assistant, and encouraged me to consider academia instead of law school," explains the associate professor of accounting. "We were using statistics to predict bankruptcy, and I thought it was so cool. I was hooked."
Gleason pursued a doctorate in management and joined the UI faculty in 2004. She teaches about 180 finance students each year, and makes a point of learning their names quickly, "cold-calling" on random students during class discussions.
"I have 65 students in a typical section, and if I didn't call on them, the same five students would participate," she says. "This way, they know that I know who they are. I'm not just delivering facts; I'm not just firing at them."
Although Gleason was initially lured into academia for the research, she relishes her students daily.
"In every class there are students whose personal successes really impress me—they may not be the graduation speaker, but they've made great accomplishments," she says. "My goal is to help students get what they want in their careers—whether it's a Wall Street job or admission to law school or starting their own business. I hope my class provides the tools they need to get there."
Gleason, who also is a Larry and Lori Wright Research Fellow, admits she felt a bit sheepish about the student recognition—but she also welcomed it.
"Some semesters are easier than others—personally and professionally—and the last few years have been difficult for me," says Gleason, who lost her husband to cancer in 2008. "And you’re not always sure you're doing well, so I appreciate the student feedback and knowing that taking my class was worth their time."
This story, written by Sara Epstein Moninger, first appeared in the fall 2009 issue of Spectator, a publication sent to all UI alumni.