After a successful business career in Southern California, Norm Nemrow decided to “retire” to a career as a volunteer teacher at Brigham Young University (BYU). Since 1992, Norm has been energizing thousands of introductory accounting students in the university’s School of Accountancy and Information Systems. His volunteer service allows the salary allocated to his position at BYU to be reinvested into the school’s endowment fund and a variety of curriculum development projects.
Across the BYU campus, Nemrow has become the ambassador for accounting. For years he has taught the large class sections of introductory accounting, which sometimes number in excess of 800 students. In spite of these large masses of students, Nemrow still somehow makes each student feel like a personal friend. It’s amazing that, as an accounting professor, Nemrow is one of the most popular professors on campus; both in 1997 and 1998, he received the BYU Alumni Award as The Best Overall Teacher on campus. Enrollments in accounting programs are slumping at universities across the country. A big reason that interest in BYU’s accounting program has bucked the national trend is that Nemrow inspires introductory students with his enthusiasm for accounting as the foundation for a variety of business careers.
In 1998, Nemrow embarked on an immense project to transform the delivery of introductory accounting at BYU. After two years of development, Nemrow introduced the “Introduction to Accounting” CDs, which present over 50 hours of learning materials, via computer, in a video-lecture format with synchronized graphics. Student reaction to the CDs has been overwhelmingly positive with over 93% indicating that they learn more efficiently and effectively through the CDs than through a traditional textbook/lecture approach. With the learning efficiencies created through Nemrow’s CDs, he now has time to introduce his students to real world topics that can really make a difference. Presentations on career choices, personal financial planning, investing, taxes and other areas of application and interest greatly enhance the student’s educational experience. In fact, Norm’s current course receives some of the highest student ratings ever achieved at the university.
In addition to improved educational tools for the students, this new approach also allows for more efficient use of valuable university resources. Nemrow currently services all 3,000 students taking the introductory course at BYU each year. At other schools up to a dozen full-time faculty members might be required to handle such numbers. No wonder many universities across the country are in the process of implementing Nemrow’s effective new teaching approach.
In addition to his contribution to the School of Accountancy and Information Systems, Nemrow has also been active in a number of BYU alumni and advisement boards as well as the founding board of Habitat for Humanity of Utah County.