Accounting professor goes ‘above and beyond’

Dennis Marshall


Craig Ehlen has received many awards and accolades.

The accounting professor took home the Faculty Recognition Award from the USI Alumni Association on Founder’s Day.

Ehlen was presented the award by his former student and Alumni Association President Kyle Wininger.

“He was very deserving of the award and I was honored to be able to be a part of it and present him with it,” Wininger said.

Wininger said the auditing class he took with Ehlen was one of the most beneficial classes he took at USI because Ehlen tied his real life experiences into what they learned in the classroom.

“When you get an accounting degree, it really opens a lot of doors for the students,” Wininger said. “Dr. Ehlen was good at showing us what some of those opportunities could lead to and which path his students might be the best fit in. He mentors all of his students to be successful in the industry. “

Wininger said Ehlen also deserved of the award because of the impact he’s had on the local and regional business community and the impact his students have made throughout the region.

Ehlen has had over 35 articles published in academic and professional journals.
He is an active member of multiple professional organizations and he previously served as President of the Indiana CPA Educational Foundation. The Indiana CPA Society named Ehlen Outstanding Accounting Educator in 2001, but the latest award comes from his fellow faculty members and former students.

Request for nominations were sent to everyone in the USI community, including over 33,000 alumni. The Alumni Association Board’s Executive Committee reviews the nominations and selects a recipient.

The recipient of the award gets to give out a $1,500 scholarship to a student of their choice.

Students like that Ehlen make even the most uninteresting topics stimulating with his real life experiences.

“He has had a lot of experience in auditing for big and small firms,” said Aaron McCullough, accounting and finance major. “I like hearing those real stories because a lot of times we just get the textbook and with him it’s a lot of what I am going to see out in the real world.”

McCullough said Ehlen is always very loud and commanding of the class, so you’re always alert and paying attention.

“He keeps the class fun. He keeps you engaged and he keeps it honest with you,” McCullough said. “He tells you straight if we need to start doing better.”

Accounting major Brande Springer said Ehlen’s real life perspective on the subject matter is what makes the difference between a dull and an alluring class.

“When I first came in I thought this guy was going to make us do all this crazy work,” Springer said. “But all of it has been beneficial.”

Like many others, Springer said her favorite part of the class was Ehlen’s stories. She said his stories flush out the dry arguments of auditing.

Associate Dean of the College of Business Brian McGuire said Ehlen takes pride in being a CPA and a certified fraud examiner.

He said since he arrived at USI in 1989 as a visiting professor, he has always been student-centered.

“He is a big follower of USI athletics,” McGuire said. “He spends a lot of time at USI and he is engaged with the students.”

Wininger added that Ehlen was a great asset to the university.

“The students that have the opportunity to have him as a professor are extremely blessed. He goes above and beyond what many people would think of as a normal professor,” he said. “He really cares about students. He really cares about that accounting profession. He makes sure his students are prepared to go into the industry.”