Lakeland University Blog

Brett Killion named top LU teacher for 2023


Brett Killion named top LU teacher for 2023

Lakeland University Associate Professor of Accounting Brett Killion is the 2023 winner of the annual Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Killion is Lakeland’s 32nd winner of the Underkofler, which recognizes outstanding performance in undergraduate teaching.

A member of Lakeland’s faculty since 2012, Killion is known for creating classroom lessons that reach all students regardless of their level and constantly building relationships with employers to create internships and post-graduation employment opportunities for students.

Winner of Economics Wisconsin's Excellence in Teaching Economics and Financial Literacy Award in 2009, Killion oversees the accounting curriculum at Lakeland and serves as the site coordinator for Lakeland's Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). He builds relationships with area employers and establishes internship opportunities for Lakeland students at many of the area's world-class companies.

Killion developed all the lecture-replacement videos for Pearson Higher Education's two introductory accounting textbooks – two of the leading college-level accounting textbooks in the nation. His videos are seen by accounting students across the nation.

In nominating Killion for the Underkofler Award, students offered these thoughts:

  • “Knowing that I have someone on my side like Brett makes me feel comfortable and confident here. He believes in me, and supports me, as well as all his other students. He is a fantastic teacher, but also a great mentor and friend.”
  • “Brett has always taught with the purpose of preparing students for the real-world. Brett has given me new perspectives on many topics in the business sector that I would not have had without his classes. In addition, Brett cares about his students as people.”
  • “He always pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and tells us when opportunities strike, that we should at least try for them. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t know what I would want to do after I graduate and I would not have a great internship this semester.”
  • “Every class period for him is memorable. He plans out his days and class periods structured around his students. He creates a checklist of all the important announcements he wants to talk about that could be helpful for students like internships or scholarships.”
  • “He has impacted my life outside of the classroom because he is constantly looking for future job opportunities for me and will share them with me when he finds them. As a result, I have gotten two internships in the last year from it and will most likely have a full-time job after this semester.”

Karin Miofsky, Lakeland associate professor of criminal justice and 2018 Underkofler winner, said when she initially arrived at Lakeland she often heard from students about Brett Killion.

“Students told me stories about how Brett inspired them, taught them and cared for them,” Miofsky said. “They shared with me how much they admired and adored Brett and advised me that if I ever had the opportunity to watch him in the classroom, I should take advantage. Lakeland University is blessed with many excellent teachers and amongst them, Brett Killion, rises to the top. He is, in fact, extraordinary.”

Miofsky said Killion sincerely listens to his students to understand their perspectives. He also inspires them to stretch further than they imagined possible, both academically and personally.

“He continually finds unique ways to encourage all students to strive for success and become persons for others,” she said.

Killion also is a student of his craft who is always educating himself about what are considered best practices for the college classroom.

“He provides structure, clear instructions and expectations, and considered and appropriate examples to give concepts greater clarity,” Miofsky said. “He is committed to creating an inclusive classroom that acknowledges and welcomes different backgrounds, perspectives and ways of learning.”

In addition to his work in the classroom, Killion has chaired the Program and Development Committee and the Teaching and Professional Development Committee. He organizes the annual high school forensic accounting competition.

Before coming to Lakeland, Killion was a business education instructor at Luxemburg-Casco High School (Luxemburg, Wis.) and an adult education accounting instructor at Concordia University. Killion's professional work experience includes one year as an auditing associate at Grant Thornton, LLP.

He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned both his bachelor's degree in accounting and Master of Accountancy degree.

The Underkofler Award is presented through the Alliant Energy Foundation and the Wisconsin Foundation for Independent Colleges, Inc. The Underkofler Endowment Fund was created in honor of past Wisconsin Power & Light president and chairman James R. Underkofler to recognize his 48 years of service to the utility industry.

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