In the 40 years of the College of Business, there has not been a female department chair. However, history is being made as the newest chair for the Accounting and Finance department is a woman. Dr. D’Arcy Becker, Professor of Accounting, took over as chair of the department from Dr. Mike Wilson who retired in June.
Becker has been teaching for 18 years; 12 at UW-Eau Claire. Prior to teaching, she was an auditor Ernst and Young before pursuing her PhD at UW-Madison. It was after taking a teaching assistantship at UW-Madison as a MBA student, that she became interested in teaching.
Now after 12 years at UW-Eau Claire, Becker decided to take the position as department chair in accounting and finance because it was an “interesting time” in the department. “The chairmanship was vacated at a time when there was a high turnover rate of professors,” she said. “I am lucky -- these positions don’t become open all the time, and I felt I was further enough in my career that I could take it."
With the retirement of many accounting and finance faculty, Becker has made hiring new faculty a top priority.Becker down plays the fact she is the first female chair of her department; however, she acknowledges that women in her field haven’t overcome all advancement barriers. While men and women enter the accounting profession at the same rate, fewer women can be found in upper management, according to Becker.
“Women haven’t overcome all their challenges. There still aren’t enough of them in managerial positions or who have made partnership,” she said. “It really comes down to whom companies or firms are more comfortable with, and it’s tends to still be men.”
This she said is also true for many leadership positions at universities. Becker said that the way to change is to see the broad spectrum of people whether they are men, women or even minorities and consider different points of view. That she hopes to bring to the table as department chair.