Hello! My name is Lizhong Hao and I am an Assistant Professor of Accounting at the Pamplin School of Business. Before joining University of Portland, I worked as an Assistant Professor of Accounting at California State University in Fresno.
In college, I was an English major. I studied English Education, which is similar to Teaching English as a Second Language, at Hebei Normal University in China, where I received my bachelor’s degree. My favorite class at college was listening. My professor would use a tape recorder to play some clips of English movies or the BBC or VOA news. The English language world fascinated me. I decided after graduation to teach English at a high school for one year before going back to graduate school at Hebei Normal University to complete a master’s in English Literature.
During my graduate studies, my main interest was 19th Century American Literature. My graduate thesis was about the Henry James novel, The Portrait of a Lady. I explored his psychoanalytical characterization of the heroine, Isabel Archer, and his use of internal monologues and omniscient narration. During my spare time, I gained work experience as a tutor and part-time lecturer at the local high schools and adult colleges in the area.
Upon graduation with my master’s degree in English, I became a full-time faculty member, teaching English at Shijiazhuang Railway University in northern China. The years I spent working there were some of the most rewarding in my life. I received many awards for my teaching and community service. I also met my wife during this time. But there was one problem. During this time, all faculty taught English in Mandarin, including me. We spoke Mandarin in class to teach students to how to memorize English grammar, which I realized was not an effective way to learn a foreign language. Students would remember certain things in class and then forget the next day. In the end, the students could not speak or understand English. Hence, I made a big decision in my life when I turned 30 to study abroad, and improve my oral English and research skills so that I could be a more effective teacher.
The following year, I was very excited to be admitted to the Kent State University master’s in American Literature program. While I was studying to get my degree, I took every opportunity to improve my spoken English and learn about American culture. I volunteered my time at the local hospitals as an interpreter, taught an English Composition course, and worked as a tutor in the Writing Center at Kent State.
Upon graduation from Kent State, I was fortunate to receive an offer for a full-time job at a loan company in Cleveland. I wanted to gain some real work experience before I went back to China so I accepted the job. Everything about the position was new to me since it was about business and accounting not English or teaching. It was a very tough and painful experience in the beginning and my boss was very ill tempered and impatient. The unseen benefit that I discovered was my passion for accounting. I found out I love accounting because it is structured, debits always equal credits, and the balance sheet is always balanced!
I wanted to bring together my love of teaching with my passion for accounting so I made another life changing decision. Since I would need a Ph.D. in accounting to teach, I went back to Kent State and finished another master’s degree, this time in accounting. I went directly to Florida Atlantic University after that to pursue my Ph.D. in accounting.
My life has taken me on a long journey with plenty of turns along the way before I found my real passion for teaching and accounting. Some of the turns were dramatic and painful, others were life changing and delightful. Having spent so much time on my education completing a bachelor, three masters, and a Ph.D., and changing majors from English to accounting, there is one big lesson that I have learned. You should never be shy about trying something new as it may open doors to things you have not thought of yet. Be open to learning and follow your passion.
I am very happy and proud to be a teacher here at the University of Portland. I mainly teach Intermediate Accounting I and II, Cost Accounting, Managerial Accounting Applications, and Principles of Financial and Managerial Accounting. My primary research focuses on financial accounting, capital market, and the impact of new accounting information technology, using archival research methodology.
If you have questions about accounting or anything else, my door is always open. My best advice to you is to stay true to yourself and try everything at least once. You never know where your passion is hiding until you go out and explore.