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Deans and administrators from each college suggested one of their faculty members who deserves special “kudos” during Faculty Appreciation Week.

Richard TownsendAs associate professor of accounting and information management, Dick Townsend has seen the University of Tennessee campus and students change over the past 40 years, since he started working at UT in 1969.

From teaching a course on a closed circuit television from 1975 to 1984 to teaching courses in the new, technology-rich James A. Haslam II Business Building, Townsend is still in awe of how he has seen the campus grow.

“I’ve really enjoyed teaching at UT. I have a great group of colleagues,” Townsend said. “My colleagues and students are fantastic. The colleagues are very supportive because they are so good at what they do. That’s who I’m going to miss the most when I retire. I’ll also miss the interaction with the students. It’s a fresh group of students each year, and the students are generally fun to be with.”

Townsend plans on retiring in June.

Townsend received his doctorate in 1966 from the University of Texas at Austin. Here, he teaches undergraduate financial accounting courses. He also was the director of the master of accountancy program for 20 years.

Outside of UT, Townsend also has taught continuing education for CPAs for more than 30 years. Through these efforts, Townsend said he’s made many friends and reconnected with former students.

Although he has received many awards, the awards Townsend is most appreciative are the UT Alumni Outstanding Teaching Awards in 1982 and 2003 and the UT Hesler Award for teaching and service in 2001.

His colleague, Department Head and Professor of Accounting and Information Management Dan Murphy, holds Townsend in the highest regard.

“He is a beloved faculty member who consistently displays incredible teaching ability, a positive attitude and great collegiality,” Murphy said. “In addition to being one of the most well-respected and liked professors in our department’s history, Dick is one of the finest gentlemen we have known. His legacy is the profound influence he has had on the lives of students, professionals and colleagues.”

Former student Matt White took a class with Townsend for only one semester, but that semester made a lasting impression.

“He did a great job explaining advanced financial reporting, but he has made an impact on me that has gone far beyond the classroom,” White said. “I really admire the way Dr. Townsend authentically cares about his students. I also really appreciate the way he’s been very quick to help me out with things I’ve needed, such as career advice or providing a reference. Dr. Townsend is definitely irreplaceable!”


In honor of Faculty Appreciation Week, Tennessee Today will feature stories and videos based on comments about great faculty members submitted by students, alumni and others.

You can send a shout out to your favorite faculty member or read what others have written.

Also this week, area merchants will offer a variety of discounts for UT faculty.