2022 Best Undergraduate Professors: Dawn M Kink, University of Illinois Gies College of Business

Dawn M Kink
University of Illinois Gies College of Business

“Professor Kink is a kind and warm hearted instructor who genuinely has an interest in her students. Each semester she will schedule a brief interview with each student to know them on a personal level. When it was my turn for this interview, we ran over our allotted time without noticing because we were having such a great conversation about housing markets. I believe that her many years of experience in the professional audit field (rising all the way to level of partner) has given her unique insight into industry standards and practices. Her greatest strength is her ability to delicately and effectively transform her experience into communicable wisdom.” – Jack Jiang

Dawn M Kink, 57, is Clinical Assistant Professor of Accountancy at Gies College of Business, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Prior to joining Gies in fall 2019, Kink was an audit partner at PwC where she had worked for 30 years. She has been named to the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students in Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022


At current institution since what year? 2019
Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
List of Undergraduate courses you teach: Assurance and Attestation, Accounting Control Systems


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I have always wanted to teach and so I regularly sought out opportunities to train others during my career at PwC. Once I retired from PwC, I was able to begin exploring the possibility of doing so at the university level and it became a reality in Fall of 2019.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? As a clinical professor, I do not conduct research, but I do contribute when and where I can to other’s research, drawing on my 30 years as an auditor in a public accounting firm and working with the insurance industry throughout most of that time.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… retired… for a second time.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? The care, empathy, and interest I have in my students’ success now and in their future careers. I think this is because coaching my staff is one of the things I miss most from my time at PwC. I thoroughly enjoy helping my students think through the decisions they face in moving from academic life to their first full time job in their chosen career.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Daunting

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: That my students’ parents could have been and sometimes actually were, colleagues of mine.

Professor I most admire and why: Susan Curtis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Susan’s zest for life and enthusiasm for making learning fun are contagious.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? The broad range of career interests they have and how I am, in a small part, helping them make the transition to those interests a reality.

What is most challenging? Trying to consider and address, where possible, each student’s unique learning needs.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Task-oriented

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Slow but fair.


What are your hobbies? Wheel-throwing pottery, Live music concerts, Travel
How will you spend your summer? Traveling to the Galapagos and some other destinations.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Anywhere in France as well as Switzerland, which we consider our second home.

Favorite book(s): Stephen King’s “The Stand” and Richard Adams’ “Watership Down”

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? My current favorite show is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It is beautifully filmed, her wardrobe is stunning, and the time period and its themes are fascinating to me.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Anything by a singer-songwriter/Americana (e.g., Jason Isbell), because of the personal experiences and messages that the artist communicates through song.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… be more diversified in its population by drawing in students from a wider range of backgrounds, experiences, and demographics.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… similarly looking for and hiring a more diversified workforce.

Organizations need to have more varied voices throughout to help address the needs and demands of current and future generations.

I’m grateful for… the career and life opportunities my accounting degree from the University of Illinois provided me and my family.


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