September 16th, 2013

The American Taxation Association (ATA) honored Anne Christensen, professor of accounting at Montana State University (MSU)’s Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship (JJCBE), by awarding her the prestigious Ray M. Sommerfeld Outstanding Tax Educator Award on August 5 in Anaheim, Calif. Only one tax educator is honored each year by the ATA, a subgroup of the American Accounting Association (AAA), the premier organization of accounting academics in the world.

Christensen was stunned and incredibly honored to receive the award. “I care deeply about tax education and the success of students in their professional lives. The ATA is dedicated to furthering tax education and research and the organization has played an important role in my professional life. Through my association with ATA members from so many different universities, I have learned and grown as a tax educator and researcher over the years,” she said.

During her time at MSU, Christensen has positively impacted many students. She is the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) program director, and she also leads a well-respected Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program each spring, including a specialty VITA program which sends a number of students to remote villages in Alaska over spring break. Although conditions are rustic, students return to campus raving about the experience. While many faculty aspire to give students transformative learning experiences, Christensen is actually able to do just that.

ATA is honoring Christensen with this award for the depth and breadth of service she has given to tax education. She has served as the ATA’s president, vice president, trustee (two terms), JATA editorial board member, chair of six committees and a member of more than a dozen others. She also currently serves as the AAA board of directors as its Vice President of Segments. Her wisdom and guidance have shaped many important ATA initiatives, enhancing the quality of tax education over the past decade.

According to the ATA website, the purpose of the Outstanding Tax Educator Award is to recognize, honor, and reward outstanding contributions by a faculty member teaching taxation at a recognized academic institution. The award is named in honor of Professor Ray M. Sommerfeld, the first recipient of the award, who earned a reputation as a pioneer of tax education and provided a lifetime of service to students, colleagues and the taxation profession.
In recognition of this award, Ernst & Young provides a $5,000 scholarship to a student at the university of the award recipient’s choice. Christensen has asked that an MSU accounting student receive the scholarship.

Christensen received her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in counseling and guidance and her Ph.D. in accounting and taxation from the University of Utah. Prior to joining the faculty at MSU, she was a faculty member at Portland State University. Her research interests focus on the behavioral implication of tax as well as accounting education. Christensen has published articles in journals such as the Journal of the American Taxation Association, Advances in Taxation, Tax Notes, ATA Journal of Legal Tax Research, Issues in Accounting Education, The Tax Adviser and Taxation for Accountants.