Associate dean for academic affairs
Raymond J. Harbert College of Business
Norman H. Godwin, CPA, is a professor in the School of Accountancy. He earned his bachelor's degree from Auburn University in 1991 and his doctorate from Michigan State University in 1996. After serving eight years as director of the School of Accountancy, Godwin was named associate dean for academic affairs in 2011. Godwin's research focuses on financial reporting and accounting choices and how these affect market prices. He has investigated these issues in traditional financial markets as well as other unique settings such as betting markets.
Godwin teaches financial accounting at the principles and Executive MBA levels. His research has been published in numerous journals and he has won numerous teaching awards during his tenure at Auburn. He also has an active outreach program on financial literacy. His video series, titled Enrich Your Life, has been used by a Fortune 50 company and has been broadcast by a Southeast-region television station.
1. What brought you to Auburn?
I come from Auburn stock. My grandfather attended Auburn, and my parents met here in the '50s. My family likes to brag that my father took the field for every football game in 1957 when Auburn won its first national championship. His position? Drum major. After spending four years as an undergraduate in the '80s, I returned in 1996 to join the faculty.
2. Tell us about the Financial Education videos you do for Consumer Education Services Inc. Where did the idea of addressing common financial topics through video come from and what was it like putting the series together?
The great folks at Auburn's Media Production Group built the Enrich Your Life series with me. Our goal was to create a series of one-minute videos that would address common financial issues in a positive, memorable way. Sounds simple enough, but I was amazed at how difficult it was to distill a financial concept into roughly 160 words, which is how many I can say in 55 seconds. It was also a challenge to represent these concepts visually. We knew that the videos would be most effective if the screen action supported the concept, but it was hard to make something like a mortgage point visually interesting! I think we did ok, though.
Regarding Consumer Education Services, we partnered with them through Auburn alum and CES Chief Marketing Officer Cary Chandler. Last year, Cary was looking at an E-bill for his son and came across a couple of our videos posted within the university. He contacted us to see if his organization could use the videos in its education services, and we were more than happy to partner with him. So far, the videos have been well received.
3. Why is it important for people to educate themselves about their finances?
People make financial decisions every day. Some are relatively straightforward, "Do I go out to eat with my friends?" While others can be more complicated, "Do I invest in a 529 plan for my child's education?" But the decisions never stop coming. That's why being educated is so valuable – you can use it every day.
4. What is the biggest piece of advice you give college students?
I tell them what a friend once told me, "If it feels really good to say it to someone, you probably shouldn't say it." That piece of advice has helped me to hold my tongue over the years.
5. What other hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
I spend a lot of time with my family, so I don't have a lot of individual hobbies. What we do enjoy as a family is hosting people in our home. There is no telling how many students have eaten a meal at our house. We find great satisfaction in providing a home cooked meal and family fellowship for college students.