Professor Shapland changes students’ lives through accounting


Photo Courtesy of GIES College of Business

ulia Shapland is a Senior Lecturer of Accountancy at the University of Illinois. Pictured above is her professional headshot for the GIES college of Business.

By Nandika Chatterjee , Staff Writer

Julie Shapland’s approach to teaching differs from that of the traditional professor. In the Gies College of Business, Shapland teaches a core accounting class required by all incoming students pursuing Business majors. Additionally, she oversees certain operations in residential life as the academic director of the Business Engagement Living Learning Community. 

Shapland talked about the importance of accounting in the business world, the impact deep learning can have in a student’s life, the transition students now have toward being more busy and her work experience. 

Much of Shapland’s energy is spent instilling the values required to become a disciplined learner to her students. She said she is extremely committed to convincing students they must make the most of her course. According to Shapland, more than just memorization goes into understanding topics, as deep learning is the truly valuable part of her class.

“You can’t become a successful professional and just skim the surface,” Shapland said.

Shapland highlighted accounting as a doorway to understanding the business world better. According to her, working in this field encourages critical thinking such that a deep understanding of everything can only aid in making independent decisions. 

“You can’t direct the business without knowing how the business is doing,” Shapland said. 

She is dedicated to ensuring her students can become the best learners possible.

Her close friend of eight years and colleague, Danielle Ambrose, director of Women in Finance, said, “Julie Shapland is motivated by a genuine concern for the well-being and success of her students. She has an innate ability to push students to achieve their highest potential.” 

According to Ambrose, Shapland has a similar effect on her colleagues and students. She challenges, energizes and inspires all those who meet her. 

On her way to becoming a professor of accounting, Shapland spent a brief amount of time working at McDonalds. Shapland talked about the variety of opportunities available to her while working there. 

Throughout her career, she sought out opportunities and worked to make the most of them. This is a skill she inspires in her students. She also acknowledged that over the years of teaching, she did notice a trend in her students; they focused too much on only their life. 

She talked about how important it is to slow down and look at the world around us.

“It is easy to get consumed with all things concerning us,” Shapland said. “But sometimes, taking a step back can be just as important.”

She confesses she is guilty of being extremely busy herself and perhaps a hypocrite in saying students need to slow down. 

Her previous student and TA, Maseeh Moradi, now Harvard Law graduate, acknowledged how busy she can be. 

She is such a kind, thoughtful person. Even when I know she’s extremely busy, she always responds to my emails quickly and finds time to meet with me for coffee,” Moradi said. Her work is excellent. As her TA, I got a firsthand look at how meticulously she crafts each of her lesson plans, projects, practice problems and exams.” 

“She strives for, and regularly attains, excellence, and it becomes clear to her students that their professor is willing to invest the time and energy to give them a supreme educational experience. This, in turn, inspires the students to truly commit to the course.”

Moradai also said he has had over 20 years of schooling, and Professor Shapland was one of only a handful of teachers he will always reflect on and be inspired by.

Jesse Wilson, graduate in Business, used to take her ACCY 202 class.  

“From my interactions with Professor Shapland, I can tell that her motivations are to teach students skills that will be valuable regardless of their career path.” 

“One way she achieves this is through the nature of the course; it requires you to completely change your study habits and puts an emphasis on critical thinking.” 

In addition to being an engaged and committed teacher, Ambrose also attests to her fun personality. 

“Julie has a great sense of humor. I know I am guaranteed to have a laughter-filled evening whenever she is present. She is an extremely loyal friend. I wish everyone had the privilege of receiving her friendship and guidance. She is truly one of a kind.” 

[email protected]