Faculty Focus: Jim Stekelberg
Jim Stekelberg joined the Department of Accounting in January 2017. Prior to making his move to Colorado, he completed his Ph.D. in accounting at the University of Southern California and taught at the University of Arizona for four years.
Stekelberg says he stumbled into teaching tax “completely by accident.” He first majored in history and music as an undergrad. “Then I realized jobs were tough to come by,” he says. “But I lived near USC, and when I discovered they offered a one-year Master’s program in tax, I thought I’d give it a try.” He had previously considered going to law school, but found the shorter, intensive focus on one area of the law appealing.
“It wasn’t the most well thought-out decision,” he laughs. But now, he says he’s glad he made the switch. In addition to teaching, Stekelberg conducts research into topics that affect tax policy – and finds himself drawn to issues that go beyond purely academic concepts. His most recent paper relates to the ramifications of state tax haven legislation, and can be read here.
Moving to CSU
While Stekelberg was teaching in Arizona, a doctoral student there, James Brushwood, graduated and took a position at Colorado State University. Professor Brushwood spoke very highly of CSU and life in Fort Collins, and when a position for a tax professor opened at the University, Stekelberg says he was immediately interested.
He was drawn to Colorado, in part because it’s an unexplored area for him. Having visited the state only briefly before, he had never had the chance to spend time in Fort Collins. Now that he’s here, he’s looking forward to enjoying the outdoors. He loves hiking, backpacking, and rafting – and is also starting to take up snowshoeing.
As for his time on campus, Stekelberg is enjoying the CSU community. “The students here are excellent,” he says, adding, “We’ve got an excellent department of brilliant yet down-to-earth faculty, and students that are engaged and highly motivated.”