Meet our faculty and staff

Sara Ackerson

Sara Ackerson, advisor and student mentor, is a whirlwind of ideas and commitment designed to engage each student on a path toward success in the Carson College of Business at WSU Vancouver. She listens, guides, encourages, and enjoys seeing each student achieve success that might have been beyond their imagination prior to enrolling in a Business degree program. Sara also envisions ways that social media can be utilized to expand the boundaries of learning among citizens of wider communities. She also serves as a team consultant for the Capstone projects and sits on various committees across campus.

Joe Cote

Why?” is Cote’s favorite question!

Joseph Cote, professor of Marketing in the Carson College of Business since 1982, leads efforts to engage students and local companies in improving marketing plans, evaluation of existing businesses, and creating business models for startups in the Vancouver area. Cote’s statistical expertise explores patterns and insights, guiding his perspective of defining complex marketing situations within a larger context, scope, and outcomes by engaging the broader community.

Courses Taught: Small Business, Policy, & Strategy

Rick Howell

Students enrolling in Rick Howell’s courses learn business theories with the promise that the learning can be used immediately. Rick designs learning activities that business managers confront daily.  These practical exercises prepare students for work situations they will encounter and illustrate how the book material translates from class to the work environment.  He highlights the implementation of an idea; a task that text books have difficulty describing, yet students practice in Rick’s classes. Students rate Howell as one of the best teachers at WSU Vancouver receiving consistently high student reviews.

Courses Taught: Management & Organization; Managing Human Resources; Recruiting & Hiring Human Capital; Evaluating & Rewarding Employees; Operations Management.

Claire Latham

Claire Kamm Latham admires great teaching, mentoring, and student achievements.  She combines professional experience as an auditor with a passion for ‘giving voice to values’ for ethical decision-making and a teaching style similar to a personal trainer in sports. She co-advises Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society and Institute of Management Accountants Club to internalize trust, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. 

Courses Taught: Intermediate Accounting I/II; Auditing; Accounting Systems and Auditing

Debra Sanders

Debra Sanders teaches students the basics of taxes because the details constantly change. She is professor of accounting in the Carson College of Business and teaches the only cultural accounting class in the program. She collaborates with colleagues on research involving how people make tax and ethical decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Outside of academics, Sanders’ passion is gardening, and she is thankful of the great growing season in Vancouver.

Courses taught: Introduction to Taxation, Individual Income Tax, and Accounting & Culture.

Doug Steck

Douglas Steck brings 25 years of corporate executive experience to the classroom, encouraging students to focus on things that make managers and businesses successful. He sees himself as a utility player in the WSU Carson College of Business, a metaphor derived from having coached football and basketball in high school for eight years. Doug describes the thrill of teaching as watching student’s faces light up at the moment they understand how to apply a concept in everyday business activities.

Complementing his teaching at WSU Vancouver, Doug is exploring ways to improve learning by involving students in critical thinking, resolving issues, developing scenarios, and synthesizing business practices. He also coaches executives and advises start-up companies as a consultant.

Courses Taught: Marketing; Negotiations; Small Business, Policy, & Strategy; Strategy Formation

Tom Tripp

Students and Dr. Tripp focus entirely on leadership, negotiation, and smart decision-making skills upon entering the classroom; no cell phones or distractions; everyone is known by name. He sees his role as an actor engaging each person individually, expecting their very best performance each time they enter the classroom and, therefore, career in business.  Horror stories in business become topics for discussion and practice authenticated by Tripp’s research on workplace conflict. Dr. Tripp reports that his teaching provides a foundation for his research while the research enhances case studies and provides the content of the horror stories. Dr. Tripp has been the recipient of the Student Award for Excellence of Teaching and has received the Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence.         

Courses Taught: Leading People & Organizations; Negotiations; Managerial Leadership