Mark Slavovsky: Student to Professor in Seventeen Years

Professor Slavovsky is second from the right pictured with     other new faculty     for the 2017 academic school year.     (Photo by Reed Schick.)

Professor Slavovsky is second from the right pictured with other new faculty for the 2017 academic school year. (Photo by Reed Schick.)

Professor Mark Slavovsky, stood in front of a class full of students, every face focused on him. He cleared his throat and started his lecture, relating information he had begun studying in this very classroom precisely seventeen years ago.

The professor began walking to Covenant College’s overlook after his class had dispersed. The faces passing by had, of course, changed; the student’s style had altered  considerably, and even the buildings had been modified. However, Covenant College was still the community he had discovered all those years ago as the wide-eyed, eighteen-year-old freshmen.

The nerves caused by the prospect of teaching a classroom full of college kids for the first time had vanished as he had introduced the topic of accounting to the students’ ready minds. He strayed from the textbook, choosing instead to communicate why accounting was a subject worth devoting effort to.

Professor Slavovsky related a bit of his story to his first pupils. He told them about his work toward becoming a C.P.A. (certified public accountant) and his twelve years in accounting firms, but also conveyed every individual should study accounting whether they wanted to work in that particular field or not. He told them accounting is the language of business. It is therefore useful for investors, entrepreneurs, nonprofit work, and innumerable other areas of life.

As Professor Slavovsky crossed the chapel lawn in front of Mills, he noticed the landscape of his familiar environment. Because he had worked for the grounds department for work-study during his four years at Covenant, he felt the instinct to pull out a pair of clippers and manicure the nearby bushes for a bit.

   As he walked across the graduation stage in 2004, he would never have guessed he would be returning to teach. However, as the years progressed, he took on the role of treasurer at St. Elmo Presbyterian Church and rose through the ranks of different accounting firms while simultaneously increasing his interest in the possibility of someday taking on the position of instructor. That possibility took root when, as a C.P.A., he had the opportunity to aid his coworkers in their required furthering education courses. He was also heavily involved in training new staff accountants in his firm.

   Professor Slavovsky checked his watch; he needed to meet his wife after her classes were done in thirty minutes. Claire Slavovsky has been a professor at Covenant for several years now in the theater department; she would be directing “The Man of La Mancha” this year. Their children Peter, 8, and Laurel, 5, were in classes at the beginning of the day and he needed to coordinate with his wife about picking them up after school.

After completing the three-year training process for a master’s degree in taxation, Professor Slavovsky began seriously considering teaching as a future career path. However, he knew a doctorate was required at many institutions in order to become a professor. Between the completion of his master’s degree and the time he was hired at Covenant College, a good opportunity never arose to return to school once again. But then, the perfect teaching opportunity arose, and it came with the prospect of a chance to go back to school again in the future to complete a doctorate, after getting a few semesters of teaching experience.

As Professor Slavovsky drove down Lookout Mountain, he considered the future. He knew the hard work of pursuing a doctorate would be upcoming; it had been one of the conditions discussed during his job interviews. For now, however, Professor Slavovsky was looking forward to savoring every exciting facet his new career had to offer.