An almost 20-year veteran of the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, business professor Kathy Brockway is being honored for her dedication to education with one of the campus’s most prestigious awards.
Brockway has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. The accolade was established to commemorate a Kansas State Polytechnic faculty member’s commitment in the classroom, service to students and overall merit as a teacher.
“I have always felt, since the first moment I walked into the classroom, that teaching is a privilege, and I’m honored that I have gotten to do this with my life,” Brockway said. “As a college professor, my actions and energy leave an imprint on the next generation of professionals. So, I design every class period ever mindful of the future that I help create.”
Brockway’s teaching focus is in accounting and finance, subjects she says some of her students don’t always find compelling. But one of her main goals is to help students understand the significance of business in their lives, assigning projects in everything from retirement planning to budgeting and balancing a bank account to filling out a tax return manually.
“Business is at work all around us — it doesn’t matter what career you choose, you’re impacted by business,” Brockway said. “It’s important that I encourage, foster and support my students in acquiring the vision to see business principles at work and appreciate the influence these principles have on their personal and professional lives.”
A native of Great Bend, Brockway’s love of business began when, instead of playing house or school as a child, she would play office. Her father was an accountant and she says she grew up wanting to be just like him. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in business administration and a Master of Accountancy, both from Kansas State University.
Brockway’s love of teaching began when she was working on her master’s degree and the head of the department asked her to step in and instruct two classes after another graduate teaching assistant quit. Though public speaking wasn’t something she had ever been fond of, Brockway agreed to the request and says that decision laid the foundation for her career in the classroom.
After graduating from K-State, Brockway married her husband, Troy, and moved to New Mexico where she worked as an auditor and earned her certified public accountant license. When her family returned to Kansas, Brockway was an accountant for a hospital and taught at Fort Riley before landing back at K-State for 10 years and then at Kansas State Polytechnic in 2001.
“The No. 1 thing I want for my students is for them to be lifelong learners,” Brockway said. “I just want them to know how important it is, when they get that diploma, their learning and growth aren’t over — they should be looking for the next thing to study and explore. But it’s not a decision I can make for them; they have to decide. And my students know if they commit to learning, as their professor, I commit to traveling beside them on the journey.”
Additionally, Brockway assists with the campus’s First Year program, co-teaches study abroad courses, and has been a club advisor. She also provides leadership training to corporations and organizations, an opportunity that allows her to explore what’s going on in industry so she can bring back cutting-edge and critical information to the classroom.
In her spare time, Brockway teaches fitness classes at a local gym and has a goal of hiking every state’s highest point – she’s conquered 14 climbs so far. She and her husband have three children: Jessica, Lara and Aidan.