Every year, the Education Committee awards one teacher at LUSEM with the prestigious price as the teacher of the year. Students can nominate their favourite teacher in the annual Speak Up Days survey, and based on the outcome, the Education Committee decides which teacher that will be the teacher of the year. The teacher receiving the prize will be able to go to Vinterbalen. This year’s winner is Amanda Sonnerfeldt, Senior lecturer at the faculty of Business Administration. Nådiga Lundtan was of course very interested to get to know Amanda a bit better, and therefore, we had a chat with her before the festivities of the weekend.
For those of our readers who do not know you; who are you?
I teach and do research at the Department of Accounting and Finance. I have my roots in Singapore, but I have been living in Sweden for about 16 years.
What brought you to Sweden?
My husband is Swedish. We lived in the US and Ireland for sometime before deciding to move to Sweden. We wanted our three children to be close to their paternal grandparents.
Have you been studying here at LUSEM?
I did my Master’s degree in European Affairs here at Lund University. At that time, it was a collaboration between 3 departments: Business Law, Business Administration and Political Science. I did my Bachelor’s degree at the National University of Singapore.
What would you say are the biggest differences between when you were a student and now, when you are a Senior Lecturer?
When I was a student I took a lot of things for granted. For example, the knowledge imparted to us, the relevance of the courses offered within a program among other things.
I have over the years become more reflective, taking a step back to get a more holistic perspective of the education we offer. I am also more aware of the mission and strategic plan of the university and the constraints we work under. That said, we cannot neglect how important it is for different courses and departments to work together.
You are not only teaching, but also doing research. Would you mind telling me about what part of the research you have done which fascinates you the most?
I did my doctoral studies at the Department of Business Law, here at LUSEM. My dissertation focused on the development and use of standards by private actors to audit sustainability reports. Naturally, until today, I would say that my research centres on regulation through standards and codes. Recently, Professor Anne Loft and I published an article on the development of the international code of ethics for the accountancy profession over a 30 year period.
I am especially interested in history, in particular accounting history. I think it is important to study the history because there is a clear connection between the past and present phenomenon. Much of our focus in research and education centre on current practices. From my point of view, understanding history will give important insights as to how we got to where we are today and the lessons learnt in the process. This would augment our understanding of contemporary thought and practices. In research, I like to ask the simple questions as these questions are quite likely to challenge the often taken for granted assumptions. For example, many people seem to believe that Artificial Intelligence is the future of accounting and auditing, and could solve many of today’s problems. Perhaps one could dwell deeper into this notion?
When you do not teach at LUSEM, what do you do then?
I spend time with my children, we usually play music together. I play golf in the summer and attend ballet classes, something I have done since I was 5.
How do you feel about winning this prize?
I first heard about it when Caroline Hellström (my fellow Accounting colleague) was award last year. I was so happy for her.
I am very surprised to receive this recognition. I feel very honored. Thank you.
As you have won the price, you will be invited to LundaEkonomernas Vinterbal. Have you been there before?
It is my first time attending a ball in Sweden! I am of course very excited, but I don’t really know what to expect at the moment.
What will you do this christmas?
Several things, I think. There is going to be lots of cooking and baking. I am also currently working on a book about the history of the International Federation of Accountants with Professors Chris Humphrey and Anne Loft. I am going to try to catch up on that during the holidays.
Thank you for taking your time, Amanda, and see you at Vinterbalen!