Richard Malamud: 2014 Outstanding Professor

Richard MalamudIn Hebrew, the surname Malamud translates to English as “teacher,” which makes Richard Malamud, professor of accounting, aptly named.

A certified public accountant and tax lawyer, Malamud first got interested in teaching while working for the national accounting firm, Laventhol & Horwath.

“I taught about six courses as part of their continuing education and loved every minute of teaching. I also wrote one or two of [the courses],” Malamud recalls. “That is where I got the bug to teach.”

When a faculty position in the Department of Accounting and Finance at California State University, Dominguez Hills opened up in 1990, Malamud crunched the numbers, so to speak, and took the calculated risk to switch careers.

Malamud approaches his classes—he primarily teaches Income Taxation I and II—like the accountant and lawyer that he is, focusing in on the facts and figures. There is a lot to learn given the length and complexity of the U.S. tax code, and Malamud said that while he avails himself to any student who needs additional clarification, he places the onus on the students to get the most out of his class.

“I believe it’s my job to teach and the students’ job to learn,” he said. “I teach as if this is the real world and like a job: if you come in late to work, leave early, don’t finish the assigned project, do a sloppy job, etc., the result will be that you are either not promoted, don’t get a raise, get reprimanded, or get fired. On the other hand, if you take personal responsibility, prepare, come to class, ask questions, and study for the exam, hopefully the classroom time is valuable in making the learning fun and easy.”

Admittedly the subject matter can be dry, which is why Malamud sprinkles his lectures with the occasional attorney, boring accountant or professor joke as well as “war stories from real life tax preparation.”

For him though, “war stories” are more than just jokes; they represent part of his teaching philosophy, which is to be a practitioner of what you teach. Malamud spent more than 10 years as an accountant and attorney, and continues to work more than 100 hours a year during tax season preparing tax returns for a local CPA firm. It keeps him up to date on tax code as well as accounting software and spreadsheet programs, which he can then take back to his classes, giving students tips and tricks they’ll need on the job.

He also keeps current in the field by contributing articles for CPA trade publications. He has written extensively on a broad range of income taxation subjects, from trusts and estates, retirement planning, to the “nanny tax” and the “tax gap.”

In addition to receiving the 2014 Outstanding Professor Award, he is a past recipient of the Lyle E. Gibson Dominguez Hills Distinguished Teacher Award. Both awards recognize a professor’s role not only inside the classroom but as a member of the university community.

Malamud has served on the Academic Senate as a member and past parliamentarian for more than 20 years, as well as on served on various departmental, college and university committees.

“Being part of faculty governance is very rewarding, even though most of the time my views represent the minority view,” he said. “But isn’t that what an educational institution is all about?”

Malamud has a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola, a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation from New York University School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from University of California, Los Angeles.

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