Savage named first Sallie W. Dean Endowed Professor of Accounting at the UAB Collat School of Business

Savage says she appreciates the additional funds provided through the endowment and the trust donors Sallie and Hilton Dean placed in her stewardship of them.
Written by: Mia Watkins
Media Contact: Adam Pope

Savage StreamArline Savage, Ph.D.,
Photography by Andrea Mabry
Arline Savage, Ph.D., has been named the first Sallie W. Dean Endowed Professor of Accounting at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business.

The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees approved the new endowed professorship — previously funded at an endowed scholar level — in April and appointed Savage to the prestigious post June 9. Collat now has three endowed professorships and three endowed chairs.

Savage says she appreciates the additional funds provided through the endowment and the trust donors Sallie and Hilton Dean placed in her stewardship of them.

“I am very appreciative of the financial resources that Sallie and Hilton Dean have provided to me,” Savage said. “I will use these additional resources to benefit my students and help them become successful accounting professionals.”

Savage was the Sallie W. Dean Faculty Fellow in Accounting, established in 2012, before being named to the professorship.

She says she used the scholar endowment to innovate her Accounting Information Systems course.

“I realized that none of the existing textbooks covered the course material the way I preferred, which is by illustrating the practical relevance of the covered material across various accounting career paths,” Savage said.

To close the gap, she joined two of her former students, Danielle Brannock and Alicja Foksinska, to co-write the book “Accounting Information Systems: Connecting Careers, Systems, and Analytics” in 2022. 

“Our collective knowledge and experience contribute to a diverse and inclusive perspective within the text, as evidenced by the professionals showcased throughout the book whose backgrounds and experiences reflect a broad spectrum of diversity,” Savage said. “We designed the book’s visual elements to adhere to the standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The color schemes comply with accessibility guidelines, ensuring a user-friendly experience for individuals with disabilities.”

Savage says the Deans’ additional gift for the endowed professorship has inspired her to do even more.

The increased funding will allow her to promote business analytics in her course and use professional software such as Tableau and Alteryx to collaborate with industry professionals, she says.

Savage, a South Africa native, has taught classes internationally. She has received the Ernst & Young Leader in Ethics Award, the Ernst & Young Outstanding Educator Award, the Fluor Corporation Excellence in Teaching Award, the Loudell Teaching Award, and the 2021 UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Savage received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in accounting from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 1977, 1996 and 1999, respectively. She began teaching at UAB in 2012 and formerly chaired Collat’s Accounting and Finance Department.

She is known as an innovative professor who adopted hybrid learning prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collaboration and engagement are integral to her classes. 

“My courses run on a gamified version of MS Teams with ClassCred software to engage students, pioneered by my brilliant colleague Dr. Chris Edmonds,” she said. “The focus is to build community and provide a college experience for online students.”

Savage is also a world-renowned researcher who ranked 12th in the world in accounting education in 2022. She has published more than 40 academic and professional publications, as well as two scholarly books and two textbooks. She is a past president of the Accounting Information Systems Educator Association and founding editor-in-chief of the AIS Educator Journal. Savage serves on the editorial boards of two highly ranked accounting education journals — Issues in Accounting Education and the Journal of Accounting Education. Her research has heavily influenced her teaching style. 

“My favorite research stream is pedagogical,” she said. “Three of my six best conference paper awards were curriculum-related or materials developed for classroom use. My AIS curriculum development projects and instructional cases have received acclaim for innovativeness and relevance and have resulted in publications in high-quality academic journals.”

She says she hopes her students remember her encouragement. 

“I care about their success and encourage them to persevere, even when it gets tough,” Savage said. “Many of my students work full time and are parents of young children, and I try to help them navigate priorities as best I can.”