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Finding his way to the front of the classroom

Posted by Sonya Jampolsky on March 13, 2023 in News

Bryce Cross’s career path has taken so many turns, it’s tempting to call him an ‘accidental’ accounting professor. When he’s at the front of the classroom, though, he’s so comfortable that it doesn’t seem accidental at all.

After high school, Bryce and a friend set off from Calgary to Saskatchewan to attend the Police Studies program in Regina. “A buddy and I decided we were going to be cops,” he says. It only took a week, he adds, to figure out it wasn’t for them. “So, I ended up coming to Dal, following my high school girlfriend, and in true 18-year-old fashion, we split up.

The Faculty of Management was looking for lecturers

He loved Halifax and decided to stay and enroll at Dalhousie University. Starting in an arts program, Bryce then switched to business, found he had a knack for accounting and graduated in 2018 with his Bachelor of Commerce.

The next part of his journey, he says, was to do what all the accounting professors suggested —get a job at one of the big companies and study to become a chartered professional accountant (CPA). He became a CPA, but big company culture didn’t feel right, so he broke out on his own. He found that to be plain ‘boring’ and discovered he missed having colleagues.

Bryce’s next move was to a mid-size firm, but before he had a chance to settle, he learned Dalhousie was looking for people to teach in the Faculty of Management.

Ever since graduating, he says, “I was TAing in finance, accounting, and so on. I think it was a total of 17 sections. I was tutoring as well any time I wasn’t TAing”. With that experience in mind, he decided to apply. Surprised to get the job, he decided, “alright, well, I guess this is what I do now.”

“How do I ensure everybody gets across the line here?”

Even though he wasn’t much older than his students, Bryce says the hardest part wasn’t the content, but learning how to support the students on an emotional level.

He knows that “things aren't looking great for the young people”, with a climate crisis and the economy. He felt he needed to get back into the student mindset and figure out how to help them at a key point in their lives.  

Emphatic that he wasn’t going to be a pushover, he says his biggest question was, “How do I ensure that we get everybody across the line here?” adding he wants them to be successful.

The classroom feels like home

Bryce’s ability to nurture and help his students grow is evident in what he does at home. Interested in plants, he has a standing herb garden with 100 basil plants in his apartment. He also grows gourmet mushrooms and is particularly fond of shiitakes.

Having acquired a master’s degree, Bryce isn’t entirely convinced he’s going back to being a Ph.D. student just yet. All he knows is that, for now, the classroom feels like home.