August 14, 2013 | Grace Ruiter
Before getting married, Calvin business professors Marilyn and Jason Stansbury sought the president of Calvin College’s blessing.
They needed it because spouses can’t work in the same department without presidential permission—it’s in the Calvin Faculty Handbook.
Coincidently, Calvin isn’t the only employer the Stansburys have in common. Deloitte and Touche also appears on both their resumes.
Fresh from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Jason Stansbury got a job at the Deloitte office in Detroit consulting in the auto industry.
He strove to show his faith in his actions like he’d been taught growing up in Atlanta, Ga.
“I tried to be nice, hard-working and honest,” he recalled. “And people said, ‘You’re so nice, hard-working and honest. You must be from the South.’ I felt like I wasn’t having that Reformed influence.”
Hoping he’d make a bigger difference as a professor, Stansbury earned his PhD from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He got a job in Calvin’s business department.
Marilyn Stansbury was a senior manager at Deloitte’s national office headquarters in Connecticut for several years. But toward the end of her time there, she felt God was calling her to work for a Christian organization. So, praying for God’s guidance, she googled “Christian jobs.”
The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities website (cccu.org) stuck out among the more than 500,000 results. Marilyn had already developed and delivered several well-received seminars for managers and new hires at Deloitte. Seeing the open faculty positions on cccu.org, she wondered if God was calling her to teach.
After prayerful deliberation, she ended up applying to three Christian colleges. All three offered her a job. She chose Taylor University in Fort Wayne, Ind. because she connected to its mission.
“It was clear that they weren’t afraid to share their faith in God,” she explained.
Stansbury had been at Taylor for just over a year when the school announced it was closing its Fort Wayne campus at the end of the academic year. She got the news right before the Christian Business Faculty Association (CBFA) conference.
At the CBFA conference, a man on the elevator spotted the Deloitte and Touche logo on her laptop bag.
“Do you work for Deloitte?” he asked her.
Marilyn explained that she had worked there but didn’t anymore. It turned out he had worked at Deloitte, too. Now, she learned, he taught at Calvin College.
He was the first of three Calvin professors Marilyn Stansbury met at that conference. The third one— also a former Deloitte employee—mentioned Calvin had an opening for an accounting professor. She suggested Marilyn apply.
“Taylor was closing, and here was a new job possibility. It seemed too perfect,” Marilyn remembered. “I started researching more about Calvin, determined to find something wrong with the school.”
But Marilyn was impressed by Calvin’s Reformed approach and decided to apply for the job. She got it.
“The guy on the elevator,” she revealed, ”is now my husband.”
Taking the Kuiper seminar, a Reformed theology course for new faculty, during the interim of her first year got Marilyn thinking about ideas for scholarship in accounting ethics.
“People told me, ‘You’ve got to talk to Stansbury—he’s the ethics guru,’ she recalled.
So she met Jason Stansbury, the man on the elevator, at a restaurant to talk ethics at the end of January. They hit it off.
“We stayed there talking for three hours before they closed the restaurant,” Marilyn remembered. “Since then, we’ve closed a lot of restaurants.”
Jason proposed a year later. She said yes.
With former President Byker’s blessing, both of the now-married Stansburys still teach in Calvin’s business department.
Jason’s favorite part of the job: “Telling people what I wish someone would have told me. I love when students come in with questions, and I’m like, ‘I’m so glad you asked!’”
Marilyn Stansbury also likes passing on what she’s learned to students: “It’s fun being able to bring my work experience into the classroom. I have had to make many decisions about standing up for what is right in the workplace.”
The Stansburys hope the faith-based accounting ethics course they’re developing will help others stand up for what’s right in the workplace, too. Their course focuses on the principles behind the rules.
“Usually, these courses just review the rules,” Jason said. “But in my research, I’ve found that if people know the principles behind rules, they’re more able to apply them in different situations.”
Jason’s individual research covers many areas related to business ethics, while Marilyn is more focused on behavioral accounting and accounting ethics.
In their spare time, the Stansburys enjoy hiking, art and jazz music.
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