AICPA Honors Top Accounting Educators

By Deanna C. White

Accounting is, by its very nature, a fluid profession: ever-evolving and adapting to constant change. So it is no surprise that the best educators in the industry are master innovators themselves, continually transforming and updating their curricula to prepare students for this challenging field.
On October 18, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) honored some the best and brightest of these forward-thinking educators when it announced the 2012 recipients of three accounting curriculum awards. 
The annual awards are bestowed upon educators who demonstrate innovative teaching practices in one of three distinct educational levels: in the first sequence of accounting, junior- and senior-level accounting courses, and at the graduate level. 
"Students represent the essential human capital that the CPA profession requires to meet the needs of individuals, small business, and Fortune 500 companies as well as the capital markets," said Jeannie Patton, AICPA vice president, Students, Academics, and Membership. "The innovative teaching methods in the winning entries will enhance accounting students' educational experience and better prepare these young people to meet the demands of a global marketplace."
First Sequence Award
The winners of the 2012 Bea Sanders/AICPA Innovation in Teaching Award for innovative teaching practices in the first sequence of accounting are Kay Poston, professor of accounting at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina; and John Waters, assistant professor of accounting at the University of Indianapolis, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Their submission, "A FASB Accounting Standards Codification Project for Introductory Financial Accounting," introduces the codification to both majors and non-majors in the first accounting course. The professors believe this has the promise to attract more students to accounting as a major because they will appreciate the significance of accounting standards. 
Junior/Senior Level Award
In recognition of her innovative teaching of junior- and senior-level accounting courses, Marsha Huber, associate professor of accounting at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, was named the recipient of the 2012 George Krull/Grant Thornton Teaching Innovation Award
Huber was awarded for her submission, "Out of the Box Learning for Tax Class: Students Create Models, Pamphlets, and a Shoebox Case," which focuses on an action-based learning approach. Action learning involves students exercising their higher-order learning skills of analyzing, evaluating, and thinking creatively as they work on their assignments.
Graduate Level Award
Kelly Pope, associate professor in the School of Accountancy and Management Information Systems at DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, won the 2012 Mark Chain/FSA Teaching Innovation Award for graduate-level accounting teaching practices for her entry, "Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crimes."  
Pope's entry is a digital media project that includes a one-hour documentary and will contain thirty half-hour teaching modules covering fraud topics, such as revenue recognition, financial statement fraud, whistleblowing, and insider trading.
"I am so honored to receive the award because it shows me that the accounting profession embraces the need for innovative methods to engage today's accounting students. Accounting fraud is a pervasive problem, and in order to be effective in developing strong ethical leaders, we need to talk about these issues in the classroom," said Pope. "I believe that it is important that accounting educators continue to remain innovative and use cutting-edge methods, because today's millennial learner is expecting the classroom to mirror the technologies that are used in the marketplace." 
The winners' curricula, along with those of past winners, are included as part of the Accounting Professors' Curriculum Resource, AICPA's curriculum tool. The Curriculum Resource offers accounting curricula specifically designed to encourage faculty and engage accounting students while furthering their knowledge of the profession. Access to the tool is limited to AICPA members.
The AICPA, the Federation of Schools of Accountancy (FSA), and Grant Thornton will cover the winners' travel expenses to the 2013 American Accounting Association (AAA) annual meeting, to be held in Anaheim, California, which will provide them with the opportunity to present their curriculum in person and receive their awards.
"On behalf of the AICPA, I would like to express our thanks to both FSA and Grant Thornton for their generous contributions and the AAA for allowing the winners the opportunity to present at their annual conference," said Patton.
The award winners are selected by the Pre-certification Education Executive Committee (PcEEC) of the AICPA, which assists the academic community in preparing students with the core competencies needed for entry into the profession. More information about the AICPA educator awards, including submission criteria, can be found online.
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