Educators recognized for innovative teaching practices


The AICPA announced the winners of the annual accounting curriculum awards, which are given to educators who have demonstrated innovative teaching practices in one of three distinct educational levels: in the first sequence of accounting, in junior- and senior-level accounting courses, and at the graduate level.

Markus Ahrens, professor of accounting at St. Louis Community College, received the 2013 Bea Sanders/AICPA Innovation in Teaching Award for the first sequence of accounting. Ahrens was recognized for implementing greater teamwork and student collaboration within the classroom, resulting in increased attendance, improvement in student grades, and higher overall student success rates.

Marion E. McHugh, assistant professor in the Business and Accounting Department at Furman University, and Paul Polinski, lecturer of accountancy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, received the 2013 George Krull/Grant Thornton Innovation in Teaching Award for junior- and senior-level accounting courses. Their winning curriculum centered on a project that engaged students’ critical thinking about the appropriate separation of duties in the purchases and disbursements transaction cycles.

Jennifer Butler Ellis, Mark E. Riley, and Rebecca Toppe Shortridge of Northern Illinois University received the 2013 Mark Chain/FSA Innovation in Teaching Award for graduate-level accounting teaching practices. Their Master of Accounting Science program incorporated a workshop to ensure graduates had not only technical accounting knowledge but also leadership and communications skills.

The winners’ curricula, along with those of past winners, are included in the AICPA’s Accounting Professors’ Curriculum Resource, a tool for accounting faculty and students. (Access to the tool is limited to AICPA members.)

The AICPA, the Federation of Schools of Accountancy, and Grant Thornton will cover the winners’ travel expenses to the 2014 American Accounting Association annual meeting, where the winners will present their curricula in person and receive their awards.

The award winners are selected by the AICPA Pre-certification Education Executive Committee, which assists the academic community in preparing students with the core competencies needed for entry into the profession.

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