Educators recognized for innovative curricula

The 2015 Effective Learning Strategies Awards, which recognize accounting curricula, are given each year to educators who demonstrate innovative teaching practices and curricula in one of three educational levels: introductory, upper level, and graduate.

Fabienne Miller, associate professor, and Huong Higgins, professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute School of Business in Worcester, Mass., received the 2015 Bea Sanders/AICPA Innovation in Teaching Award in the first sequence of accounting.

Their entry, "UBuild: A Simulation Bridging Financial and Managerial Accounting," had teams of students make decisions and learn the financial implications in the context of a startup business they helped shape. The teams chose the products and quantity to manufacture and sell from options. The simulation was organized around six stages: business organization, sales planning and purchasing, production and inventory management, sales, financial analysis, and budgeting.

Mahendra Gujarathi, the Rae D. Anderson Professor of Accountancy and coordinator of financial reporting curriculum at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., received the 2015 George Krull/Grant Thornton Teaching Innovation Award for junior- and senior-level accounting courses.

His submission, "Diamond Foods Inc.: One Company, Two Cases, Four Courses—The Recipe for a Rich, Relevant and Exciting Learning Experience," examined the challenges faced by a real company in 2011. The discovery of fraud by an audit resulted in the stock price plunging from $96 to $14 at Diamond Foods. Students were tasked with researching accounting and auditing literature and were put in the roles of financial accountant and external auditor to help develop their research, critical-thinking, and communication skills.

Patricia Johnson, assistant professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., received the 2015 Mark Chain/FSA Teaching Innovation Award for graduate-level accounting courses.

Her entry, "Detective, Critic, Curator, Investigator—A Novel Approach to Encouraging Student Research and Creativity," involved a series of activities related to fraud examination. The activities encouraged students to explore topics that complemented the course content, promoted creativity, and allowed them to make critical choices.

The awards were sponsored by the AICPA, the Federation of Schools of Accountancy, and Grant Thornton. The winners each received $2,500, as well as a plaque to be presented at the 2016 American Accounting Association (AAA) annual meeting, where the winners will have the opportunity to present their curricula in person.

The winners' curricula also will be included alongside those of past winners as part of the AICPA's Accounting Professors' Curriculum Resource tool, which is designed to encourage faculty and engage accounting students while furthering their knowledge of the profession.

Winners were selected by a task force consisting of past winners and members of the AICPA's Pre-certification Education Executive Committee.

The following individuals received 2015 honorable mentions for their submissions:

  • Bea Sanders/AICPA Innovation in Teaching Award: "Introducing Accounting: Classroom Application of the Pathways Commission Vision," Melissa Larson, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
  • George Krull/Grant Thornton Teaching Innovation Award: "Adding a Real-World Fraud Risk Assessment to Your Fraud or Auditing Class," Mary Jepperson, College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn.
  • Mark Chain/FSA Teaching Innovation Award: "Crowdsourcing Analysis of Government Expenditures: 'Armchair Auditors'—Case and Results of Its Use in a Graduate Accounting Systems Class," Daniel O'Leary, University of Southern California in Los Angeles; and "Bringing an Accounting Case to Life With Trained Actors: Teaching Interviewing and Teamwork Skills," Genevieve Risner, Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

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