Top Accounting Educators Honored by AICPA for Innovative Teaching Strategies

November 23, 2015

New York (November 23, 2015) – The American Institute of CPAs is pleased to announce the 2015 winners of three accounting curriculum awards. The Effective Learning Strategies Awards  are given each year to educators who demonstrate innovative teaching practices and curriculums in one of three educational levels: introductory, upper level, and graduate.
“Accounting professors are the ones shaping the minds, and ultimately, the careers, of our future CPAs,” said Joanne Fiore, , AICPA vice president of professional media, pathways and inclusion. “These ground-breaking professors are using real-life examples and creative teaching models to educate, engage and inspire the next generation of CPAs.”
The recipients of the 2015 Bea Sanders/AICPA Innovation in Teaching Award  for innovative teaching practices in the first sequence of accounting are Fabienne Miller, Associate Professor, School of Business; and Dr. Huong Higgins, Professor, School of Business, Worchester Polytechnic Institute.
Their entry, “UBuild: A Simulation Bridging Financial and Managerial Accounting,” had teams of students making complex decisions and learning their financial implications in the context of a startup business they helped shape. The teams chose which products and quantity to manufacture and sell from a choice of three select products. The simulation was organized around six stages: business organization, sales planning and purchasing, production and inventory management, sales, financial analysis, and budgeting.
The George Krull/Grant Thornton Teaching Innovation Award for the innovative teaching of junior- and senior-level accounting courses was bestowed upon Dr. Mahendra Gujarathi, CPA, the Rae D. Anderson Professor of Accountancy and coordinator of financial reporting curriculum at Bentley University.
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 this real company in 2011. The discovery of fraud at the company 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 achieve several learning objectives - including the development of research, critical thinking, and communications skills.
The winner of the 2015 Mark Chain/FSA Teaching Innovation Award for innovative graduate-level accounting teaching practices is Patricia Johnson, MBA, CPA, Assistant Professor at Canisius College.
In her winning entry, “Detective, Critic, Curator, Investigator - A Novel Approach to Encouraging Student Research and Creativity,” a series of activities were developed for the students in relation to fraud examination in an accounting classroom. The activities encouraged students to explore topics that complemented the course content, promoted creativity, and allowed them to make critical choices for themselves.
The award sponsors, AICPA,  The Federation of Schools of Accountancy  and Grant Thornton will provide each award recipient or team with $2,500, as well as a plaque to be presented at the 2016 American Accounting Association (AAA) annual meeting. At the meeting, they will have the opportunity to present their curriculum in person and receive their awards.

“The AICPA thanks the AAA for providing this opportunity for the winners to present their research, as well as the much appreciated contributions from FSA and Grant Thornton - which have allowed us to recognize and reward the contributions of these exemplary accounting professors," said Steve Matzke, AICPA's director of faculty and university initiatives.
Each award winner was selected by a task force comprised of past award winners and members of the AICPA’s Pre-certification Education Executive Committee (PcEEC). The mission of the PcEEC is to assist the academic community in preparing students with the core competencies needed for entry into the profession.
The winners’ curricula will be included alongside past winners 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 following individuals have been recognized with the 2015 honorable mention for their submissions:
Bea Sanders/AICPA Innovation in Teaching Award:
“Introducing Accounting: Classroom Application of the Pathways Commission Vision," Melissa Larson, Brigham Young University.
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.
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.
“Bringing an Accounting Case to Life with Trained Actors: Teaching Interviewing and Teamwork Skills," Genevieve Risner, Michigan State University.
More information about the AICPA educator awards, including submission criteria, can be found online.