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Influential Women in Accounting: AICPA Recognizes Innovative Accounting Educators

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) earlier this month announced the winners of the 2018 Effective Learning Strategies (ELS) Awards, given each year to college and university educators who develop unique and effective teaching tools for introductory, upper division, and graduate courses.

“The accounting profession relies on innovative educators to cultivate its next generation of leaders and problem-solvers,” said Yvonne Hinson, CPA, CGMA, academic in residence, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “These awards recognize professors for finding new and creative ways to teach and inspire students.”

The AICPA Pre-Certification Education Executive Committee’s Teaching Innovation Task Force selected the winners and honorable mentions at the American Accounting Association’s Effective Learning Strategies poster sessions in August 2018 in National Harbor, MD.


The 2018 Bea Sanders/AICPA Teaching Innovation Award for innovative teaching practices in the first accounting sequence (1st and 2nd year studies) was given to Markus Ahrens of St. Louis Community College and Cathy J. Scott of Navarro College, who is currently teaching at University of North Texas – Dallas.

The team’s submission, “The Teaching and Learning Toolbox,” is a website they developed in 2015 for sharing technological resources, including hardware, software, and apps, as well as pedagogical strategies, amongst accounting educators. “Markus and Cathy believe that technology used in courses without a purpose, is just entertainment,” Ahrens and Scott wrote in their submission. The toolbox is a free resource.

Honorable mention for this award went to Wendy Tietz of Kent State University and Tracie Miller Nobles of Austin Community College for their submission, “Data Analytics in Introductory Accounting.”


The winners of the 2018 George Krull/ Grant Thornton Teaching Innovation Award for innovative teaching in junior-and senior-level accounting courses are Lynnan Mocek and Veronica Paz of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, for “Show & Tell: Infographics to Keep and Sustain Engagement.” This project involves the creation of infographics and infographic templates, which are then shared online with other educators at www. AccountingTeachingTools.com.


The 2018 Mark Chain/FSA Teaching Innovation Award for innovative graduatelevel accounting teaching practices went to Brigitte W. Muehlmann, Virginia E. Soybel, and Robert M. Turner of Babson College. Their submission was, “Sustainability at Interface, Inc.: Applying the qualitative characteristics of useful financial information to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factor data.” Students engaged in this project consider a company called “Interface, Inc.” with $250 million in debt to refinance, and work to answer the question, “Should the company’s executive team refinance using a debt instrument with an interest rate that is linked to nine environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors?”

Each winner or team will have an opportunity to share their work at next year’s American Accounting Association annual meeting to be held in San Francisco.

“The AICPA appreciates the AAA granting these educators a platform for presenting their exciting ideas. The FSA and Grant Thornton also continue to help support the dissemination of innovative ideas about how to teach accounting students,” said Steve Matzke, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants director of faculty and university initiatives.

In addition, winners will receive $5,000 and a plaque (honorable mentions will receive $500). The materials from the submissions will be posted to the AICPA Accounting Professors’ Curriculum Tool, alongside past winners. The Curriculum Resource offers accounting curricula for people engaged in teaching or learning about the profession. Access to the tool is limited to AICPA members.

More information about the AICPA educator awards, including submission criteria, can be found at AICPA.org

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