By Melissa Hart, Accounting Education Committee Member
I am a member of the Accounting Education Committee, which helps to plan and present the NCACPA’s annual Accounting Education Forum each fall. Each year the committee is charged with reviewing the current year’s event and planning for the next annual conference. We meet and discuss new topics, as well as hand-select dynamic speakers that educators will connect with and be inspired by.
This year’s conference featured a variety of content topics, including IFRS & NC Tax Modernization. We also offered a great deal of information and insight for educators on how to connect with their students. This included how to better engage and provide them with specific examples of active learning opportunities. One element that struck me this year was how very different my education was compared to what we offer the current generation. I seriously doubt any of my accounting professors ever attended a workshop on how to better teach me. This type of education was probably not even available to them.
Research shows students can learn and better retain knowledge in a more engaging environment. Some of the biggest challenges faced by educators are focused in three main areas:
1) Time—Finding the time to make a presentation more engaging can sometimes take away from time spent working on the actual content. There is a great deal more planning involved in providing quality interactive learning experiences.
2) Talent—The talent to master the newest, latest, greatest technology is not always the easiest process. Each new technology has some variant of a learning curve and it is hard to be patient knowing that the “next” new technology is already on the horizon.
3) Topic—Finding a way to convey the same topic in a more engaging way requires a great deal of creativity. Making certain that the audience clearly understands the topic and can perform a series of tasks for an exam and a future employer is critical.
It definitely takes some trial and error to hone these skills and strive to perfect this process. But rest assured future generations and employers—the Accounting Education Committee is committed to the process of helping the educators of today find new and better ways to educate the next generation of CPAs.
Melissa Hart, CPA, MBA, is a lecturer in the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University. She became a member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at NC State in 2012. She teaches courses in Personal and Corporate Finance and is a contributing author for two textbooks on Personal Finance (Kapoor). Melissa received her BBA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from North Carolina State University. Additionally, Melissa worked 8 years in Public Accounting in auditing, tax compliance, and consulting. Melissa is a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, serves on the Accounting Education Committee, and acts as chair of the Scholarship Selection Subcommittee.