Accounting Accreditation Maintenance Report. Prepared for. AACSB International. Address Questions and Inquiries to:

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1 Accounting Accreditation Maintenance Report Prepared for AACSB International Address Questions and Inquiries to: Karen F. Turner, Chair Department of Accounting and Computer Information Systems Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business Campus Box th Street University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO 80639

2 Contents I. Executive Summary... 3 II. Situational Analysis... 5 III. Degree Programs Included in the Accounting Maintenance Report IV. Progress Update on Areas of Concern V. Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Objectives Statements VI. Financial Strategies VII. New Degree Programs: Master of Accounting (MAcc) VIII. Accounting Program s Assurance of Learning Process IX. Conclusion Appendix A: Strategic Plan Matrix 39 Appendix B: MCB Academic and Professional Qualification Policy 45 Appendix C: Faculty Qualifications 52 Appendix D: Faculty Curriculum Vitae 66 Appendix E: Undergraduate Assurance of Learning 162 Appendix F: Graduate Assurance of Learning 173 2

3 I. Executive Summary Overview The University of Northern Colorado main campus is in Greeley, Colorado, 50 miles from Denver and 50 miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming. The University has approximately 12,000 students. The Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business was established as a separate college within the University systems in 1968 and currently serves approximately 1140 business majors and minors. The Accounting Program exists within the Department of Accounting and Computer Information Systems, one of four departments within the Monfort College of Business (MCB). MCB offers one undergraduate degree, a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with six emphasis areas, and one master s degree. The College s emphasis areas are Accounting, Computer Information Systems, Finance, General Business, Management, and Marketing. The Accounting Program offers an emphasis in Accounting within the BSBA degree and currently the only master s program within the MCB, the Masters of Accounting (MAcc). The Accounting Program is managed by the Chair of the Department of Accounting and CIS, with assistance from a 0.9 FTE administrative assistant and several part-time student workstudies. Permanent Accounting Program committees include the Curriculum Committee, the Scholarship and Awards Committee, the Assurance of Learning Committee, and the Master of Accounting Committee. Ad hoc committees are appointed as needed to provide guidance to the Program on a variety of matters, including faculty searches and recruiting. The Chair of the Department of Accounting and CIS represents the Accounting and CIS programs on the Dean s Administrative Council. The Accounting Program interacts regularly with its key constituent groups. These groups include members of the professional accounting community, the Accounting Advisory Board (AAB), firm recruiters, and past and present students. The Advisory Board consists of 24 members representing international, national, regional, and local CPA firms; industry; and government and not-for-profit organizations. Other venues where the accounting faculty interacts with the professional community and past students include on-campus lunch meetings, visits to various firms, and professional meetings. Faculty Over the past 5 years, the Accounting Program has lost two full-time professionally qualified faculty and added three full-time academically qualified faculty:, William Wilcox, Pat Seaton and Janel Greiman. Dr. Wilcox (Ph.D.), Dr. Seaton (Ph.D) and Ms. Greiman (M.S Tax) are tenure-track. Additionally, the Program has one full-time adjunct position held by Brian Cathcart (M.S. Accounting). All faculty for the are either academically or professional qualified based on the MCB guidelines. Since 2007 the accounting faculty has received $38,300 in financial support, awards, and recognition from the College s foundation funds. This amount is a 12% increase over the previous five years. 3

4 The College and University support for the Accounting Program has remained strong. Recent evidence of this commitment is approval to search for an academically qualified faculty for the academic year. Students The following summarizes the Accounting Program s students: Fall 2012 accounting students entered UNC with an average 3.52/4.00 high school GPA and an average 24.4 ACT-C score which is above the previous year s scores. The accounting student body is made up of approximately 61% female, 12.82% minority and 38% first generation college students The Accounting Program awarded $40,840 in undergraduate and graduate student scholarships in a significant increase over amounts awarded in previous years. Accounting seniors consistently score in the 95-98th percentile on the ETS field exam overall and the accounting section of the exam, and for the current year scored in the 99 th percentile Our Deloitte Tax Case Competition teams have reached the finals in four of the last five years. Our Beta Alpha Psi chapter has achieved superior chapter status for the last eight years and is the largest student group in the MCB. The Accounting Program records show that 81% of students are currently employed or accepted to graduate school. Meet the Firms sponsored by Beta Alpha Psi, consistently draws a large group of employees and students. In fall 2011, more than 29 local, regional and national employers were represented and more than 80 junior and seniors attended. New Program Beginning fall 2011, the Accounting Program accepted its first eight graduate students. These students began a thirty-hour master s program which culminated in a Masters of Accounting degree. The accounting faculty spent 4 years developing the program in response to the needs of the students for a 150-hour educational experience to meet new Colorado licensure requirements and the needs of the accounting firms for entering professional with these same educational credentials to enable mobility among clients in other states. Assurance of Learning The Accounting Program administers its Assessment of Learning process through an internal Assurance of Learning Committee separate from the College s. Assurance of learning for the undergraduate Accounting Program is on schedule and is fully implemented for five of the six learning goals. The remaining learning goal (technology) is on schedule and partially implemented. Additionally, the graduate Assurance of Learning process was a priority when planning the MAcc program that began fall

5 II. Situational Analysis Program Overview The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is located in Greeley, Colorado, which is approximately 50 miles from Denver and 50 miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming. The University was chartered by the state of Colorado in 1889 as a two-year State Normal School to train public school teachers. In 1970, after several name changes, the state legislature renamed it the University of Northern Colorado, recognizing the full offering of 100 undergraduate and over 100 graduate programs offered in six colleges. Currently, approximately 12,000 students attend UNC, coming from all fifty states and 28 foreign countries. The Monfort College of Business (MCB) was established as a separate college in 1968, growing to support undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs over the next fifteen years. A 1969 description of the College states: Emphasizing the complexity of the modern business world, this department utilizes techniques recently innovated in the field. In the teaching professions, one may receive a B.A. Degree in Business Education with various specializations. A Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Business is offered in the Applied and Professional Studies. (Colorado State College 1969, Vol. 16, College Annual, p. 54) In 1984, because of the fierce competition from the two largest Colorado public universities which are within a 50 mile radius of UNC, the College decided to concentrate its efforts at the undergraduate level and discontinued all graduate programs. Continuing its now-formal 1968 strategy of high-touch, wide-tech, and professional depth and exceptional value enabled the College to become the first public university in Colorado to be accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in both business administration and accounting. The now 40-year old strategy again paid off for the College when it was recognized by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education s program as a Program of Excellence in 2000 and, then, with the award of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2004, the first U.S. university business program to receive this award. The Accounting Program and the CIS Program were combined into the School of Accounting and CIS in 2005, following consolidation efforts across the University. The School was administered by a director who was considered to be an administrator rather than faculty. In 2011, due to another administrative restructuring, the School of Accounting and CIS became the Department of Accounting and CIS administered by a chair who is considered to be faculty. For the Department, the only change was the title and the designation of faculty rather than administrator of the director, now chair. The accounting chair remains on a ten-month contract with an additional stipend for that time. The Accounting Program is one of the six emphasis areas the MCB offers for its single Bachelor of Science degree. Although traditionally an undergraduate-only program, with changes in Colorado s rules for CPA licensure came opportunities for expanding and enhancing the Accounting Program and its curriculum. Beginning July 1, 2015, Colorado will require CPA applicants to have 150 hours of education for licensure. 5

6 In order to be considered substantially equivalent in other states, a number of our accounting students were obtaining the 150 hours prior to these new rules by completing minors or double majors. However, the accounting faculty, the business faculty, our students, external stakeholders, and UNC s administration deemed it necessary to begin offering a Masters of Accounting program (MAcc) in order to better serve our current and future students and to continue to be a viable program in Colorado. Program Demographics Currently, eight full-time faculty teach a five-year average of 205 accounting students a year along with other business major and minors in our principles classes (BAAC 220, 221, and 301). Students During the five-year study period, the Accounting Program had an average academic year enrollment of 205 students, including graduate students: 62% female, 27% minority and 38% first generation college students often providing a large percentage of their own financial support. Table 1 indicates that while enrollments dip to a low in 2009, enrollment has significantly increased over the last two years. Sixty percent are full-time students, and another 22% consider themselves to be half-time students. The majority (84%) of the Accounting Program s students is from Colorado, and 2% are foreign nationals. Approximately half of the students are from either Greeley or the Denver metropolitan area. Approximately 27% of the students are Pell grant eligible, and approximately 81% of the students work, with over 65% of them working from 11 to 40 hours. Sixty-two percent plan to go to work after graduation, and 30% plan to continue their education. Table 1: Accounting Undergraduate & Graduate Enrollment Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Graduate n/a n/a n/a 8 15 TOTALS Some of our students accomplishments include Accounting graduates consistently score in the 95th percentile on the ETS field exam overall and the accounting section of the exam. In most recent year, , the accounting students scored in the 99 th percentile. Our Deloitte Tax Case Competition teams have reached the finals in four of the last five years. 6

7 Our Beta Alpha Psi chapter has achieved superior chapter status for the last eight years, An accounting team won first place in the first Ethics Case competition held fall 2011, and a four-person team with 2 accounting major members won second place out of the eight teams competing. The accounting alumni records show that 82.6% of the students were either employed or accepted to graduate school. Faculty The Accounting Program employs eight full-time faculty. Seven are tenured or tenured-track. All faculty for fall 2012 are currently academically or professionally qualified. Generally, during any given semester, only one or two classes are taught by professionally qualified part-time instructors. For the last two academic years, of the fifty-five classes taught, only two (4%) were taught by part-time instructors. No classes are taught by graduate teaching assistants. Every effort is made to keep faculty loads to three preparations per year, and with one exception, this effort has been successful. We are currently only one faculty member short because of the anticipated growth of the MAcc. Because of the strong support of our Dean, a new tenure-track faculty position has been approved by UNC s administration despite the state funding cuts. Since our mission is teaching-focused, our faculty s efforts focus on effective teaching, applied and pedagogical research, and service to our students and to the profession. Faculty are evaluated annually by the Chair of the Department of Accounting and CIS and the Administrative Council based on teaching, scholarship, and service as outlined in the MCB Faculty Handbook. Assistant professors typically apply for tenure and promotion in their sixth year of service. Promotion to full professor generally requires six years at the associate professor rank. Advantages, Challenges and Opportunities Advantages Excellent students with steadily increasing enrollment Student entrance scores have steadily increased over the last 5 years, as have ETS scores. Our Beta Alpha Psi student organization is the largest student organization in the MCB and has earned Superior Chapter status for the last eight years. Small class size (averaging 31 students) with only 4% of the classes being taught by adjunct faculty Dedicated, qualified faculty Our faculty works diligently to stay current in this very fast paced environment in order to deliver a curriculum that is relevant, efficient and effective. Additionally, faculty have increased the number of peer reviewed articles published and presentations given over the last 5 years. All faculty are either academically or professionally qualified. Seven faculty maintain CPA certifications or have applied for Colorado certification. Strong professional service is a hallmark of our faculty which is encouraged and rewarded. Faculty serve on University, College, and Program committees, and many hold leadership position on external boards or with professional organizations such as Colorado Society of CPAs, FEI, Colorado Board of Accountancy and NASBA, and AIS Educators. 7

8 Close ties with regional and national accounting professionals Strategically, the faculty considers our long-standing alliance with the professional community one of the defining aspect of our Accounting Program. These relationship help build our reputation and our development abilities in turn enhancing placement, scholarships and faculty service. The Accounting Program has strong support from its Board of Advisors (BoA), some of whom are alumni, including Greg Anton, the Chair of the AICPA. The board is a diverse group with members from two of the Big 4; local, regional and national accounting firms; and from industry, government and academia who advise about curriculum, fundraising, student placement, and technology. Subcommittees have been set up in these areas with voluntary board members and a faculty liaison. Table 2 presents the Board of Advisors with their respective affiliations. Strong career placement MCB s accounting students enjoy a high average placement rate of 82.6% in accounting and industry. Given the economy, we are proud of this percentage. Additionally, we receive continual requests for referrals from recruiters which we get out to students we know are considering new job opportunities. Strong administrative support Our program continues to receive strong support from University and College administration in terms of faculty hires, faculty research and development funds, scholarships and program development funds. Despite budget cuts, new faculty hires were approved for 2012 and Challenges Decreasing state funding and increasing tuition Due to economic conditions, state funding has been dramatically cut, ranking Colorado 48 th in higher education funding. These cuts resulted in tuition hikes over the last 3 years of 9%, 13% and 3%, respectively. Fortunately, the Monfort endowment has helped MCB with funding issues and our alumni and other professional relationships have helped to reduce the impact of these events. Competition from other universities and community colleges. UNC is geographically close to six major public and private higher education institutions. Additionally, the Front Range has a several community colleges with lower tuition than ours. Colorado is a land of opportunity; however, Greeley is not often seen as quite the opportunity of some of our universities which are closer to ski areas or Denver. However, Greeley s more rural atmosphere is seen as a plus by many along the Front Range and by many parents looking for a safe environment for their children. 8

9 Efficient, Effective Curriculum Delivery Accounting information along with rules, regulations and standards have more than tripled over the last decade. Unfortunately, the number of hours allowed to educate our students in the required areas has not tripled. Therefore, more innovation is required to ensure that students leave college with the knowledge and tools they need to become professionals. General shortage of qualified faculty Through a new hires over the last several years, the Program is currently only one faculty member short for the coming year. Based on a strategic needs analysis, we are currently seeking a Ph.D. candidate to fill a tax position. We interviewed for this position during spring 2012 and made an offer. However, it was not accepted; therefore, we will continue the search during the coming year. Table 2: Accounting Program Advisory Board Randy Watkins, Chair Anton, Collins and Mitchell, CPAs Kelley Kozeliski, Vice-Chair Alan Holmberg Andy Hildebrand Bob McConnell David Sjerven Greg Anton Greg Livin Jack Allgood Josh Brgosh Scott Bush Ken Dugas Mike Filkoski Kerri Hunter Robert Jaramillo Paul Kinney Ron Kucic Rob MaCoy Mary Medley Luke Schafer Gabe Dickey Jeff Stone Mike West EKS&H Anderson & Whitney PC 361 Services AOL Comcast Anton, Collins and Mitchell, LLP Bradley Consulting Group, CPAs Anton, Collins and Mitchell, LLP Richmond American Homes Soukup, Bush & Association, CPAs, PC McGee Hearne & Paiz, LLP GHP Horwath Colorado Office of the State Auditor Ball Corporation U.S. GAO Daniels College of Business, University of Denver BKD, LLP Colorado Society of CPAs PricewaterhouseCoopers Deloitte Town of Superior Quest 9

10 Opportunities New Masters of Accounting Program (MAcc) Given the new Colorado rules for CPA licensure and based on the approval of UNC s administration and MCB s faculty, the accounting faculty have had the opportunity to develop a master s program to serve the needs of our students and recruiters. Much of the faculty manpower for the last 5 years has been dedicated to this project which culminated in the first graduate students being admitted in 2010 and the first graduates in summer Integrative Curriculum With the increase in general accounting information, technology and the new master s program, the faculty has had the opportunity to revise its curriculum in order to more efficiently and effectively cover the requite course content. This process is ongoing and is based on faculty assessment, assurance of learning outcomes, and stakeholder input, including students, advisory board members, and recruiting firms. Increased Alumni Participation Through a number of events, we have found that our alumni want to be involved and are valuable contributors in a number of areas, including monetary, curricular and placement. Therefore, we need to develop opportunities for them informally and formally. III. Degree Programs Included in the Accounting Maintenance Report This maintenance of accreditation review includes a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree with an emphasis in Accounting and the Master of Accounting (MAcc). The Accounting Emphasis and the MAcc are degrees designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in accounting. Currently, the undergraduate Accounting Emphasis includes a sufficient number of accounting and business courses to qualify students to sit for the CPA exam in Colorado, and/or enter graduate school, and then be licensed as a CPA in Colorado. However, as of July 1, 2015, the Colorado State Board of Accountancy rules will require that candidates for licensure have 150 credit hours for licensure. The MAcc Program, in conjunction with the Accounting Emphasis, has been designed to fulfill these new education requirements. No accounting program has been excluded from this maintenance of accreditation report. The Computer Information Systems program is included within the discussion of the College rather than as part of the Accounting Program. 10

11 IV. Progress Update on Areas of Concern During its 2007 maintenance visit, the MCB Accounting Program was put on Sixth Year Review primarily for deficiencies in its Assurance of Learning process. The Program faculty worked diligently over the next year to make progress towards correcting this deficiency. Based on the progress made, the AACSB International extended maintenance of accreditation for the Accounting Program. However, two standards were suggested by the accrediting team for incorporation into the Program s ongoing strategic planning initiatives: 1. Business Standard 4 relating to Strategic Management and Continuous Improvement Efforts While the program has made a strong start in this area, more could be done to demonstrate a thorough prioritization and strategic analysis of existing and emerging threats and opportunities. Moreover, the accounting program should demonstrate that it is functioning at a strategic level appropriate to a separately accredited program with its own mission and considering strategic issues in addition to those addressed by the MCB. 2. Business Standard 16: Accounting Standards 39 and 40 related to Assurance of Learning The program has experienced significant progress in its assurance of learning efforts. Subsequent annual reports should address the progress with assurance of learning including refinements of measurements and additional improvements in curriculum where indicated by assessment results. The accounting faculty has worked over the last four years to address both these issues in order to assure continued improvement in the Program. Strategic Management Strategically, the accounting faculty has moved to become strategically separate from the MCB while still completely supporting the College. The faculty has revised its Vision, Mission, and Values statements to more specifically identify its students, its focus and the processes for continuous improvement. These revisions also incorporate the new Masters in Accounting degree into the strategic plan. Additionally, the faculty revisited and refined its five strategic objectives used to guide decisions concerning student quality, curriculum currency, advising and placement, faculty recruitment and development, and professional relationships to support its Vision, Mission and Value. For example, based on the new education requirements for CPA licensure, the Accounting Program strategically focused on the opportunity to develop an excellent masters in accounting program to service its mainly Colorado students and to meet the needs of the firms hiring these students. Initiating a master s degree was necessary to continue to attract the high quality of students, faculty and recruiters the Program had enjoyed in the past. Curriculum was carefully developed to both continue the excellence already in the undergraduate-only program and improve in areas that are thought to be important for an accounting graduate such as good communications, critical thinking and ethical behavior. A more thorough discussion of our 11

12 strategic management process may be found in the next section Section V. Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Objectives. Assurance of Learning Continuous improvement through the information gained through the assurance of learning process is an integral part of the accounting program. Prior to our last review, the faculty developed the goals and objectives for the undergraduate program along with an implementation plan for assessment. For the undergraduate program, the last four years have been spent refining our assessment instruments and evaluation process, and the deciding on and implementing changes necessary to address those weakness found. For the majority of objectives, the process has been in place for up to four years and much has been learned from the assessments. For example, the assessment of critical thinking, oral and written communication and ethical reasoning has been through four iterations. Based on the findings, the curriculum was changed several times to test the efficiency of different levels of instruction. Based on the findings, a stand-alone integrated graduate course in accounting communications is now required. Additionally, the faculty is beginning to work on a writing assignment template that can be adapted for writing assignments required in different accounting courses. Additionally, assurance of learning has been a major focus in the development of our graduate program. Both the undergraduate and the graduate assurance of learning processes are explained in more detail in Section VIII: Accounting Program s Assessment of Learning Process. V. Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Objectives Statements The strategic improvement process is driven by our teaching- and applied-focused mission, vision, and objectives as outlined above. Working within the larger confines of and supporting both the University and MCB overall missions, the Accounting Program is accredited separately and thus separately develops its own vision and values statement along with its own strategic goals to accomplish its mission. Strategically the Chair and faculty of the accounting program continually seek ways to improve the program for students, alumni, and other stakeholders, including those who hire our graduates. The Accounting Program, as one of the six emphasis areas within the Monfort College of Business (MCB), supports both the University of Northern Colorado and the MCB in their responsibilities as designated by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and in their respective missions as decided by faculty. In addition, because the Program strategically operates as a separate program, the Accounting Program puts forth the following Vision, Mission, Value and Strategic Objectives in order to serve specifically its stakeholders efficiently and effectively. (These statements are also available online at Our Vision is to provide an excellent accounting education that prepares our students to have successful accounting related careers. Our three-pronged Mission is to 12

13 First, provide excellent accounting education with a strong undergraduate foundation and a focused graduate program that prepares primarily our state-wide residents for successful careers and responsible global citizenship. Second, conduct and publish research that enriches accounting practice and education thus enhancing our teaching and the profession. Third, benefit the accounting profession, our community, and other stakeholders locally, regionally, and nationally by participation in and service to both professional and community organizations through membership and leadership. We Value: currency of curriculum a safe and challenging learning environment creative problem solving and diverse thinking effective professional communication skills ethical and community awareness career and academic advising independent and lifelong learning student placement in entry level accounting positions professional relationships and networking Additionally, the Accounting Program identified the following five Strategic Objectives, which are consistent with MCB s strategic objectives and enable the Program to fulfill its mission effectively and efficiently. 1. Attract and retain high-quality students. 2. Enhance the quality and currency of our curriculum, thus allowing students to pursue a wide variety of accounting careers or enter graduate school. 3. Emphasize career advising and placement of students in entry level positions in the accounting field. 4. Enhance the strength of our accounting faculty by hiring and retaining faculty dedicated to honorably serving students and the accounting profession through teaching, research and service. 5. Build on the excellent foundation in place with accounting employers to expand and develop more regional professional and employment relationships within the accounting profession. Strategic Management Planning Process and Outcomes The accounting faculty reviews its mission, vision, and values objectives each fall semester in the backdrop of the University s and the College s mission and in consultation with the Accounting Advisory Board (AAB), College Curriculum Committee and the Dean. Then, based on these, the accounting faculty reviews the Program s strategic objectives. These objectives are the basis for decision making in all aspects of the program. Additionally, on a regular basis the faculty reviews its progress in meeting these objectives, again making changes when necessary for the good of the students and the program. This process is usually accomplished through faculty retreats. 13

14 Congruence of Accounting Program Mission with MCB and University Missions Over the last five years, the College has significantly changed its vision, mission, values and strategic objectives twice. As it specifically applies to the Accounting Program, the College included the MAcc program within its strategic plans. More recently, the College changed its statements to more specifically identify the students it serves along with research and service goals to support its teaching-focused mission. Consistent with the College s strategic review and the changing environment in the Accounting Program brought on by the launch of the MAcc program, the accounting faculty has rewritten the Program s vision, mission, values and strategic objectives to more accurately reflect the students it serves along with its other stakeholders and the research and service which support its teaching focused mission. Strategic Management Planning Process, Outcomes and Plans The following presents the Program s strategic objectives, summarizing the challenges and strengths and reviewing the Program s progress towards achieving its objectives. A table summarizing the Program s strategic management objectives measurements, outcomes and plans are presented in Appendix A: Strategic Plan Matrix. Objective 1: Attract and Retain High Quality Students. The Accounting Undergraduate Program adheres to MCB s undergraduate admittance requirements of a 3.00 GPA for automatic admittance to the Accounting Program. Students with between a 2.99 and 2.75 may be admitted provisionally and are tracked to ensure they are able to perform at the academic standards required. During fall 2011 the average accounting student entered the University with a 3.52 high school GPA and an ACT-C score of These scores are slightly higher than fall 2010 of 3.48 and 23.3 respectively. Over the last five years, the undergraduate posted an average GPA of The two-year average GPA for graduate students was Ninety-eight percent were considered to be in academic good standing. Accounting seniors consistently score in the 95 th percentile on the ETS field exam overall and on the accounting section of the exam. The exam showed the accounting seniors scoring in the 99 th percentile. Although the faculty do not teach to the exam, the students pass the CPA Uniform Exam at rates comparable with nationwide pass rates for students without an advanced degree. To encourage student to take the exam and to help offset its cost, the Accounting Program awards students $200 for each section passed within 18 months of graduation. Over the last three years, approximately $24,000 has been awarded. An increase in enrollment is a positive trend for the Program likely brought on by the strong opportunities for employment even in this unstable economic environment. Additionally, the initiation of the MAcc program makes the MCB program more complete in terms of curriculum and Colorado CPA licensure requirements. Since most of our students are from the region and all the major Colorado universities are raising tuition, we expect that undergraduate enrollment will remain stable and the MAcc enrollment to increase, meeting our goal of 30 students by fall We are, however, committed to keeping our class sizes small, and our strong relations with the individual students strong. 14

15 A major threat to attracting high quality students is the spiraling cost of higher education in Colorado. The Program faculty is well aware of this threat and has moved to raise more scholarship dollars as detailed in the Financial Strategies section of this report. Although a threat to enrollment, the faculty also sees this as an opportunity to provide more help to our students and to get even better acquainted with the current donors and the future donors. A major push over the next several years will be developing more and more generous sources for scholarships. Over the previous 4 years, the scholarships awarded had been relatively stable as shown in Table 3. However, scholarships awarded during the spring for the coming academic year increased more than 60%. This increase was due in part to funds generated during the Coors Event but was also due to the increased fundraising efforts of the accounting faculty and our advisory board. In addition to funds donated specifically for accounting scholarships by individuals and firms, the accounting faculty awarded this last year approximately $4,000 in scholarship from funds designated for its discretionary use. Table 3: Accounting Undergraduate Program Scholarship History Amounts Given $ 23,150 $ 22,925 $ 26,840 $ 24,340 $39,335 No. of Scholarships Additionally, the accounting program takes part in college-related efforts such as the Finley Scholarship Program to attract high-achieving incoming freshmen to MCB and Accounting Program. Additionally, every fall a Finley Scholarship and a matching Accounting Program funded scholarship are awarded to two seniors who serve as accounting tutors during the academic year. These scholarships are highly sought after because the students have found that those serving as tutors usually pass all four parts of the CPA exam on the first try. For the MAcc Program, the automatic admission requirements are a minimum GMAT score of 500 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. The admission process is subject to the approval of the MAcc program coordinator, the Accounting Program Chair and Deans of MCB and UNC s Graduate School. All students must maintain a 3.00 GPA during their graduate career. For the first year, the average entering GPA was 3.5 with an average GMAT of 508; the second year s average GMAT was 495. The first year s average graduate GPA was a 3.56; the second year s average GPA was This decrease is a trend that we will watch over the coming year. However, with no more data than we have after only two years, we prefer to wait until the MAcc has been in place for several more years before making any judgments or radical changes to the program based on only two years. In the MAcc program s second year, additional scholarships of $19,466 were awarded to graduate students. These funds were raised at the Coors Event, MCB s major fund raising event. This source of funding is expected to continue over the next few years. Also, Ron Reed, MAcc Coordinator, has requested additional funds for research assistantships from the UNC Graduate College. Generally, the Graduate College funds one assistantship a year for each graduate program. 15

16 Based on the most recent EBI data, accounting students are more than satisfied with a number of factors that the faculty believes help attract and retain high quality students including Size of Enrollments for Required and Major Courses, Student Organizations and Extracurricular Activities, and Characteristics of Fellow Classmates. Enrollment and Student Organizations ratings are slightly higher than the previous year, and the accounting students rating are among the highest, if not the highest, in the MCB and in all cases are higher than the comparative institutional groups. Objective 2: Enhance the Quality and Currency of our Curriculum, Thus Allowing Students to Pursue a Wide Variety of Accounting Careers or Enter Graduate School Keeping pace with the changing business, accounting, and technological environment is a real challenge. Every area in accounting has seen an explosion in information and standards over the last five years. Additionally Colorado s State Board of Accountancy recently introduced new requirements for state CPA licensure. Additionally, the Accounting Program s curriculum must work within Colorado s rule for delivering an undergraduate degree in 120 hours and, as with most other universities, with limited faculty. The accounting faculty has seen this as an opportunity to review the Program s curriculum in order to make it more efficient and effective. Each year the accounting faculty reviews the entire accounting curriculum. This process starts during fall semester and is completed to meet the University calendar for catalog changes in the spring. Based on the information gained from our assurance of learning process, our AAB, our alumni focus groups, discussions with recruiters and current students, and with the initiation of the MAcc program, the faculty continually assesses accounting curriculum to maintain its currency. At least two faculty review the course syllabus for each course. Suggested changes are then brought before the entire accounting faculty for discussion concerning the course content and its fit with the curriculum as a whole. All major course content changes are then approved by the accounting faculty and then sent to the MCB Curriculum Committee for approval before being included in the University catalog and in the standard course outlines. Additionally, faculty meets semi-annually with the AAB to discuss curriculum and areas of faculty and board member concerns. Our faculty is very dedicated to curriculum currency, and efforts have focused on two issues: assuring that the curriculum is current and that the delivery methods and sequencing ensures the effective and efficient use of the course hours. More specifically, over the past four years, along with the traditional discussion of undergraduate curriculum, the faculty has focused on the MAcc program s curriculum. The effort developed an efficient, effective, seamless undergraduate-graduate curriculum that supports the Accounting Program s mission. To accomplish this, a vast amount of information was gathered including curriculum from similar and aspirant U.S. programs, the expressed needs of our major recruiters and the AAB, the demographics of our current and anticipated students, the new Colorado requirements for CPA licensure, and published research and reports on the needs of the current and future entry-level professional accountant. 16

17 Some of the specific outcomes of this curriculum revision process are greater integration of technology, more emphasis on communication skills and critical thinking, inclusion of IGAAP in the financial courses, a spring internship, and accounting ethics as a standalone course. As of fall 2010, a more integrated approach to curriculum development was initiated. Faculty, through course assessments and content area review, identified weak areas in courses that might be better supported by more emphasis on similar content in a prerequisite course. For example, a weak area in Advanced Accounting was leases; therefore, in Intermediate II more emphasis is placed on leases from the perspective of the lessee and the lessor simultaneously. After discussing this idea further, the financial faculty is in the process of attempting to structure their courses so that more time is spent studying a financial transaction from both sides simultaneously such as with lessees and lessors or sales and purchases. The intent is to make the delivery of content more efficient and effective. This same integration is being used in the MAcc program with the graduate communication course. This is discussed more fully in Section VII. New Degree Programs. More recently, the faculty has begun to meet in the latter part of the fall semester to review the formal results of the ETS and the spring Assurance of Learning results. Based on this information, the faculty have time during the semester break to review their respective course content and make any necessary changes. The faculty then presents those changes at a faculty meeting early in the spring semester with follow up on how the previous spring changes affected the attainment of the respective objectives from any previous semester s curriculum changes. Currently, in addition to the 60 hours of Liberal Arts Core (LAC) credits, an accounting student must complete 30 hours in Business Core credits and 24 hours in accounting and two business electives. The required accounting courses are Intermediate I and II Income Tax I Accounting Ethics Auditing I Cost and Managerial Accounting Systems Advanced Accounting Accounting electives offered include Fraud Examination, Governmental and Institutional Accounting, and Income Tax II. Before the MAcc began, Auditing II and Accounting Theory and Research were offered, and accounting students were encouraged to take accounting courses as business electives. However, with the advent of the MAcc, Audit II and Accounting Theory and Research have not been offered and much of their curriculum has been incorporated into other courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. However, this reduction in the number of accounting offering no doubt accounts for the decrease in the EBI results for Factor 5: Breadth of the Curriculum 5.84 in 2011 and 5.47 in It will be interesting to have the results of this indicator after the MAcc has been in existence for several years since the breadth of the curriculum has increased significantly at that level. A more detailed discussion of the MAcc curriculum is presented in Section VII: New Degree Programs: Master of Accounting, and the syllabi for all courses are available on our webpage at 17

18 Objective 3: Emphasize Career Advising and Placement of Students in Entry Level Positions in the Accounting Field MCB has its own dedicated advising center directed by Mary Graves with support staff of one career counselor and one administrative assistant. Currently, the advising center advises all freshmen. However, the College advising plan, when the Center is fully staffed, is for a career counselor to serve incoming freshman, then follow the students through their sophomore year. Then, during the students junior and senior year, they will be advised by the faculty in their emphasis area. The MCB Advising Center does an excellent job of advising students in their freshman and sophomore years. However, the accounting faculty decided that because of our unique program with its licensure requirements, the MAcc, and the nature of our curriculum, including the formal spring internship program with the related spring short courses, we would like to continue advising our accounting students after their freshman year. We met with Mary Graves, and she agreed this arrangement would be expedient for all involved. Advising students well is a point of pride for the Accounting Program faculty. Based on the agreement outlined above, all accounting faculty now formally advise sophomore, junior and senior students about accounting and business courses before and during semester registration. This is a large time commitment, and all faculty are updated regular on University and College requirements by MCB Advising Center s staff, in order to be as efficient as possible. As students are admitted to the Accounting Program, they may choose a particular advisor, or they may be randomly assigned to an accounting faculty advisor. Traditionally, the faculty do much more than advise as to class schedules. Students are often in faculty offices gathering information on accounting careers, job placement, international experiences, CPA exam requirements, and CPA licensure. Additionally, beginning in spring 2012, the Program conducted a highly encouraged group advising session in order to advise students of upcoming changes in the Program and in the profession. Two sessions were conducted on different nights to accommodate as many students as possible. Approximately 85% of the accounting students attended and all faculty attended at least one session, and most were involved in the presentation. Afterwards the students evaluated the sessions, and the responses were very positive. Additionally, faculty were pleased with the sessions. Therefore, this advising session will become a part of our advising process. Accounting students satisfaction with their advising experience is consistently at the top of the College and is also above EBI s Carnegie Class and our Select Six. During , graduating accounting majors rated the accounting advisors at 5.66 on Advisor on the EBI UG Student Exit Survey. This year s rating was slightly higher than the previous year, hopefully because of the process changes made. The last several years have provided a challenging job placement market. Our accounting students have done very well in the job market. As reported earlier, our records indicate that 18

19 81% of the students who graduated in the academic year either have jobs or have been accepted to graduate school. The vast majority of these are working in the accounting field. During fall 2011, 23 companies recruited our students through the UNC Career Services, including two of the Big Four accounting firms along with regional and local accounting firms, corporations and government agencies. Over 235 interviews were conducted on campus with others conducted off campus. Additionally, smaller firms and businesses contact individual faculty to announce job openings. These opening are sent to career services, to students, and are posted on the Jobs Board in the accounting office. Meet the Firms, sponsored by Beta Alpha Psi, consistently draws a large group of employers and students every fall. In fall 2011, more than 29 local, regional and national employers were represented and more than 80 junior and seniors attended. Recruiter attendance has steadily increased over the last four years. Student satisfaction with placement is high: EBI factor Placement rates 5.86 for the current reporting year. The rating is significantly higher than any other emphases in the MCB and higher than our Select 6, the Carnegie Group or all those taking the survey. Objective 4: Enhance the Strength of Our Accounting Faulty by Hiring and Retaining Faculty Dedicated to Honorably Serving Students and the Accounting Profession through Teaching, Research and Service. The Accounting Program has maintained faculty depth through strong support from former Interim Dean Tim Jares, Dean Don Gudmundson, former Provost Abe Harraf and Interim Provost Robbyn Wacker. Hiring and retaining qualified faculty is always a challenge with the shortage of qualified candidates and the cuts in the State s budget to higher education. Additionally with the increasing number of students and the MAcc program, the time faculty have to spend on research is somewhat diminished. However, with the hiring of the new tax faculty, we should be fully staffed and thus able to ensure that the number of classes and the number of preparation are manageable. Additionally, the support of the College through its foundation funds remains strong. Four faculty have been hired for the Accounting Program since 2007, increasing the number of full-time faculty by one. Pat Seaton was hired as tenured-tract faculty, replacing retiring Teri Gutierrez. Bill Wilcox was hired in a new tenure-track position. Janel Greiman replaced Lori Milam. Brian Cathcart has been hired for the coming year to replace Christina Ritsema who replaced Beth Parish. Karen Turner was promoted to associate professor and tenured in Dr. Pat Seaton and Dr. Bill Wilcox are eligible for promotion and tenure during MCB s Policy governing Academic and Professional Qualifications is presented in Appendix B: MCB Academic and Professional Qualification Policy. All current faculty are academically or professionally qualified according to AACSB standards. Faculty qualifications and teaching loads are presented in Appendix C. Other faculty position changes include the Masters of Tax term position being upgraded to a tenure-track position and one new tenure-track position approved for fall In order to determine the specialty area needed to ensure program professional depth, the faculty reviewed 19

20 the current and future curriculum in light of the faculty coverage. Based on this strategic analysis, the faculty decided that the Accounting Program needs an academically qualified Ph.D. with expertise in tax. Based on this analysis and the funded positions, three faculty searches were initiated: two tenuretrack one for a masters of tax (M.T.) and one for a Ph.D. in tax and one full-time term position (non-tenure track). Dr. Ron Reed chaired a search committee consisting of two other members of the Accounting Program, an outside member from the MCB, and an EEOC member. Two of these searches were successful. Janel Greiman was hired for the tenure-track M.T. position, and Brian Cathcart was hired for the full-time term position. Unfortunately, though an offer was made, the tenure-track Ph.D. position was not filled, and the search will continue during the coming year. The accounting faculty continue to maintained profession depth through research productivity and faculty development. Over the last five years, the faculty have published 26 peer reviewed journal articles (PRJ) in a wide variety of journals. Following the Program s mission, the majority of all accounting faculty intellectual contributions are educationally oriented (55%) with contribution to practice (22%) and disciple-based (22%) research articles making up the other portions. This is a 44% increase over our AACSB reporting period. Additionally, the faculty are active in presenting their research at conferences both nationally and regionally. In all, 54 papers were presented over the last five years, with 46 other activities including papers written for professional organizations such as NASBA, a textbook and textbook support materials, research grants, working papers, and CPE seminars. Additionally, seven current faculty maintain their CPA certification or have applied for Colorado certificate. Non-accounting faculty teaching in the MAcc only are all AQ and add significantly to the referred articles and presentation. These faculty have a total of 19 PRJs and 46 presentations and 16 other activities. MCB offers several incentives to encourage research. For example, our last two tenure-track hires, Drs. Seaton and Wilcox, were awarded summer research grants of $3,000 a year for two years. Additionally, foundation awards are made for publications: $1,200 for a publication in a Program s Top Twenty Journal, $600 for publications in journals that meet the College criteria of double-blind reviewed with an acceptance rate of 40% or less as reported in Cabell s or those accepted by the Program. For a listing of all undergraduate and graduate faculty research activities and a listing of journals, along with additional faculty information, please see Appendix C: Faculty Qualifications. Full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty receive funding to support professional development activities. All new faculty receive $2,000 of MCB foundation funds, and in FYE 2007, each accounting faculty received $1,000 of externally donated funds. These funds may be used for any professional development activities, including technology, subscriptions, membership fees, continuing professional education, and travel. Since 2007, the accounting faculty has received over $40,000 in financial support, awards, and recognition from the College. The MCB Handbook describes activities eligible for College foundation funding. Additionally, each year 20

21 faculty are allocated state travel dollars and accounting program foundation funds based on availability. Although staying current and still having time for students and research, the EBI results suggest that we are meeting the challenge. For example, accounting students indicated for Major Courses: Quality of Faculty and Instruction, accounting students indicated a 4.92 which is the second highest in the MCB and higher than our external comparison groups. However, student assessment decreased significantly in the most current year. A more thorough analysis of the issue will be undertaken during the coming semester. For Major Faculty Responsiveness, the students rate the faculty at Additionally according to the EBI faculty survey, the faculty seems satisfied in the areas of faculty support (5.61); salary, promotion and tenure (5.41); and overall program effectiveness (5.52). These ratings were the highest among MCB programs and above our comparison groups and somewhat surprising given that faculty have not had raises in three years. Objective 5: Professional Relationships and Service The Department of the Treasury s ACAP report called for a closer alliance between academia and the accounting profession. Strategically, the faculty considers our long-standing alliance with the professional community a defining aspect of our Accounting Program. These relationships help build our reputation and our development abilities. The service opportunities are, of course, overwhelming. Internal and external committees and organizations with volunteer positions abound. However, again, because of class and research requirements, time is a factor because often these volunteer opportunities include heavy responsibilities. Nevertheless, these service opportunities are an essential part of what distinguishes UNC s Accounting Program from our competitors and are, therefore, highly valued and rewarded. Tenured and tenure-track faculty must serve on a University and College committee. Also, accounting faculty serve on various Program committees such as curriculum, scholarship and search. The Accounting Program also sponsors a very active student organization (PAA/BAP), with Allen McConnell as faculty sponsor. Additionally, service to the academic community is important for several reasons. Academically-focused service helps keep the faculty theoretically current in the classroom. Several faculty serve as reviewers for professional journals, and most are members of at least one academic organization such as AAA and AIS Educators. The Accounting faculty are required to be active in state and national professional organizations. For example, Allen McConnell serves on the CSCPA s Education Committee, Careers Committee, and its Leadership Council; and Ron Reed serves on the CSCPA Education Committee and has served as FEI s Denver chapter president. Karen Turner serves on the Colorado State Board of Accountancy and the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Additionally, faculty have offered several CPE courses for professional organizations in the region. More specific information about the 21

22 faculty s activities can be found in the curriculum vitae presented in Appendix D: Faculty Curriculum Vitae. Emphasis is placed on service for several reasons. For example, because it requires extensive networking with working accountants, including recruiters, we have a ready source of information about the most current educational needs in the profession such as technology and the extent of required IFRS education. Additionally, this interaction often involves discussion of applied research opportunities. This interaction also allows for numerous opportunities for the Program s students such as Meet the Firms recruiting night, speakers for the Professional Accounting Association and Beta Alpha Psi, and job opportunities in the region and nationally. VI. Financial Strategies Generally, the Accounting Program has two major financial needs. The more important is student scholarships, and the other is faculty recruitment and development. Generally student funding comes from three sources: the University, the College and the Accounting Program. Over the last five years the average funds contributed by each are $202,126, $113,351, and $162,172 respectively. Over this same time, these amounts have been relatively stable. However, because of the recent funding shortages from the State to the University and the resulting tuition increases, efforts have been stepped up by the College and the Accounting Program to fund more and larger scholarships. As mentioned before, a subcommittee made up of AAB members and Ron Reed have begun addressing this need through several fund raising projects such as the annual golf event which raised approximately $9000 this year, up from approximately $3,500 the year before. Privately donated funds available to fund student organizations amounted to $4,345. Other scholarship funding was presented in Table 3 above (page 15). Until spring 2010, funding for undergraduate scholarships was the focus. However, with the initiation of the MAcc program, more scholarship funding is needed to attract and retain these students. We have found that competition for graduate students is largely dependent of scholarships granted before admitted students will commit to enrolling in the graduate program. Fortunately, beginning in 2010, the MCB began its UNC Monfort College of Business All Star Celebration, an annual event held at Coors Field designed to raise funds for scholarships. The event is an invitation event largely attended by alumni and other supporters of the MCB. It is generously supported by Richard Monfort whose family endowed the MCB with $10.5 million ten years ago through the Monfort Family Foundation. Mr. Monfort is also owner of the Colorado Rockies whose home field is Coors Field. In 2010, the event raised approximately $100,000. These monies were earmarked for scholarship, with 15% being awarded to MAcc students. The 2011 event raised approximately $115,000 with the same 15% being awarded to MAcc students. The accounting undergraduate students will also share in these funds as part of the undergraduate student body. Additionally, the UNC Graduate School awards a graduate research assistantship for each graduate program. The graduate assistant will be assigned on a competitive basis to accounting graduate faculty to assist with academic research. 22

23 The second major financial need is faculty recruitment and development. Even with the cut in state funding and many cost reductions, the University has authorized the search and hire of a new tenure-track faculty for the Accounting Program. For faculty development, the Accounting Program is fortunate to have several sources of funding available. For graduate faculty, funds are available through SPARC to offset the cost of presentation travel, with additional funds available through the Graduate School. A third source is the MCB, and its support for faculty development remains strong. Since 2007, the accounting faculty has received approximately $37,300 in financial support, awards, and recognition from the College foundation funds. Much of this funding is based on the foundation awards discussed previously. This amount is a 12% increase over the previous five years. Another source of funding is from private donations to the Accounting Program designated for use as the faculty sees fit. Over the last five years, approximately $39,200 has been donated. Faculty have used these monies to fund research, employer recruiting events such as Meet the Firms and lunches with all recruiters that interview students through the UNC Career Service Office. Until this last year, these donations funded our students participation in Deloitte s Tax Competition and Beta Alpha Psi conferences. Approximately $13,000 of these funds designated for faculty use have been awarded as scholarships. The most ambitious funding raising effort in the last five years has been the Allen McConnell professorship announced at the MCB 40 th Anniversary Party held in Denver in Currently, $547, 231 has been pledged with approximately $311,265 received thus far. Former students created this professorship to recognize the countless contributions Allen McConnell has made over his 40-plus years of service to UNC, MCB and the Accounting and CIS Programs as a faculty member and often times chair of the Department. The professorship will be used to attract and retain an outstanding accounting scholar and teacher who is as dedicated to the students and the profession as is Professor McConnell. Complete funding of this chair is a priority for the accounting faculty, the AAB and the MCB development committee over the next year. VII. New Degree Programs: Master of Accounting (MAcc) Developing the MAcc program over the last several years has posed quite a time-consuming challenge. A major challenge was overcoming the undergraduate tradition that had defined the MCB over the last twenty years. However, when faced with the requirements of Colorado s CPA licensure requirements and the changing academic environment, the MCB faculty agreed that the graduate program was an opportunity to embrace change. Our first class of eight students has become sixteen for the academic year. The goal is to have an annual program of about thirty students, and we expect to achieve that goal during the academic year. 23

24 Development During our prior AACSB visit, the accounting accreditation team raised the obvious question as to why the MCB didn t have a master s degree in accounting and if were there plans to develop one. At the time, the accounting faculty was monitoring market needs as well as the movements at the State Board level concerning possible new education requirements. In 2009, the State Legislature passed a new law requiring CPA licensure applicants to have 150 hours of education by July 1, The legislature charged the Colorado State Board of Accountancy with making the rules governing the required coursework for these applicants. Even before this legislative change, the major Colorado accounting firms were moving towards hiring only accounting graduates with 150 hours because other states wouldn t let Colorado CPAs who did not meet the education requirements practice in their states. Therefore, local firms could not compete for work outside of the state. In 2008, the faculty, strongly believing the change was eminent, made a strategic decision to initiate the development of a master of accounting degree. In , the Accounting faculty gathered market data on a MAcc program and developed the degree program following the processes of the University and the Monfort College of Business. In late March 2010, the University of Northern Colorado s Board of Trustees approved the MAcc degree, and the Program began admitting our first students for fall 2010 classes. Current Master of Accounting Degree The Master of Accounting degree (MAcc) is designed to enhance the student s applied accounting research skills, communication skills, problem-solving capability, and other skills and knowledge required to be a successful professional accountant in public accounting, business, or government. The program is designed for students who desire to enter public or private accounting with plans to sit for the CPA exam. These students also want to be more competitive for higher level management positions as a result of the value added by a graduate degree. Additionally, completion of this program will satisfy Colorado s and most other state s 150-hour requirement for licensing as a CPA. The overall objectives for the program are to: Expand students knowledge base and understanding of business in order to better prepare them for an entry-level position in accounting and industry, Prepare students for a successful career in accounting including more career opportunities and quicker advancement, Adequately prepare them to pass the CPA Exam, Grant them the advanced graduate degree upon completing the program, and Give them the opportunity to become substantially equivalent in educational requirements with other states in order to make them more mobile with transferring their CPA license and practice capabilities. 24

25 Requirements to Complete a Master of Accounting (MAcc) Degree The MAcc degree would require that students complete a comprehensive examination after completing the following courses of 30 credit hours: BACS 500 Information Technology for Accounting Controls & Information Security (3) BAAC 521 Contemporary Issues in Financial Reporting Topics (3) BAAC 525 Contemporary Issues in Auditing Topics (3) BAAC 528 Contemporary Issues in Accounting Information Systems (3) BAAC 529 Contemporary Issues in Tax (3) BAAC 524 Professional Accounting Research and Communications (3) BAFN 532 Business Law (3) BAFN 670 Advanced Financial Management (3) Elective Graduate Management or Marketing course BAMG 554 Managing and Developing People (3) or BAMK 690 Marketing Management (3) Required accounting elective: must take one of these courses: BAAC 523 Cost and Managerial Accounting II (3) (dual numbered with BAAC 423) BAAC 527 Gov t & Institutional Accounting (3) (dual numbered with BAAC 427) BAAC 592 Professional Accounting Internship (3) or BAAC 622 Independent Research Directed Studies (3) Admission Requirements The MAcc program is mainly designed for continuing accounting undergraduate students wanting to obtain more accounting knowledge and skills. However, because of the increasing number of students without accounting and even business degrees, requirements for these students were also developed. Below is a description of the admissions for various candidates: Undergraduate Accounting Majors Admission into the MAcc program can be obtained in two methods, but both require the student to apply to the UNC Graduate School and be admitted into the MAcc Program: Method 1 Applicants with an undergraduate degree in accounting: Apply to the UNC Graduate School. The primary eligibility criteria for admission to the Monfort College of Business MAcc Program are previous academic achievement (GPA > 3.00/4.00) and performance on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), with a minimum score of 500. Method 2 Applicants in the process of a UNC undergraduate in accounting: If a senior with at least a 3.0, the applicant may take nine hours of 500 level courses. If the applicant receives a B or higher in those nine hours, he or she may apply for admission and will be considered based on his or her performance in those courses. While completing the nine hours, the student will apply for the graduate program. 25

26 Other Business Majors A non-accounting, business undergraduate major needs to take 18 hours of undergraduate accounting courses to be eligible for admission: two intermediate financial courses, cost/managerial accounting, auditing, tax, and accounting information systems. After completing the undergraduate accounting courses, the student may apply using Method 1 outline above. Non-Business Majors A non-business major will need to complete the above courses for non-accountants, and Business Finance, Legal Environment of Business, Business Statistics, Management of Organization, Marketing Principles, and Information Systems or equivalent business courses. After completing the undergraduate accounting and business courses, the student may apply using Method 1 outline above. The admission process into the MAcc program in the Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado is subject to the approval of the Coordinator of the MAcc program in consultation with the Chair of the Department of Accounting and Computer Information systems and the Dean of the Monfort College of Business and the Dean of the Graduate School, as well as meeting minimum admissions criteria. The number of students admitted to the program and the grade point average and GMAT score required for admission may vary from semester to semester depending on program capacity and qualifications of the pool of qualified applicants. The Coordinator may curtail admission, adjust requirements, and limit enrollment in the program because of space or budget restrictions. MAcc Assurance of Learning Assurance of Learning was included from the very beginnings in the MAcc degree plans. Since then, a more detailed plan has been implemented and is discussed in Section VIII: Accounting Program s Assurance of Learning Process beginning on page 35. Our First Year Our MAcc program was approved in late March We were able to promote our program and had eight students enroll for our first year of the program. At the end of the summer term, 2011, five students graduated. The course work outlined above was offered. The majority of the students chose BAAC 592- Professional Accounting Internship as their electives. Each of these students received offers from the firms for which they interned. Two students chose BAAC Independent Research Directed Studies. One of these students began developing a continuing case for use in the Accounting Program s undergraduate courses. This case is set to be tested in BAAC 320 Intermediate I fall 2012 with other modules being developed by a current graduate student. Another student, working with two accounting faculty, conducted research on the feasibility of solar power for home use. This paper was accepted for presentation at the University s Student Research Forum. 26

27 Our Second Year In our second year ( ), we admitted twelve new students, making the total enrollment of 15 students, approximately doubling the first year s enrollment. The increase in enrollment is expected to continue because of the increasing education requirements for licensure and the good prospects for accounting jobs even in this challenging environment. Several changes were made based on what we learned in our initial year, one in the internship program and one in the communications course. BAAC 592 Professional Accounting Internship Based on input from the students and the internship employers, the spring internship program has been moved back into the undergraduate program. Although the recruiting firms like the spring internship program, the workplace trend is to offer these spring internships in the students senior year. Then if the internship is successful, the firms make job offers with start dates the fall following graduate school. Information from both students and recruiters indicate that the spring internship are a much better experience than the summer internships because the majority of firms are using the students to help complete audits and tax returns rather than keeping them busy during the summer months which are some of the slowest in the profession. Additionally, input from the graduate students indicated that taking nine graduate hours during the shorter time frame was extremely difficult, and the firms prefer students in their senior year who are planning to attend graduate school. BAAC 524 Professional Accounting Research and Communications Increasing the students communication and research skills and their ethical awareness is a high priority for the program. Originally, a single course (BAAC 624) was designed to cover these topics and ethics at the graduate level. However, what the faculty found was that the research and technological skills had been introduced at the undergraduate level and could be honed in courses such as the graduate tax, financial, and AIS courses. Also, in part due to the State Board requirement for a three-hour accounting ethics course, a required undergraduate course (BAAC 424) was developed. Therefore, the original course was restructured to include only accounting communication. This course now is being offered in one-hour increments which are coordinated with the graduate courses being taught during a given semester. For example, in the fall, BAAC 529 (Tax Issues) and BACS 500 (Information Technology for Accounting Controls and Information Security) are offered. The BAAC 524 course instructs students on the rhetorical methods that are applicable to communications in these courses. VIII. Accounting Program s Assurance of Learning Process The accounting program assurance of learning (AOL) program continues development since our last maintenance of accreditation visit. We began offering a Masters in Accounting, so a portion of the AOL processes were focused on developing and testing appropriate measures and methods for that new degree program. Though in a constant state of change, we are using the results of 27

28 these AOL processes to evaluate our programs and fine tune the AOL processes to ensure a sustainable process of continuous improvement. This section provides first a process overview and then specifics for the undergraduate and graduate programs in the department. Process Overview Accounting program AOL processes are an extension and operationalization of our strategic planning results. In particular, we start with the program s Mission, Vision and Values and from these foundations we take the following steps: Evaluate, then adjust the program learning goals and objectives as necessary. Identify the best assessment processes for each learning objective. Select the appropriate venues and assessment method(s). Test and implement data gathering. Summarize data and discuss implications. Evaluate assessment findings. Revise program components and/or course objectives. Revise assessment processes, venues, and method(s). The Accounting Program has three levels of faculty-driven committees responsible for assurance of learning and curriculum design activities. These permanent committees are: Assurance of Learning Committee Content area curriculum committees (Financial, Tax, Auditing and Cost) Accounting Program Curriculum Committee The Assurance of Learning committee is responsible for coordinating AOL assessment and keeping records of all assessment activities. Each content area within the Program has a facultyrun curriculum committee made up of faculty teaching the course(s). These committees are responsible for the design of discipline-specific courses within the program and AOL direct assessment measures. All Accounting Program faculty are members of the Accounting Program s Curriculum Committee. This latter group is responsible for overseeing coordination between the content areas, final review of the AOL assessment measures and results, and the design of the accounting curriculum. Figure 1 presents an overview of the Accounting Program s general assessment process. Significant evaluations and adjustments of the process and its elements, including learning goals and objectives, are accomplished at Program retreats. Our most recent retreat was held in December We revisit these items whenever adjustments to our Mission, Vision and Values are made, or bi-annually, whichever is sooner. Undergraduate Assurance of Learning Development The Accounting Program first developed its unique set of undergraduate learning goals and objectives for the undergraduate program in Since that time, it has continued to evaluate that relevance of those goals on an annual basis. Over the last six years, while the goals have remained constant, the objectives have been simplified and made more specific. For example, 28

29 the 2006 goals had six goals and eleven learning objectives. Currently, while the programs still has six learning goals, the number of learning objectives has been simplified to nine. Learning goals include general business knowledge, effective communication, conceptual and analytical skills, technology skills, accounting ethics, and a broad understanding of key accounting concepts. These learning goals and objectives are presented in Table 4. We include these goals and objectives in UNC s Undergraduate Catalog every year and in all accounting course syllabi to bring attention to and to increase awareness of the Program s goals and objectives among current and prospective students and faculty. Figure 1: The MCB Accounting Program s General Assessment Process 29

30 Table 4: Accounting Program Learning Goals and Objectives Accounting Program Accounting Program Learning Objectives Learning Goals 1 Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in major business disciplines 2 Demonstrate effective communication skills 3 Demonstrate conceptual and analytical skills 4 Demonstrate technology skills 5 Demonstrate knowledge of accounting ethics concepts 6 Demonstrate knowledge of key accounting concepts Students will score at the 80th percentile or higher on each section of the ETS Major Field Test. Students will demonstrate competency in preparing and delivering professional quality presentations on various accounting topics. Students will demonstrate competency in preparing professional accounting documents. Students will analyze accounting data/information to identify key accounting issues, generate and evaluate appropriate alternatives, and propose feasible accounting alternatives at a competent level. Students will demonstrate competence in business software packages to solve accounting problems. Students will demonstrate competency in the use of professional accounting software such as ACS, ACL, RIA's Checkpoint and a general ledger package. Students will demonstrate competency on course-embedded ethics and social responsibility assessments. Students will competently identify the ethical issues or problems in an accounting case based on the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct and the Colorado State Board of Accountancy's Rules of Professional Conduct, analyze the consequences for various stakeholders and develop an acceptable resolution. Students will demonstrate competency on test questions specifically tied to individual course objectives (as outlined on course syllabi). Implementation Since AoL s inception, Objective 1 (Business Knowledge) has been assessed in the MCB s senior capstone course BMGT 456 (Strategic Management) using the Educational Testing Service s (ETS) Major Field Test. Assessment of Objectives 2 (Communications), 3 (Analytical Skills), and 5 (Ethics) took place annually in BAAC 420 (Accounting Theory) until the graduate program began in These objectives are now assessed in BAAC 424 (Accounting Ethics) beginning in the spring The assessment of Objective 4 (Technology) is spread over several courses based on the content of those courses. Assessment of Objective 6 (Accounting Knowledge) has taken place annually in all content areas of accounting including financial, tax, audit, and cost with specified questions on either chapter or final exams. The implementation schedule which also includes the assessment assignments and assessments tools is presented in Appendix E: Undergraduate Assurance of Learning. 30

31 Assessment Results The majority of the objectives are assessed in the spring with the exception of Objective 4 (Technology) which is assessed in the fall and Objective 1 (Business Knowledge) which is assessed every semester. For the more subjective assessments of Objectives 2, 3, and 5, the faculty developed rubrics to assess the student s written and oral communications skills and analytical skills, along with their knowledge of ethical issues. For Objective 4, technology, the faculty developed assessment projects. As indicated above, Objective 6 assessment is accomplished using objective type questions either in chapter exams or in final exams. For examples of the assessment instruments, please see Appendix E. Table 5 presents the results of our assessments by learning goals for the last five years. Percentile measures are used where scores are externally benchmarked (ETS). The MCB computer proficiency exams are required through prerequisites and have minimum passing score of 80%. Where we use rubrics, acceptable levels of performance are tailored to the task, but predefined. For subject area exams, we used an average of 75% to coincide with the CPA exam s passing score. Assessment rubrics and the evaluation processes for the technical accounting software use are currently in development. For some software (RIA), a series of test questions were piloted spring If this pilot test is successful, we are considering using test questions as the means of assessment as that approach has proven much less cumbersome. Program goals in general business knowledge, general ethics concepts, and oral presentations on accounting topics have been met. Although the data are not entirely complete, goals in financial and cost accounting subject areas are being met as well. Evaluation instruments have gone through at least one round of revision tied to adjustments in course learning objectives and changes in content such as with the inclusion of IFRS, so comparability across time may have been reduced. The benefit of this process is to gain confidence in the instrument being used and that we are measuring learning fairly. We are concerned about the results for written communication, critical thinking and subject results in tax, systems and audit. Turnover among instructors as well as differences in course focus have potentially contributed to the varied results. The BAAC 420, Research and Theory, has been replaced in the curriculum with BAAC 424, Accounting Ethics. This transition included a new instructor during academic year, with much less emphasis on the critical thinking and communications elements of the course. Also, our primary tax instructor has only recently returned to academe, and the assessment instrument used in that course needed revision. Evaluation of current issues in systems and audit are underway. 31

32 Table 5: Accounting Program Undergraduate Assessment Results - Fall 2007 through Spring 2012 AY Results Closing the Loop Activities Learning Goal Learning Objective Venue Quantitative Objective Program Changes Action Taken/Proposed Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in major business disciplines Students will score at the 80 th percentile or higher on each section of the ETS Major Field Test. BAMG th Percentile 99th 90th 95th 95th 95th No action deemed necessary (Test was revised in compromising comparability. Changed back in ) Continue monitoring Demonstrate effective communication skills Demonstrate conceptual and analytical skills Demonstrate technology skills Demonstrate knowledge of accounting ethics concepts Demonstrate knowledge of key accounting concepts Students will demonstrate competency in preparing and delivering professional quality presentations on various accounting topics. Students will demonstrate competency in preparing professional accounting documents. Students will analyze accounting data/information to identify key accounting issues, generate and evaluate appropriate alternatives, and propose feasible accounting alternatives at a competent level. Students will demonstrate competence in business software packages to solve accounting problems. Student will demonstrate competence in the use of professional accounting software such as Codification, ACL, RIA's Checkpoint and a general ledger package. Students will demonstrate competence on course-embedded ethics and social responsibility assessments. Students will competently identify the ethical issues or problems in an accounting case based on the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct and the Colorado State Board of Accountancy's Rules of Professional Conduct, analyze the consequences for various stakeholders and develop an acceptable resolution. Students will demonstrate competence on test questions specifically tied to accounting core course objectives (as outlined on course syllabi). BAAC % competent 81% 56% 83% Moved from Theory to Ethics Continue monitoring BAAC % competent 44% 61% 82% 59% BAAC % competent 34% 36% 88% 55% BAAC 323/328 Varied 80% competent 80% of students Excel 52% RIA 61% With phaseout of undergraudate Theory, emphasis on writing was reduced. With phaseout of undergraduate Research and Communications, emphasis on analytical skills was reduced. Excel skills often mentioned by employers as critical. Need to build in rubric grading for these projects, so conversion to rubric assessment is facilitated. Rubrics are difficult to apply across a spectrum of assignments and settings. Recommend and advocate for MCB Core Business Communications in keeping with coming CPA licensing requirements. Develop adaptible writing rubric for courses. Use decision model in more accounting core courses with emphasis on the process elements including identifying relevant facts and available alternatives. Excel rubric now in place. Emphasize Excel skills in Cost class. Further rubrics/test approaches under development - access rubric in testing Fall 2012 RIA test questions in place. Test questions need developed for other software uses. Build software use into the course objectives. BAMK 300 Score 75% 78% 80% 82% No action deemed necessary Continue to monitor BAAC % competent 29% 30% 77% No action deemed necessary The assignment needs to be more clearly associated to the professional ethics setting where professional standards of conduct would be the reference source rather than more general ethics settings (teleology, virtue, and utilitarian). Program Avg Score 75% Exam questions are continually assessed to ensure relevance Financial Intermediate I Current year dip in scores Continue to monitor performance to evaluate concepts statements emphasis and rearranging of topics. Less than goal Intermediate II None Much Less than goal Advanced None Monitor to assess drastic change in scores. Combined Cost None Tax None Accounting Systems Course broadened for 2012 Updated 7/16/2012 Audit Enhance course to focus on internal controls and system documentation 32

33 Closing the Loop A number of changes in the undergraduate program have been made recently. Some of these changes were due to outside forces including the implementation of the MAcc and the new Colorado 150 hours requirement for CPA licensure. Others were shaped by assessment results. In all cases, however, assessment results were a consideration in making changes. The results are brought back to the faculty each fall semester, and faculty use those results to make changes as needed for the next spring semester. These changes are then tested for effectiveness during or at the end of that spring semester. For example, early in the assessment process, a test bank of multiple choice questions was developed by the financial accounting faculty. These questions were used for two assessment cycles; then based on the results, several changes were made. First, changes were made to the test bank based on individual question analysis. Second, changes were made to the curriculum including reordering content in Intermediate I and II such as introducing the chapter on accounting changes and errors in Intermediate I and following through with the information throughout that course and Intermediate II. Additionally, based on the assessment results in Advanced Accounting, the Intermediate I and II faculty began putting more emphasis on both sides of financial transactions such as bonds receivable and payable and leases receivable and payable. In fact, the results have led to a concerted effort by the faculty as a whole to more carefully schedule course content to compliment course content in other course. For example, the timing for the presentation of tax deferrals in Intermediate II more closely follows the timing of similar information in the tax course rather than the presentation order of the intermediate textbook. Another major curriculum change came about not so much from direct assurance of learning measures, but more from feedback from students and recruiters. The spring internship is now being encouraged for senior rather than graduate students. Although this spring the number of for-credit undergraduate internships was not high, the faculty believes that in the future this will be the timing of the majority of internship. Additionally, nine hours of accounting courses will be offered each spring for the six weeks after the students return from their spring internships enabling the students to retain any financial aid that requires them to complete twelve semester hours and to stay on track for graduation within the typical four-year cycle. Although the formal communications course has been scheduled for the graduate program, our goal is to retain a significance accounting communications emphasis in our undergraduate program. It is clear from our assessment results in these areas that without specific attention and course material focused on these areas, our students will not achieve competence in these areas. We are, therefore, placing specific coverage of critical thinking and effective communications in the Ethics course reinforced with presentations and written accounting documents required in a number of other courses in the accounting curriculum and are working within the College to develop an upper-level business communication course. 33

34 Graduate Assurance of Learning Development Planning for Assurance of Learning process for the Masters of Accounting (MAcc) program began early in the MAcc s development. First, the learning goals and objectives were developed by the accounting faculty (presented in Table 6). Then the assessment implementation schedule was developed by the Curriculum Committee, and the processes are closely aligned with those of the undergraduate program. Table 6: Graduate Accounting Learning Goals and Objectives MCB MAcc Learning Goals Demonstrate conceptual and analytical skills. MCB MAcc Learning Objectives Students will analyze accounting data/information to identify key accounting issues, generate and evaluate appropriate alternatives, and propose feasible accounting alternatives at a proficient level. Plan and conduct practiceoriented research to answer/solve accounting issues. Communicate complex accounting issues orally and in writing. Appropriately use technology to gain knowledge of complex accounting information and apply that knowledge to new contexts and situations. Students will demonstrate proficiency in conducting practiceoriented research. Students will demonstrate proficiency in preparing and delivering professional quality presentations on various accounting topics. Students will demonstrate proficiency in preparing professional accounting documents. Students will appropriately use the correct technology to solve complex accounting issues. Recognize and analyze ethical issues in accounting and business practice, and develop a defensible solution based on applicable codes of conduct. Students will proficiently identify the ethical issues or problems in an accounting case based on codes of professional conduct, analyze the consequences for various stakeholders and develop a justifiable resolution. Learning goals include conceptual and analytical skills, research skills, communication skills, technology skills, and accounting ethics. Learning objectives bridge the gap between the goals and what we expect of our students. These include analysis of accounting issues/problems, practice oriented research, oral and written presentations on accounting topics, use of general and accounting software, and accounting ethics issues. These goals and objectives are closely aligned with undergraduate goals and objectives, but emphasize proficiency rather than competence as our expectation. 34

35 We include these goals and objectives in course catalogs and course syllabi to bring attention and to increase awareness of the program s goals and objectives among current and prospective students and faculty. Implementation The assurance of learning assessment began spring 2011 with graduate students oral presentation skills. The graduate implementation plan which details our quantitative objectives, the method used to evaluate the learning objective, and the venue is presented in Appendix F: Graduate Assurance of Learning. The majority of the preliminary assessments used came from comprehensive written exams graduate students completed before graduation. The comprehensive exams are administered in the students final semester and are evaluated by a panel of graduate faculty. The faculty have developed rubrics for assessment purposes. Sample assessment questions and assessment rubrics are presented in Appendix F. Assessments are in place for conceptual and analytical thinking, oral and written communications, and ethics. These have been taken from comprehensive examinations (in 2011) and a case from BAAC 525 Contemporary Issues in Auditing (in 2012). In the future, the faculty is planning an assessment process based on a portfolio of assignments students have completed over the course of their graduate program. Blackboard, our e-education platform, is used to store student work completed during the program. Based on a selection of this class work, the students will be assessed using faculty-developed rubrics based on the MAcc Program s learning goals and objectives. Assessment Results For this assessment, we asked members of our program advisory board to attend and provide feedback regarding the graduate students oral communication skills. We had five advisory board members assist in this task. The results are presented in Figure 2. These results are considered preliminary as we have a new program and are continuing to adjust our curriculum and our assessment measures. As a base line, however, we do have concerns that our students fall short of goals. Table 7 provides a summary of the assessment results. 35

36 Figure 2: Graduate Oral Communications Skills Assessment 36

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