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[Riverside, California]  Top Management Degrees, a website devoted to providing information about B-Schools, on November 13, 2013, released its list of “50 Most Beautiful Business Schools in the World.”

Many top universities from around the world have their B-Schools recognized.  Pretty much, it is a Who’s Who of the world’s top B-schools.

However, a newcomer in more ways than one has topped the list at #1:

Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business
La Sierra University
Riverside, California, USA

The Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University is my new school.  This school term is my first at ZSB.  I’ve seem some of the most beautiful B-school buildings from around the world.  In my opinion, though, none can compare to ZSB.

It is stunning in its beauty, both inside and out.  Once the landscaped plantings start to flourish, it will be even more attractive.  I have great affinity for the palm trees in the spacious atrium.  Classrooms are well designed and helpful to instruction. In addition, my office with it’s awesome view and faux leather couch inspires both my students and self.

The new building at the Tom & Vi Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University

The dawn of a building–Tom & Vi Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University

Sunset at the Zapara School of Business

Sunset at the Zapara School of Business

Lighting up the evening skies at the Tom & Vi Zapara School of Business

Lighting up the evening skies at the Tom & Vi Zapara School of Business

Debit & credit – – David Albrecht


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From the AICPA:

AICPA Honors Annette Nellen
with Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award

Professor Annette Nellen, San Jose State University

Professor Annette Nellen, San Jose State University

Washington, D.C., Nov. 6, 2013 –Annette Nellen is the recipient of the 2013 Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the accounting profession in the area of taxation.  The award, given by the Tax Division of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), was presented today at the AICPA’s Fall Tax Division Meeting in National Harbor, Md.

Click here to read the press release in its entirety.

Professor Annette Nellen, San Jose State University, surely deserves this honor. Her views on taxation are widely disseminated–via more than 250 articles, numerous testimonials before government panels, on multiple web sites, and her blog21st Century Taxation.

I applaud the AICPA for exercising good judgment in assigning the award to Professor Nellen.

I congratulate Professor Nellen for accomplishing so very much in her special career.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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hetl_logoI am a member of the Higher Education Teaching & Learning (HETL) discussion group on LinkedIn.  It has nearly 30,000 members.  There is an associated formal academic group which supports two journals and a series of books.

The international membership of discussion group provides multiple perspectives to interesting topics.  I endorse it, and encourage all accounting professors to join both the discussion group and the organization.

Earlier tonight I received the following announcement from Patrick Blessinger:

Subject: HETL Selects New President for 2013-2104

Please join me in congratulating the new members of the HETL Board of Directors for 2013-2104. The new HETL President is Dr. John Anchan from Canadahttps://www.hetl.org/welcome-message/

Other new board members include Dr. Agata Stachowicz-Stanusch, Poland; Dr. Lesley Diack, UK; Dr. Dorothy Mpabanga, Botswana; Dr. Lorraine Stefani, New Zealand; and Dr. Evon Walters, USA. See https://www.hetl.org/leadership/

Our outgoing President, Dr. Charles Wankel, USA, implemented several new programs while serving as president during the 2012-2013 year. Under Dr. Wankel’s exemplary leadership, HETL created the Liaison group and added over 100 new liaisons from around the world; Dr. Wankel also served as the program co-chair for HETL’s inaugural conference, along with Melody Bowdon; and he co-edited several volumes on increasing student engagement and retentionhttps://www.hetl.org/hetl-books/

Posted By Patrick Blessinger

Congratulations to Charles Wankel for a job very well done as president of HETL. In one of his actions, I was appointed as HETL liaison to the accounting discipline.

Patrick Blessinger and Charles Wankel are true giants of the academic world. We are fortunate to benefit from their leadership in HETL.  I don’t know John Anchan, but I have every confidence he will grow HETL into an even more effective academic organization.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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hetl_logoI am a member of Higher Education Teaching & Learning (HETL).  I review for one of its journals, and I’m active on the HETL LinkedIn discussion group.  The discussion group has quickly grown to 30,000 members from its start about four years ago.  I recommend this group for all professors (the only people allowed to join).

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: 2014 HETL CONFERENCE

The International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL) invites you to submit a proposal for a presentation at its 2014 International Conference, to be held in Anchorage, in partnership with the University of Alaska Anchorage, May 31 – June 2, 2014. Please submit your proposal for a presentation before the July 26, 2013 deadline – go to
https://www.hetl.org/2014-anchorage-conference-submission-form/

The conference aims to review the impacts that digital, social and mobile media and networks are having on learning environments in higher education. Both scholarly and practice reports are invited. Participants will be from the gamut of academic disciplines across the arts, sciences, and professions, as well as from other administrative and staff functions delivering and supporting new technologies and approaches to learning.

It’s More Affordable than You May Think

The Anchorage area has many features that you will find interesting, including glaciers, majestic mountains, and a wide diversity of wildlife. The average June temperature is 16C/62F with sunny days. Airfare to Anchorage is more reasonably priced than we anticipated. For example, the conference organizers discovered by checking Kayak.com that roundtrip airfare from New York to Anchorage around the time of the conference might be about $350, from London $1000, and Tokyo $1100. The organizers anticipate that hundreds of rooms at the University of Alaska will be available for well under $100 as well as rooms at partnering hotels in Anchorage.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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After decades of observing people in academia, I’ve come to a few conclusions.  Two of these conclusions are: professors are smart people, and the gap is very narrow between smart people and those who aren’t.

Plenty of professors have smart phones. So, shouldn’t professors (especially accounting professors) be smart about smart phones?  No, not really.

Laurie Essig is an associate professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies at Middlebury College.  She notes an interesting professorial practice in “Profs Fail iEtiquette 101,” (in Chronicle of Higher Education, may require daily subscription to read).  

[H]alf of those academics I heard from admitted they sometimes use the devices during meetings. When asked why, they said they used them to read materials related to the meeting, but they also checked e-mail and Facebook, texted, tweeted, and read Web sites unrelated to the meeting. …

The academics surveyed said they multitask only when the meeting is big enough that no one notices, only when it’s a mindless task like deleting e-mails, only when the agenda item doesn’t relate to them, only when the meeting is stupid and pointless, only when they need to check on kids, and only when they really “needed to.”

We who rely on people listening to us no longer believe we have to listen when someone else is speaking.

Yeah, so what else is new.  Twenty some years ago at my first department faculty meeting, I was surprised when two of my colleagues brought a stack of papers to grade during the meeting.  Over the years, I’ve seen faculty members read newspapers, journal articles, knit, sleep and snore.  Bringing a laptop, tablet or smartphone on which to do work now seems to be accepted practice.  I’ve done it myself.

textingOn the other hand, professors seem incensed when students use smart phones in class.  I’ve been monitoring a LinkedIn discussion (on The Teaching Professor) about cell phone policies.  Some professors claim to have confiscated phones, kicked students out of class, and lowered a student’s grade, all for a student caught texting during class.

It seems that smart phones and professors are two terms that don’t fit together, an oxymoron of sorts.  Professors have dysfunctional emotional outbursts when catching someone texting during class, yet routinely break the same rules when in someone else’s meeting.  At least in this matter, professors aren’t so smart after all.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Changing With The Times

[Spartanburg, SC]  I am sitting in a USC Upstate computer lab as I write this.  Why?

My students are taking a test.  Instead of forcing them work everything by hand with a calculator, I’m letting them work any part of the test on a MS Excel spreadsheet.  When done, they can e-mail their file, and turn in anything they wrote by hand on the original test copy.

One of the courses I’m teaching this semester is Intermediate Accounting 2.  The focus of this course is on the right side of the balance sheet.  The first topics are accounting for loans and bonds.  I emphasize amortization tables to aid in generating numbers for financial statements.  I also emphasize using spreadsheets and good techniques (i.e., a diamond organization and using the round function).   So when it came time for the test, some students asked if they could work appropriate parts on a spreadsheet.

Concordia College students asked for the same accommodation a year ago.  Everyone there was happy with the experience, so I’m trying it again.

This is the first accounting or finance class in which my students get to use Excel.  Wow!  Very unfortunate, IMHO.

Professors need to adjust to the times.  I’ve been using spreadsheets in class since 1984 at Andrews University.  Why not emphasize them so much students will need them as an essential tool to take an exam.

Oh, I also have a series of spreadsheet assignments for each upper level accounting course I teach.  I’m the only accounting prof at my school to do so.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Nearly a month ago I was informed that my contract is not to be renewed at USC Upstate.  This puts me back in the job market for accounting professors, but at a time when most schools already have made their hiring decisions for next year.

Why am I departing USC Upstate?  No reason was given, but a sudden change in deans has brought in a dean who does not want to proceed with a strategic move incorporating social media.

I am saddened by the prospect of leaving USC Upstate, as I have grown to love the students.

Ideally, I would get hired by a school which is interested in (1) strengthening its brand through use of various social media platforms, and (2) emphasizing professional use of social media to its students.  And yes, continue to teach undergraduate accounting students.  Accounting faculty recruiting committees, though, are interested in ability to teach accounting and generate academic publications.

I would love to end up at a school that wants a social media enabled accounting professor.  It can be a non-tenure track position.  If you can suggest a school to which I can apply, please send me an e-mail (albrecht@profalbrecht.com).

For my qualifications, please read my C.V.

Debit and credit –  – David Albrecht

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MAS-aaa[New Orleans, LA] Today is Thursday, January 10, 2013.  I’m in New Orleans for a conference.

The Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association is holding its annual mid-year meeting.

The primary reason why academic organizations hold meetings is for professors to present papers.  The other reason why academic organizations hold meetings is provide a location for face to face networking.

I wonder if small academic conferences like this have outlived their usefulness.  Total attendance for this will be about 250, I think.  It is expensive to attend, ($1,300-1,600 depending on travel).  Can today’s world of digital communication and social media produce an acceptable on-line substitute?  I’m sure it can.

I am not a member of the Management Accounting section.  Twenty years ago, it was populated by researchers who focused on behavioral issues within businesses in a budgeting context.  Now, I’m not so sure.

Take a few minutes and go to this link to see the program for the current year.  Researchers have obviously moved on to different issues.  For the most part, however, I’m not sure these new issues are what I would recognize as Management Accounting.  I’ll try to have someone explain it to me at Friday’s luncheon.

Moreover, I’m not tempted to attend many of the the research presentations.  I’m here only to make a short presentation.

I’m presenting on Friday at 3:30 for 15 minutes.  I have created a simulation for students to compute their personal learning rate in an assembly or manufacturing context.  In my next blog post, I’ll write about what I presented.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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At first glance, this blog post appears to be fluff put forth to get a chuckle or laugh from you. There is a serious side to it, though.  Social media should be a subject of keen and intense interest for all financial professionals, be they out working or still at college.  Opinions, thoughts, ideas can go viral in this social media world.  Memes are one such channel for these opinions, thoughts and ideas.

In this blog post I exhibit a collection of memes on studying for tests.  Working professionals probably remember taking their own exams.  Current professors and students are now in crunch time just prior to final exams.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”  In 2012, many of us think of it as an image or video passed from one social media user to another.

The study of memes is important, because memes open a window into the popular culture.  Memes that spread quickly reveal what a large number of  people think or believe.

I am an accounting professor, and what students think is of interest to me.  I performed Google image searches on key words related to studying.  Google results are structured to reveal the most clicked on images first.  All images presented in this blog post are thought to be in the public domain.

Most of these memes convey what older generations have called gallows humor.  Those who are about to be hanged are somehow able to find humor in their situation.

A consistent theme running through the various memes is that studying is painful.

(more…)

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Flipping

It’s official, I’m a flipper. The Accounting Today commented on my work in flipping the classroom. I’ve been doing it for years, predating the 2007 figure in the image below. In this post, I explain what is flipping the classroom.

What is a flipper? I’m not talking about the dolphin named Flipper. Nor am I talking about a 1920s flapper, nor a basketball flopper.

In a flipped classroom, students study theory at home and come to class for the how-to. To give the students the theory (and the why), professors digitize their lectures (usually via video or audio). Students are supposed to study these.
Now to present an infographic by Knewton and Column Five Media that does a fine job of summarizing the approach.

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Flipping the classroom works well in college, and it works great in collegiate accounting courses. It is the foundation of my becoming a master teacher.

by David Albrecht

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Professors across the the country and around the world struggle with fighting student distraction in an age of BYOD (bring your own device).

In the following clip, a student goes retro in a very funny way.

I’m old enough to have been there and done that.

by David Albrecht

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Many of the business schools in the United States are accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).  Generally speaking, AACSB accreditation is dominated by larger B-schools who are able to attract doctorally trained business faculty.  I have been at AACSB schools for most of my career.

When B-schools are up for accreditation or renewal, one of the usual problem areas is assurance of learning.  An evaluation of assurance of learning addresses whether students learned what they were supposed to learn, and how well.  It is a problem area because no professor likes to do it, so most don’t.

Assurance of learning can take place at the program level or course level.  For accounting programs, many schools rely on the passage rate of their students on the CPA exam.  This of course is a very diffuse measure, as student performance on the CPA exam is affected by many factors other than what happens in a student’s recent course of study, and not necessarily by what happened in the students accounting school.

There are problems with an evaluation of assurance of learning at the course level, also.  One such problem is that learning for the long run is considered by some as a desirous goal.  But surveying students a few years after a course ends is difficult.  Perhaps because of the many problems, and because it is a lot of work, most professors do not generate an assessment of learning for their courses.  I think they should.  What follows is what I do.

I evaluate assurance of learning as I go along during a course.  My blog essay today is based on the assumption that my course is set up to teach what is supposed to be taught.  Although I’m not doing it here, evidence for this stage of the evaluation can be gathered from the course syllabus and its section on detailed course learning outcomes.

The basics of my evaluation of assurance of learning from within a course is to gather evidence of measurements (scores and/or grades) from summative tests and projects (after learning has taken place and where letter grades are assigned) to form an opinion as to whether student learning has taken place for each specific course learning objective.  Wow, that is a long sentence.

In the following report on my evaluation of assurance of learning for my recent cost accounting course, you can see how I’ve used numeric scores from each test question (or group of questions) to assess whether each course learning outcome has been satisfactorily met.

Albrecht Report on Evaluation of Assurance of Learning
for recent cost accounting test.

I will release the test with answers later today.

Of course, one might question what test question scores really mean.  Much of the time I log and count each different student answer, and list how many points were awarded for that answer.  Although I have not done it for this test (hey, I’m tired already), it is the only way of documenting what level of student performance has actually taken place on the test.  Rest assured, I have been doing it for years.  And, I don’t use multiple choice questions, only problems and questions requiring written answers.

You might ask, is all of this really necessary?  Well, such reports are in many ways like auditor work papers.  And yes, they are necessary.  But as I said, no professor likes to do it, and most professors don’t do it.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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