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Source: Dan Deines, 785-532-6038, ddeines@k-state.edu
http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/deinesbio.html
Pronouncer: Deines is Dine-es
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-2535.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-2535, kmayes@k-state.edu

Friday, June 11, 2010

PROFESSOR PUMPING UP K-STATE'S ACCOUNTING PROGRAM AND THE PROFESSION BY PROMOTING BETTER HIGH SCHOOL COURSES

MANHATTAN -- Accounting is a dynamic profession that many believe is boring, rigid and uninteresting, according to Kansas State University accounting professor Dan Deines.

That negative stereotype, he said, has a lot to do with why high school students aren't properly introduced to the profession. The other part of the equation is the poor accounting curriculum found in high schools across the nation.

That's why Deines is spearheading a national effort to bring the nation's high school accounting curriculum up-to-date, so that prospective students get a real taste of what accounting might hold for them professionally.

"What we are trying to do is create a class that realistically captures the important work of accountants and that portrays accounting as a profession with great personal and professional opportunities," Deines said.

The effort began when Glenda Eichman, a K-State alum and accounting teacher at Manhattan High School, came to Deines to find out why her students couldn't earn academic credit from K-State. The answer had to do with the quality of the high school accounting class.

Deines decided to develop an advanced placement course to encourage college-bound students to consider accounting as a profession. He had found that most high school accounting classes were part of an outdated vocational curriculum and that college preparatory students were dissuaded from taking the class.

"The image is that if you are in that class, you are really not very bright," Deines said. "Or if you are bright and in there, you have some personal connection, like your Dad might be a certified public accountant."

When Deines contacted the College Board about starting an advanced placement accounting course, he was told that there was a moratorium on new courses. But he got the board to agree to consider a pilot accounting course.

Deines and Joseph Bittner, an accounting instructor at the University of Connecticut, began developing a rigorous, accounting curriculum that demonstrated how exciting accounting can be.

Bittner has been a certified public accountant and has taught accounting at both the collegiate and high school levels, which gives him a good sense of how best to bring the high school and college curricula together.

"Accounting is so much more than recording transactions and preparing financial reports," Bittner said. "If you look at the students who are taking accounting at the high school level, they aren't being exposed to what the profession is and what it entails. Those students who are high academic achievers never consider it as major or a career.

"Once we put accounting in the perspective of how a business operates, however, we pique students' interest," he said.

The course's purpose is to interest and prepare students for college-level accounting and attach some college credit, Deines said.

"The course we teach these kids is really difficult," he said. "If you take this course and you pass the qualifying test, then you come to K-State and we will give you a grade in the first accounting course, and you can take the second accounting course as a first-semester freshman."

If a student is really on top of things, he or she can take the second course via distance education. They then have two college courses under their belt from K-State, the credits for which can be transferred to other universities, Deines said.

"This is a huge difference because now you can spread that curriculum out over four years," Deines said. "That opens up opportunities like internships and travel abroad."

From June 7 through July 28, Deines and a handful of other certified trainers are taking the curriculum to as many as 500 teachers across the nation. Training sessions are taking place in Kansas City, Mo.; Chicago, Ill.; Brookfield, Wis.; Hempstead, N.Y.; Atlanta, Ga.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Doylestown, Pa.; and Worcester, Mass.

Deines also is working to get universities in Kansas and across the nation to agree to take credits resulting from the course. In Kansas, Wichita State University has signed on and other schools have expressed an interest.

Across the U.S. 35 schools have fully implemented the course and about 50 have done so partially. By the end of the summer, the program will be present in around 40 states, Deines said.