BBA, MS, Texas Tech University; PhD, Oklahoma University
Students often approach accounting with the misguided ideas that 1) the practice of accounting is just a good way to get a job, and 2) in accounting there is always a single best answer for any problem. Instead I get to introduce students to a profession dedicated to serving the public interest above its own and a complex, intricate system that challenges them to solve problems, communicate complicated ideas and behave ethically in situations where the ‘right thing to do’ may be hard to identify.
Anyone who has ever completed Intermediate Accounting can tell you that learning the rules of accounting is serious work. But, being a skilled technician is not the end goal – I want students to make learned and thoughtful contributions to the business and nonprofit communities they serve. To do so, they must certainly understand the rules, but they also need to comprehend the politics involved in making accounting or auditing policy, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of current accounting guidance and practice the interpersonal skills required of a successful accountant. So, in my classes, it’s not uncommon for students to role-play the needs of various financial statement users as difficult information is communicated. They play games like Monopoly or Bingo to demonstrate the ambiguities of accounting guidance. Sometimes they are asked to navigate their way through a real example of fraud or accounting failure to obtain a better outcome. These activities take students beyond ‘debit-left, credit-right’ and help them see the discipline as something more than a way to a steady job and develop a keen sense of commitment to using accounting to serve the public interest.
Dr. Burke is an active scholar co-authoring five continuing education courses offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and numerous articles published in prestigious academic journals. For her dedication to teaching, Dr. Burke has been recognized as the Mississippi Professor of the Year by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Distinguished Professor from Millsaps College, and Outstanding Educator by the Mississippi Society of CPAs.