Strategic Plan

(Reviewed and Approved by the Faculty – April 30, 2013)

1.  To establish the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) program as a premier accounting master’s program in the Gulf South region.

A.Seek to increase the quantity of students in the program without sacrificing quality.
B.Replace the GMAT with the GRE as the requisite standardized test for admission into the program as the GRE is less expensive and more readily accessible to applicants. GMAT scores will continue to be accepted if so desired by the candidate.
C.

Improve applicants’ submitted GRE scores by encouraging them to prepare carefully for the exam rather than “taking it cold.”

D.

Encourage our own high quality undergraduate seniors to apply to the program.

E.Encourage high quality and diverse undergraduate seniors from other in-state and out-of-state institutions to apply to the program.
F.Increase enrollment of high quality students with undergraduate degrees outside of accounting by allowing students who meet specific GPA and GRE thresholds to enter the program after taking a reduced set of undergraduate prerequisite courses.
G.Obtain an out-of-state tuition waiver for students enrolling in the MPA program.
H.Increase the level of financial support provided to students in the form of assistantships and scholarships.
I.

Advertise the MPA program through media outlets in nearby metropolitan areas (e.g., Mobile, Jackson, New Orleans, etc.).

J.

Assist in the placement of MPA students in premier entry-level positions in public accounting and industry throughout the region and the nation.

K.

Continue to develop senior-year mini-term internship initiative so that a substantial number of incoming MPA students already have secured employment in premier entry-level positions in public accounting and industry.

L. Encourage MPA students to take their six hours of electives in the British Studies Abroad program and provide scholarship money to help defray the cost of the program.
M. Continue the MPA program’s reputation of rigorous, high-quality teaching and extensive interaction with students.
N. To help keep the curriculum current and ensure students are exposed to faculty with relevant practical experience, involve Professors of Practice in teaching MPA courses.
O.Solicit input from Accounting Advisory Board members on ways to continuously improve the quality of the MPA program.


2. To maintain a high-quality undergraduate (BSBA) program consistent with those of other respected accounting programs in the state and region.

A.Seek to improve the quality and diversity of incoming junior accounting majors through active recruitment efforts and the PACE exam.
B.Continue the program’s reputation of high-quality teaching
C.Encourage faculty to place a greater emphasis on service obligations requiring more time working with students (e.g., attendance and participation in BAP and Accounting Society functions, directing Honors students’ theses, preparing students for interviews, involvement in student placement, etc.).
D.To help faculty learn new and innovative teaching techniques, send at least one faculty member each year (on a rotating basis) to the Conference on Teaching and Learning in Accounting (CTLA), which is part of the annual AAA meeting.
E.Encourage faculty to adapt their teaching styles and skill sets to make continued improvements in the use of technology, both in the classroom and in assignments.
F.Ensure that all courses are enhancing not only the students’ technical accounting skills but also the professional competencies (e.g., analytical skills, research skills, communication skills, etc.) they will need to function in the work environment.
G.Develop a faculty internship program whereby faculty perform short summer internships with CPA firms so they can remain current in the knowledge and skills needed to prepare our students for successful careers as professional accountants.
 H. Replace retiring faculty who teach upper-level courses with a proper balance of Professors of Practice and PhDs.  Professors of Practice will further enhance the education of our students in terms of teaching them the skills needed to function in practice.
 I.Maintain appropriate rigor in upper-level accounting major courses to prepare qualified students for the intensity of the MPA program and the realities of the work environment.
 J. Encourage qualified students to participate in the senior-year mini-term internship initiative to increase the quality and quantity of employment opportunities for the students.
 K. Continue to support Beta Alpha Psi chapter in maintaining and enhancing the organization’s national recognition each year.
 L.Solicit input from Accounting Advisory Board members on ways to continuously improve the quality of the BSBA program.


3.  To continue and expand faculty commitment to publishing quality academic, professional, and pedagogical research in peer-reviewed journals to advance both the accounting profession and the teaching of accounting.

A.Strive to have all tenured and tenure-track faculty with Research Academics (RA) status.
B.Encourage faculty to apply for summer research grants awarded by the College.
C.

Encourage faculty to engage in short-term internships with CPA firms or other organizations as a means of staying abreast of current problems facing the profession (i.e., problems that potentially could be addressed through faculty research).

D.Use Professors of Practice to provide tenured and tenure-track faculty research ideas or topics that could benefit the profession.
E.

Establish a focus group of practitioners (e.g., perhaps members of the Accounting Advisory Board) whereby members of the group are asked to identify potential topics for faculty research.

F.Mentor untenured faculty to facilitate their publication efforts to attain tenure.
G. Encourage additional collaborative research among School faculty.
H.

Encourage additional research-related interaction and discussions among School faculty.

I.Maintain an active research workshop program for faculty.


4.  To continue and expand faculty outreach commitment to participating and assuming leadership roles in various academic and professional organizations; maintain an accounting faculty that possesses both a keen understanding of the accounting profession and close ties with accounting practices in the region.

A.Encourage faculty to take on leadership roles in academic and professional organizations.
B.

Encourage faculty to take advantage of School and College financial support to attend professional conferences and development activities.

C.

Reward faculty in various ways for substantial service commitments.

D.

Encourage faculty to invite practicing accountants to participate in their classes.

E.

Involve members of the Accounting Advisory Board and other practitioners in accounting/college program functions (e.g., BA 250 participation, BAP meetings, Meet the Firms Night, CoB Honors Banquet, etc.).

F.

Strive to bring in a high profile professional at least once a year to make a presentation to all accounting faculty and students.

G.Service professional groups with CPE programs when appropriate.
H.Strive to have all non-tenure track faculty with either Scholarly Practitioner (SP) or Teaching Practitioner (TP) status.
 I.Hire faculty (both tenure track and non-tenure track) with relevant professional experience in accounting, including those who also hold professional licensure or certification.