OSCPA member wins AICPA teaching award

Written on Dec 21, 2017

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

Educators are always searching for ways to engage students with the classroom material. As an accounting professor of 17 years, Wendy Tietz, CPA, knows this challenge well.

Wendy_Tietz“If you teach financial accounting, one of the most important things to do is allow students to apply it to real life,” she said. “Because we can stand there all day and talk about ratios, but until they start making it their own it doesn’t mean much.”

A few years ago, to keep her students at Kent State University interested in class, Tietz asked them to compare two or more companies of their own choosing using 10-K forms to do a ratio analysis. As part of the assignment, she developed a generic set of questions that would work for any comparison.

The student response was positive, and Tietz continued to use the assignment and adjust it slightly each semester. Eventually she thought the process would be more valuable if she developed a tool that allowed her to enter custom information, making it applicable for different classes and other educators.

She then created accountingcasetemplate.com, a site that allows instructors to build custom assignments for the needs of their classes. The website, which went live in 2016, offers a list of options to choose from, such as what topics to cover and whether the educator wants to do oral or written presentations. Among the educators who have found the tool to be useful is her husband and fellow OSCPA member, Russ Tietz, CPA, assistant professor of economics, accounting and business administration at the University of Mount Union.

“After you make all these selections, which takes two or three minutes, you download a document you can use in your own class,” Wendy Tietz said. “That’s how it grew from an assignment I started to something I could share with others.”

Other educators weren’t the only ones who appreciated Tietz’s web tool; this fall she won the 2017 Bea Sanders/AICPA Innovation in Teaching Award for “innovative teaching practices in the first sequence of accounting.”

This is the second time she’s won this award; the first time was in 2014 for her blog “Accounting in the Headlines.” While the web tool is something Tietz said she “tinkers with once or twice a month,” she works on the blog every week. The blog posts use real-life examples from the news that are related to managerial or financial accounting and poses discussion questions for students.

“I have more than 200 blog posts now on a variety of topics,” she said. “It’s helped my teaching immensely because I always have a story from real life.”

Tietz said most of her students aren’t accounting majors, so she enjoys creating tools and content that help get them excited about the material.

“For students, I hope they see the real-life applicability of accounting. That it’s not abstract and that it does matter,” she said. “And for instructors I hope that it makes it easier to bring real life into the classroom.”

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