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CBE course wins national award for innovation

Parveen P. Gupta

Parveen P. Gupta, the Frank L. Magee Professor of Accounting, will receive the highly prestigious Innovation in Accounting Education Award from the American Accounting Association for his “Corporate Governance and Business Risk” course.

The award—which is intended to encourage innovation and improvement in accounting education, recognizing significant programmatic changes or a significant activity, concept, or set of materials—will be presented at the national organization’s annual meeting Aug. 7-10 at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco.

“Winning this award means a great deal to me because of the caliber of people that have won it in the past and because the course was chosen by my peers in the accounting education field,” Gupta says. “It illustrates that we are providing accounting students here at Lehigh University a truly state-of-the-art education in the most innovative of ways.”

Select company

“This award is a significant tribute to Professor Gupta, who is an outstanding instructor,” says Tom Hyclak, interim dean of the College of Business and Economics. “It is also a tribute to the CBE faculty in general. We take our teaching responsibilities very seriously and work diligently to ensure that our courses are technically superior and managerially relevant.”

By capturing the Innovation in Accounting Education Award, Gupta joins a select list of the country’s finest business minds. Among the past winners of the award are Robin Cooper from Emory University; James K. Loebbecke, a retired professor from the University of Utah; Gary L. Holstrum, associate chief auditor and director of research at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB); Andrew Bailey, Jr., the deputy chief accountant, Office of the Chief Accountant, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington, D.C.; and Karen Pincus, the accounting department chairwoman at the University of Arkansas.

“The MS in Accounting Program, now starting its fifth year, enjoys tremendous success due to the combination of a strong curriculum, outstanding faculty and talented students,” says Kenneth Sinclair, professor and chair of accounting. “Professor Gupta’s innovative course ensures that students are knowledgeable in various emerging issues relating to corporate governance and risk management, including ethical dilemmas facing a professional, how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act impacts the management of risk and control, and the importance of aligning CEO compensation to firm performance and the role stock options play in this process.”

Each fall, about 30 students working toward their master’s degree in accounting take Gupta’s course. The students learn the latest tricks of the trade by performing real-life written and video case study analyses, taking part in role playing exercises and experiential field projects, and by using anonymous consensus building tools and listening to expert guest speakers. Then, the students have the unique opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom by working with a real company located within Lehigh Valley on a team project.

Each summer before the class begins, Gupta collaborates with the Lehigh University Small Business Development Center and finds small- to medium-sized companies to volunteer for the project. Gupta lands seven or eight companies for each class—which allows groups of three or four students to visit and act as Risk Assessment consultants for these companies.

A dedicated teacher and innovative professor

In great detail, Gupta’s students map out the potential business risks that a company faces given its industry and current competitive environment and then the student team presents its solution regarding how these potential problems should be handled. To date, more than 30 different companies—mostly locally based—have partnered with Gupta in this innovative class in which the final report is presented to Gupta and the key decision-makers at the assigned company.

“Students gain practical work experience by conducting a real-world Business Risk Assessment project,” Sinclair says. “It is this type of course that explains why Lehigh’s Accounting Department is a key source of new professionals for Big Four public accounting firms and many global and financial firms.”

Katie Arscott, who graduated with her master’s in accounting this past spring and will begin working for accounting giant Deloitte & Touché in mid-August, agrees.

“Professor Gupta is one of the most dedicated teachers that I've ever had. He really deserves that award,” Arscott says. “He really cares about each of his students and he has a gift for preparing his students for the real world. In addition to the team project where you get to work in a real-world setting, he always had us reading and analyzing the latest news in accounting. I left that class feeling that I had a really clear understanding of what's going on today in the accounting profession.

“He truly is an innovative professor.”

--Bill Doherty

Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2005

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