Spotlight on Teaching

June 8, 2012

AKCPA: Spotlight on Teaching

July 30 – August 1, 2012

The Accounting Bridge Project is Coming to Alaska

The “Accounting Pilot and Bridge Project” will be presented to Alaska high school teachers at a special workshop co-hosted by UAA’s Accounting Department and UAF’s Accounting Program. The workshop will be taught in July at the Center for Economic Education in UAA’s Rasumson Hall and will be taught by Dr. Dan Deines, Professor of Accounting at Kansas State University. UAA and UAF are collaborating to bring this workshop to Alaska in an effort to transform high school accounting courses into exciting experiences that will attract the best and brightest high school students to the accounting profession. Through participation in this workshop, high school teachers will be equipped to teach a path-breaking high school accounting course which is hoped to be the first step in a multi-phase effort to advance accounting and business curriculums in high schools throughout Alaska.

Kansas State University developed the “Accounting Pilot and Bridge Project” to address the lack of Advanced Placement (AP) courses in accounting and business. This deficiency represents a systemic barrier to attracting top students to accounting and business fields. In contrast, the AP courses in science are voluminous and enable high school students to acquire a meaningful exposure to a variety of science-related disciplines during high school.

More than 50 percent of CPAs in practice are expected to retire in the next decade. Since demographic data indicate the number of high school graduates will decline during the next ten years, accounting will need to attract a larger percentage of these students in an intense competition with the other professions. However, without an AP accounting course the profession faces a significant obstacle. The problem is exacerbated by traditional high school accounting courses that are generally outdated vocational courses are unattractive to students seeking challenge and
excitement when choosing a career.

Fortunately, KSU recognized the structural impediment to the profession in the educational supply chain over a decade ago and took proactive action to attract more qualified students into accounting.  KSU modeled the Accounting Pilot and Bridge Course after the College Board’s AP format that includes rigorous content and college credit for students that pass a qualifying exam. Instead of a procedural orientation, the Accounting Bridge Course emphasizes a user approach where students are immersed in business settings and required to use accounting information to make diverse business and investment decisions.  Students quickly learn the value of accounting and the information it provides in this rich decision context. While traditional accounting procedures are still taught, they are not the central focus of this new course. Rather students discover the value of accounting as a higher-level language of business.

The Accounting Bridge course helps the brightest students experience the challenge and excitement that awaits those who choose a career in accounting. Since KSU is preparing to submit a formal request to the College Board to add an AP Accounting course, this is an ideal opportunity for Alaska’s schools to participate in the Accounting Pilot and Bridge Project workshop.

UAA and UAF accounting faculty view sponsorship of the KSU workshop as a crucial initial step to increasing student enrollment in accounting throughout Alaska. To encourage the greatest participation in the workshop, the three day event is being made available at no cost to all Alaska high school accounting/business teachers. In addition, financial support is available to mitigate travel costs for teachers attending from outside of the Anchorage area. Following the workshop UAA and UAF will work with various accounting professional organizations throughout Alaska to support and encourage the adoption of the Accounting Pilot & Bridge Course in Alaska’s high schools.

For registration and more information, visit

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