Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Business school ranks high in recent surveys

The University of Alabama’s undergraduate and masters accounting program was ranked eighth in the nation by “Public Accounting Report’s” 33rd Annual Professor’s Survey.

The new ranking jumped 15 spots since 2013, marking this the undergraduate program’s highest ever ranking. The Doctoral Program ranked 12th, and the program as a whole ranked second overall for a school of its size.

            Lisa McKinney, a lecturer in accounting, credits the recent ranking success to two main points.

            “Our research and our doctoral program are two of the leading factors in what contribute to a nation-wide perception of our program being great,” McKinney said.

She said the “Public Accounting Journal’s” Annual Professor Survey is an opinion poll, based on how professors across the nation perceive a program. Only individuals with an .edu email address are eligible to vote.

McKinney said the University of Alabama’s program won over so much support – enough that it ranked fifth on the list of “Undergraduate Accounting Programs Most Frequently Voted No. 1 by Professors at Other Schools.”

            “All of our tenured faculty and tenure track faculty are getting published in tier one and tier two accounting journals,” McKinney said. “Professors across the nation read these papers, which influences their voting. Then our doctoral students go out to other universities and vote for us because they are proud of Alabama and the program we have here, and furthermore they impress other professors at those universities who in turn vote for us.”

            With an average of three new students per year, the Culverhouse School of Accountancy’s Doctoral Program is able to devote considerable resources to the development of each student.

            Gary Taylor, director of the accounting doctoral program, said he is especially proud of the work the department is doing in the way of student development.

            “The Ph.D. program has really improved in the past few years,” Taylor said. “The faculty members working with our Ph.D. students are tremendous. We have a great Ph.D. committee. They all do a phenomenal job with our Ph.D. students, both with their research but also in their willingness to work with the students. We’ve created a number of specific programs to help students, like our speed-interviewing system. In the doctoral program, all members of Beta Alpha Psi are guaranteed interviews with every firm.”

             However, student development programs are not unique to the Ph.D. level. In fact, the department is introducing to all students the Accounting Pathway Program this year to focus on soft skills, such as networking, interviewing, dressing professionally and even appropriate workplace and dining etiquette.

            Rich Houston, director of the Culverhouse School of Accountancy, said the new Accounting Pathway Program is a great example of the school’s commitment to supporting its students – a commitment that Houston partially credits with the recent ranking successes.

            “The recent success is not a result of something new, rather it’s a reflection of what we’ve been doing right for a long time,” Houston said. “We have an incredible faculty that is willing to work with students to help develop them. As we move forward in the future, that ‘student service’ mentality is something we are going to keep at the forefront of our decisions so that we continue attract great students to our undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs.”

            This commitment to students is a mentality shared by everyone in the department. It also helps the team to keep its goals in mind and not let great rankings keep them complacent.

            McKinney put the rankings in perspective with the department’s overall plan for the future, reminding all that competition is not the primary objective.

“Rankings are great, and that means you get even better students and everybody is happy,” she said. “What they may not show, and what is important to us above all else, is the quality of the product we’re delivering to the students and supporting them. So rankings are important, but we understand that they’re not everything.” 

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