During the past 30 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many incredible students and help them find their passion. Watching a sometimes shy and uncertain freshman blossom into a confident college senior with direction in their career is a huge reward for an educator.
Teaching has evolved and changed so much over the years. When I first began my work as an accounting professor, I used an overhead projector and slide transparencies to demonstrate problems. During those early years, grading was completely manual, and, of course, email was barely in existence. Today, I use online resources, conduct Zoom meetings with alumni experts in the field, and give assignments that are algorithmic and provide automatic feedback. Students have access to new tools too: They use powerful learning management systems and e-books that they access online.
Although most of these online resources are incredible, I still find myself having to occasionally remind my students to take notes. With so much information at their fingertips, some students are tempted to “Google it” rather than write things down.
While e-books are certainly much more environmentally friendly, many of my alumni are taken aback when I tell them that students no longer buy hardback books. Recently, an alumnus who’s the director of financial services at a nearby hospital shared with me that she still regularly references her intermediate accounting textbook. Certainly, the electronic versions of such classic texts do have their flaws!
MY EVOLUTION WITH IMA
My involvement with IMA® has evolved over the years as well. In the early 2000s, one of my students asked if I would write a letter of recommendation in support of his IMA scholarship application. To my delight, my student was awarded the IMA Memorial Education Fund scholarship, and together we traveled to the IMA Annual Conference for him to receive the award.
It was at that conference where I met so many outstanding professionals who were thrilled to meet my students and me. Following that experience, my students and I decided to start an IMA student chapter at Culver-Stockton College. Over the years, I’ve traveled with students to other conferences all over the United States. And my students have benefited through IMA scholarships and IMA’s extensive global network.
Attending that initial conference also inspired me to become involved in my local IMA chapter, the Quincy Area Chapter, where I served in numerous positions, including president. I’ve also been a director on the Heartland Council and chaired the former IMA Committee on Students.
Over the years, I’ve also encouraged my students to serve in leadership roles in the Quincy Area Chapter (one year, two of my students served as co-presidents). In discussing with my students the benefits of IMA involvement, I quickly realized how beneficial it was for them to join this professional organization. As a result, I created a course titled Professional Development that focuses on involvement in the IMA student chapter events, learning about the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), developing their résumé and LinkedIn profile, and networking.
While teaching has changed considerably over the years, the reward of helping students discover their passion has remained constant. IMA provides valuable resources, certification, programs, and an incredible network of professionals that help students find success. I’m proud to be part of an organization that makes such an impact on students’ lives.
Interested in starting an IMA student chapter on your campus?
Read more about it here.