61: University of Texas at Dallas Adds Quickbooks Bootcamp to Accounting Degree Program w/ Jennifer Johnson

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Jennifer Johnson, Senior Lecturer at The University of Texas at Dallas, discusses how we can better bridge the technology gap between what institutions are teaching and what employers are looking for.

Ask The question. When we graduatea student with this degree, what skill sets would you expect them to haveand how can we accomplish that? You're listening to enrollment growth university from HelixEducation, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollmentat their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's getinto the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member ofthe connect Edu podcast network. I'm Eric Olson, AVP of marketing at HelixEducation, and we're here today with Jennifer Johnson, senior lecturer at University ofTexas at Dallas. Jennifer, welcome to the show. Thanks are great tobe here. Really excited to talk with you today about how we can betterbridge the technology gap between what institutions are...

...teaching and what employers are expecting.Before we dig into that, Jennifer, can you give the listeners a littlebit better understanding of both University of Texas at Dallas and your role there?Yeah, so I'm a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas.It's one of the schools in the UT system in the state of Texas.Ut Dallas, as we call it, is located in Dallas, Texas.We've got between twenty five and Thirtyzero students. Our school was a little unique inthat we started as a graduate university. They were founded by Texas instruments actually, where they needed some more engineering and computer science students. So theygot some land and developed a university here in Dallas and over the years theyneeded that land to the state and we started out as a master's and PhDand Computer Science and Engineering and from there we have grown from the top down, from PhD students down to freshmen, and here we are now with almosttwenty five to thirtyzero students. So it's...

...been very exciting. I work inthe Jendall School of management on the CPA and I'm an accounting lecturer and I'mjust starting my tent academic here with the School of it. Let's dive rightin, Jennifer. A recent study from the Association of American colleges and universitiesreports that sixty percent of employers don't believe college graduates are prepared to succeed inentry level positions. It's a sobering statistic. Can you share your own personal experienceof graduating with confidence and then quickly realizing you weren't fully prepared for lifeafter your degree? Sure, it's been a while since I've graduated, butI do remember. I do remember that feeling where I felt like I wassuper smart, I could conquer the world. I'm a graduated with a master's degreein accounting. So I jumped into public accounting. I guess at whatthe time was the big six. They are now the big for and accounting, and my first few days out there they were. They did great intraining me, but what I quickly realize...

...is I knew a lot of theorybut I didn't know how to do it. I knew what a debit in acredit was in accounting speak, but how did I document that? Howdid I talk to a client? How did I engage in conversation? Sothere was clearly a disconnect between the knowledge and the theory I had in myhead and how to execute it in the real world. So, in orderto prevent other students from experiencing something similar and to better bridge higher education theorywith practical application, let's talk about one solve. You've created within your accountingcourse at UT Dallas. It's almost like an accounting software boot camp exactly.So accounting students have to do a lot of transactional entry work and the minutethey jump into a job, whether it's an audit professional, attacks professional oreven just bookkeeping or accounting work, they're reviewing transactions, entering transactions, andup to this point they really have only done that on paper. So mygoal when I started teaching was to make...

...sure they at least knew how tomake a journal entry in a computer system. About four or five years ago partneredwith into an education and they provided some technology and resources from my classand throughout the course of a semester stir. Now the students are learning how touse quick books, which is an accounting software package, and in usingthat package they're really putting the pieces together in their accounting coursework. And myfavorite part is watching the light bulb come on and they might have learned howto enter a transaction in my class and now they're making that link to priorcourses where they had learned about what it meant and how it worked. Soit's really neat to see them put all those pieces together. You mentioned seeingthose light bulb moments. What has the initial feedback from from your student spinabout the broader application learning that they're receiving? I think they get several things,the first of which is just confidence. They get to go into a joband know that they can contribute from...

...day one. So many businesses,specially small businesses, use quick books and even if they don't use this tool, they use some other accounting software package. So the students feel much more confidenton day one that they're not going to break it, that they atleast be successful until they get their hands around exactly what the company is doing. Jennifer, when we're thinking about our other degree programs, how do yousuggest we similarly think about bridging potential technology or hard skill gaps? I thinkit's just a matter of jumping in. You know, you don't need anentire course in software. It's just starting to enter. Do Students to thefact that there is the software available and, like I said, if you pickup software that a lot of businesses or companies use in your industry,the students will fill more confident. And if it's not the exact one thatthey use, I'm sure there's a lot of similarities and that's what I findin accounting as well. So if it's...

...two weeks or two months or anentire semester for a course, any little bit help. And I find thesestudents today they are Super Technology Salvy and the fact that they're not afraid totry something new and really, as the instructor, I think I walk inand I say Hey, I may not know this, great just to knowwe're going to learn it together and let's see what's going on. The oneof their other skill sets I think the student gets is just the ability totroubleshoot. They they learned how to dive in, how to uncover, investigateand find answers. I think employers find that highly valuable. Really good stuff, Jennifer. Any final advice for institutions who are listening to this, excitedabout what you're doing at you to Dallas and want to make sure their curriculumis lining up with an incorporating these hard skills that employers are looking for.I would encourage you to reach out to advisory board members or former students andsurvey them and ask the question, when...

...we graduate a student with this degree, what skill sets would you expect them to have and how can we accomplishthat, because I think that resource is going to be an amazing eyeopener andyou can take those pieces and put them into your classrooms. Jennifer, thanksso much for your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connectwith you? Of The heaveny follow up questions? I'm sure they're welcome toreach out to me via email. My email is Jennifer Dot Johnson at yout Dallas Dot eed. You Awesome. Thanks against so much for joining ustoday, Jennifer. Thanks, Charak. Attracting today's new post traditional learners meansadopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollmentgrowth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, andHelix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percentbrand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges,downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom.

Playbook. You've been listening to enrollmentgrowth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode,subscribe to the show on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening. Until next time,.

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