Education Committee Report 2007-2008

CAAA Education Committee Report

May 2008

The Education Committee has had a busy and effective year.  As you know, I was asked to become Chair in September 2007.  Since then we have recruited additional members, retained many existing members, and organized a terrific set of sessions for the 2008 annual conference.

The current members include:

  • Brenda Bertolo, CMA Canada
  • Cameron Morrill, University of Manitoba
  • David McPeak, IFAC
  • Jamie Aldcorn, Seneca College
  • Joseph Abekah, University of New Brunswick
  • Jylan Khalil, CICA
  • Merridee Bujaki, University of Ottawa
  • Nickie Young, St. Marys University
  • Norman Sheehan, University of Saskatchewan
  • Sandy Hilton, University of British Columbia – Okanagan

Since the last full report (May 2007) the following members resigned: Marg Forbes, Chris Graham, and Monique Levesque.  New members this year include: Cameron Morrill, Nickie Young, and Norman Sheehan.

All members of the committee have worked tirelessly to promote a focus on teaching and learning at the annual conference.  We have organized nine sessions during the regular conference period, a professional development day preceding the conference, and organized the competitions for the French and English cases competitions, and the Howard Teall Innovation award.  My sincere thanks go out to each and every member of this year’s committee; it truly was a team effort!

One of our goals this year was to continue to draw upon the experts available at Canadian institutions.  Most of the sessions we have organized this year involve numerous academics outside of the committee.  We are grateful for their involvement.

Through seven conference calls and numerous email exchanges between September 2007 and April 2008, the committee developed the educational sessions for the 2008 annual conference.  I will not report the details of each session below since much of that is available elsewhere (the conference program for instance).

The early conference calls were used to brainstorm two main issues: (1) what topic would be best for the pre-conference PD day? And, (2) is there a demand for assistance with the education transition needs of international standards (IFRS and IAS in particular)?

The committee identified two possible topics for the PD day, and after much discussion, we have chosen to host a day focused on competency-based education (CBE).  There was some concern that a similar session had been held in 2006, but we felt that this year’s session was sufficiently different.  Further, it was felt that university education is not keeping up with the CBE changes that the professional organizations are making, and therefore this was both a critical and timely topic.  A team of award winning speakers from Winnipeg will be working with participants on a number of CBE issues throughout the day.

Regarding the international transition issue, the committee felt strongly that there was a need to follow up on the sessions held last year.  Participant feedback from 2007 was used to develop a “stream” of five sessions for the 2008 conference.  Three of these will focus on IFRS and the 2011 transition, one will focus on IAS, and one will focus on teaching professionalism and ethics.  We have involved six terrific academics that are heavily involved in transition issues as well five other professionals.  Only one of the 11 is a committee member.  We are particularly indebted to the CICA and AcSB for providing many staff members to assist with the sessions.

During discussions with the conference organizers and other board members, it was decided to try to organize a series of sessions that would be interesting to Winnipeg accounting professionals.  This would increase the CAAA’s exposure, bring in some additional revenue, and increase the networking opportunities at the conference.  Two of the international stream sessions became an integral part of the “practitioner day”.  Hopefully there are some professionals that choose to register and there is fruitful interaction between them and the regular academic crowd.

Two new sessions that we are introducing this year are the Writing and Publishing Cases session and the Learning Strategies Exchange session (aka Poster Session).  The case session involves a panel of case writing, reviewing, editing, and publishing experts, headed up by Eldon Gardner (Associate Editor at Accounting Perspectives).  The objectives of this session are to encourage more case writing, and help fledgling authors.  We will also be incorporating the authors of the first and second-place cases from the English case competition.

The Learning Strategies Exchange has been a potential session for a few years now but has not occurred recently (I’m not fully aware of the history).  Angela encouraged the committee to have an alternative venue to present educational items.  Two committee members have worked very hard to encourage submissions and have developed a unique presentation forum/schedule that should be very interesting.

Two favorites are returning this year: the Department Heads Exchange and the Challenges in Accounting Education session.  Again, the committee is involving a number of non-committee members in these sessions.  These sessions are well organized and should meet the conference participants’ needs.

We had difficulty in getting any submissions to the French case competition.  There was some discussion about competing francophone conferences this year, but we will need to ensure that we promote that portion of the conference heavily next year to encourage a successful 2009 competition.

I believe we have developed a very strong set of sessions that should be of interest to many educators.  In the future I would like to see some sessions dedicated to the scholarship of teaching and learning.  Promoting submissions for such sessions will be one of my priorities for the upcoming year.

I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to work with this committee, with the board, and with the variety of educators across the country who are passionate about teaching and learning.  Our entire focus this year has been on the annual conference, we have not discussed the “Beechy project” or regional education sessions.  One thing I would like to improve on for next year is to have less “last-minute scrambling” in March/April as the conference program comes together.  I’m sure some of that is inevitable but I will try to ensure that decisions are made earlier.  Personally, I would like to thank each member for their incredible contribution this year, to Angela for her leadership, and to Lesley for being flexible and keeping me on track.


Sandy Hilton
April 28, 2008

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