Salvation Army Project
The Vincennes University Accounting program strives not only to prepare students to enter the workplace, but also to teach them the importance of developing the community in which they live. The students below spent the afternoon helping Vincennes Salvation Army paint and clean the food storage shelving and room. The food storage room houses the food donations for Knox County. With the new shelves and clean facility, the Salvation Army can better serve food needs of the Vincennes Community.
Generations AngelWorx Program
The accounting program students collected and wrapped laundry baskets with toiletry and household necessities. The baskets support the Vincennes University Generations AngelWorx program which delivers the baskets to elderly individuals in the community at Christmas time.
Each year the Accounting programs students, freshman through seniors, come together to enjoy pizza and fellowship as they wrap the baskets. Professor Nash began participation in the project several years ago to bring the freshman class and the upper level classman together.
The camaraderie allows the students to discuss the accounting program and build relationships between the students while also teaching the students the importance of giving back to the community.
Each Fall semester the accounting program students visited local businesses to see accountants in action at various places of business. The field trips provide students with an opportunity to ask questions about application of the material learned in the classroom as well as see first-hand positions they will soon fill. The students learn job duties of the various individuals within the accounting departments of the business.
During the visit to Packaging Corporation of America, the students toured the manufacturing facility, then discussed the different processes in the plant with the Accounting personnel. The Managerial accounting course at Vincennes University covers cost accounting concepts and processes. The students found it interesting to see how the theories learned in the classroom were applied in the real world manufacturing setting.
During the field trip to Vincennes University’s accounting program, the students learned about fund accounting. Since the university is a state supported institution, governmental fund accounting principles provides the basis to record university transactions. The importance of using budgets to manage the university’s expenses was also discussed. The students toured the university’s Management Information Center to discuss the important relationship between the information technology department and accounting. The staff reiterated the interdependency of the accounting and information technology departments. The students visited the collections and billing departments to discuss collections of students accounts, cash receipts, and billing procedures.
Accounting Professor Brings Real Life Applications to the Classroom
Who knew that learning accounting could be fun? Assistant Professor Stephanie Nuttall proved this to her Fall 2015 Managerial accounting students. Mrs. Nuttall took the class out of the traditional learning environment and had the students build skateboards from scratch! Imagine the look of surprise on the students when she told them they were going to build skateboards that day! Needless to say, the class loved the experience.
The skateboard project is just one example of how faculty at Vincennes University have made significant efforts to improve the classroom environment through the use of real life learning projects. These projects help to teach the course concepts as well as improve teamwork and critical thinking skills. One student stated, “I felt like the skateboard project was a fun way to build teamwork characteristics”.
So how does making skateboards relate to an accounting class? In Managerial Accounting, students learn about the accounting that happens inside a business that most people are not aware about. Most students are aware that businesses have to prepare financial statements in order to meet requirements, however, there is so much more to accounting than financial statements. If students ever want to run their own business and be profitable, then they will need to know about the costs involved in either providing a service or making a product, depending on the type of business they want to establish. What better way to show students the types of costs involved by requiring them to physically make a product like a skateboard? The students learned tremendously from this project and were able to see with their own eyes all of the costs that go into making a product. As an extra bonus, Mrs. Nuttall rode one of the skateboards down the hall and let the students take pictures of her!
Do you want to build a skateboard?
Or ride a skateboard down the hall?
Here at VU, there’s lots’ to do,
So give us a call!
We have so much to offer,
Within our Business programs,
We would love to tell you more!
So….Do you want to build a skateboard?
One of the luxuries in life is the sweet smell and taste of coffee. Although some don’t drink coffee, most enjoy the smell. Coffee has become a staple in the American experience. One cannot go anywhere without smelling or tasting the “Nectar of the Gods”.
Because coffee is an everyday experience, all students can understand the concepts of a “cup of coffee”. Therefore, a virtual coffee shop is being used to teach students the strategies of managerial decision making.
Interpertive Simulation, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, created a virtual coffee shop entitled BizCafe. Students become managers of their own coffee café. Students are required to create a name and logo, hire servers and managers, determine inventory and coffee usage as well as solve special “incidents” that occur throughout the simulation. Students learn that all ® decisions affect the bottom line of the café.
Students find the simulation difficult at first but, as “periods” go by they begin to understand the concepts of running a café and the importance of all decisions. Near the end, most students enjoy the experience even though some did not make a profit.
As with any business, a small business owner must wear many hats. Students are exposed to areas in marketing, operations, human resource and accounting. Each period the financial statements are updated, an analysis of cups sold, coffee usage and expenses and cash flow is reported. Students take this information and use it to help them decide what decisions to make in the next period. Of course, the goal is to make a profit. But with BizCafe the main goal is to teach in a fun way. The simulation can be set-up so that each student can compete against the program, or their classmates or just by themselves. When students competed against each other, certain metrics are averaged or benchmarked informing the students of their standing among their peers. This brings an air of competition into the classroom.
Finally when all is said and done and the simulation is over, students report via presentation their experience in BizCafe. While some frustrations are expressed most comments are positive as many realize for the first time what it takes to run a business. They all agree that it takes dedication, critical thinking and a winning attitude to bring about the “Sweet Smell of Coffee”.
Coaching, Creativity and Passion – OH MY!
It is often said that the majority of people don’t quit their job, they quit their boss. The Huffington Post recently ran an article titled “9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit” (Bradberry, 2016). This article discusses the top things that managers do that make good employees want to leave a place of employment:
- Managers overwork people
- They don’t recognize and reward good employees for all that they contribute to the team
- They don’t know how to show that they care about their people – balancing being professional and showing genuine concern for people
- They don’t honor their promises/commitments
- Hiring and promoting the wrong people
- They don’t allow their employees to pursue their passions within the work environment
- They fail to develop employees’ skills
- They fail to engage employees and empower them to use their creativity
- They fail to intellectually challenge their employees
In Vincennes University’s Business Management and Business Administration programs, students have the opportunity to develop valuable management skills that will make them top rate business leaders. Management students are able to develop coaching skills by tapping into team members’ talents and providing one another with valuable performance feedback in exercises such as the “Penny Bounce”, as shown below.
In this exercise students rotate through a variety of managerial roles. While one learner ( the employee) bounces pennies across the table, other learners serve in the roles of:
- The Coach who provides guidance and collaborates with the employee to find best solutions. The coach also provides performance recognition to the employee.
- The Quality Assurance Technician measures the distance of the penny in comparison to the intended goal
- The Time Keeper assures that the project stays on target
- The Production Manager records the data that pertains to the distance of the penny and the time that it takes for the employee to bounce 10 pennies. The PM tracks data about productivity to measure organizational performance.
Bradberry, T. (2016). 9 things that make good employees quit. Retrieved from
The Agribusiness program has been really busy this fall semester with in projects in the courses and increasing our community service projects. Students are given hands on experience to learn the materials. There are projects both in and out of the classroom to enhance the understanding of the subject material. Guest speakers were brought into the classroom to talk about their industries and what the future holds in jobs and skills needed to be successful. The speakers included companies like Pioneer, Case IH, Becks, Jenner Sales, and several others.
Students were in the field learning about the value of cover crops, weed identification, and soil productivity. Projects in the class included bringing other classes and high school classes to Vincennes University to teach other about alternative energies of wind, methane gas, and solar power. The four year students were able to attend a farm auction, make a magazine, and examine the supply chain that our crops have. The four year students work during the day and take several classes during the evening.
The Agribusiness Technology Club’s activities included carving pumpkins, setting out flags for the Indiana Presbyterian Church for Veteran’s Day, and parades. The club’s members are Collegiate FFA and Collegiate Farm Bureau members. Members are able to attend the National Conventions of both organizations.
Agribusiness students are involved in many activities throughout their time at Vincennes University. They have the opportunity to get their Associates Degree and continue their attendance to get their Agribusiness Concentration, BS Technology degree. Many of the graduates will get jobs in fertilizer facilities, grain elevators, and seed dealerships, just to name a few.