“Why I Teach” with David Perkins

Dr. David Perkins

A common theme among our faculty members is how many of them did not plan to become a professor after graduating college. This, too, was the case for Dr. David Perkins. In fact, teaching wasn’t even a thought for him until a position opened up at Harding University, his alma mater. When the dean called and asked him to teach principles of accounting, Perkins was almost through his MBA program, so he accepted the temporary position for a year. “That phone call was a life-changing event for me. I look at it as God giving me a nudge to consider teaching as a career”.

Perkins taught at Harding for 15 years after that, then joined the COBA family during its initial work to become AACSB accredited. His friend and college classmate, Dr. Monty Lynn, was a good contact for him at ACU while Perkins was making the arrangements to join the COBA faculty. Dr. Perkins was ready for a change, and has never regretted getting on board with COBA’s vision for excellence. He currently teaches Financial Accounting to undergraduates as well as graduate classes in the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program and has led students on numerous study abroad programs with COBA.

When Perkins began to think about the impact of faith in his journey, he shared that it was humbling experience. “God opens doors of opportunity and sometimes he shuts others. That certainly helps with the decision-making process.” It is difficult for him to imagine what life would be like without faith, as it has played such a core part of his journey. He stressed that his faith doesn’t guarantee that he won’t ever doubt; still, in the midst of doubt, growth can be found. “God is my anchor” Perkins said. “Even when I stumble or stray, I know where to find Him… right there where He’s always been.”

Dr. Perkins explained that he enjoys teaching accounting not only to help students prepare for their future careers, but also in giving them more tools to make a better life. While initially Perkins wasn’t sure how different his teaching method was from other accounting classes at public schools, he’s been able to be more intentional about planting seeds in students’ minds that can grow into faith. He explained that in class,  he will “Try to apply the topics we cover to real life decisions so they will be positioned to make good choices.” Students who have had Perkins in class fondly recalled the ‘sermonettes’ he shared with them from time to time and were grateful for the weekly Bible study he offers outside of class for anyone willing to attend. 

Dr. Perkins with students this summer during Study Abroad to Oxford and Leipzig.

Dr. Perkins explained that his desire for students is for them to see college as an opportunity to develop their God-given skills – even if they don’t know what they want to do yet. He remembered being in a similar position at their age, of being unsure about what life would look like after college. His best advice was this, “Develop your talents, develop your character, develop friendships, develop your faith… then see what opportunities God brings your way”.

ACU is fortunate and thankful to have Dr. Perkins – not only for his knowledge and wisdom, but for his character and heart for his students.

Q&A With a December Grad: Lexi Koon

Lexi Koon, graduating senior accounting and major from Denver, Colorado.

Lexi Koon is a senior accounting and management major with a concentration in entrepreneurship from Denver, Colorado. She is in the integrated Masters of Accountancy program and wants to pursue a career as a CPA after graduation. We asked Lexi a few questions about her time at ACU. Read her answers below!

Q: How has your education at ACU, especially in your department, prepared you for the future?
A: My education at ACU has taught me a lot about learning how to see the world from other people’s perspectives and to be a better listener. That applies primarily to my classes outside of my business classes such as my bible classes, my communications classes, and other electives I have had to take over the years. As far as my education in the accounting department, I feel as though I have been prepared by the accounting department to understand the technical skills I will need to further my career as a CPA. It feels really great to come out of four years of school and know that I actually have the skill sets to be successful in a specific field and to also know that I will use what I learned in those classrooms every day in my career. In the business management department, my professors prepared me for my future by exposing me to different aspects of business as a whole, they inspired me to set extraordinary goals and challenged me to dream big (like in entrepreneurship class with Jim Litton), and above all else, they prepared me by showing me they believed in me.
Q: What has been your favorite thing/memory about your time at ACU and COBA? 
A: Wow, that is a really hard question. I don’t know if I can necessarily pick a favorite, but it’s more-so a combination of all the times professors tried really hard to make bad jokes in class, when they invited us over for “Grilleniums” or when they invited us to worship events at their church. My most cherished memories have been when professors stopped class to give us a “real talk” about life or when they shared what was going on in their lives to give us encouragement in ours. My favorite experience at ACU by far has been getting to have my professors over and over again in class and building relationships with them to where I know they actually care about their students. From book club with Dr. Laura Phillips to bible study with Dr. Easter, they all have made a huge impact on my life as a student at ACU. The professors at ACU are funny, they are thoughtful, they are kind, and they are beyond caring.
Q: What was your favorite class in the accounting department?
A: Answering this question is difficult because the professors are all so different. All of the professors are great and they all bring a different character to the classroom. Content-wise and professor-wise, I would have to say Income Tax with Dr. Fowler has been my favorite class as an undergraduate. I dreaded having to take that class because, well, who wants to learn about taxes? I found that Dr. Fowler is one of few people in the world who can actually make learning about tax fun. He made us laugh almost every day and he challenged us, but he also believed in us. I’m also currently in his Corporate Tax class in the MAcc program and I can say that may be the hardest class I have ever taken but I still love it because he teaches it and constantly re-affirms us that we can do it.
Q: Who was your favorite professor and why?
A: I spoke a little about Dr. Fowler in that last question, but to answer this question, Dr. Fowler was my favorite professor because he went above and beyond to make us know that we are more than just a number in his class. He is typically known for teaching some of the hardest classes in the accounting department but he is also the professor that sends us emails to tell us he believes in us, that he is proud of us, and that he is here for us. Almost every day in class, he tells us a funny story to make what should be boring content enjoyable, and several times throughout the semester he has stopped class to point out seasons of celebration in our own lives and other times he took the time to be real with where he’s at and the hardships that life faces us all. He made our classes become family and I would go back and take those extremely hard classes again as long as I knew he was teaching it.
Q: If you could talk to a prospective student considering coming to ACU, why would you tell them to choose ACU?
A: I would tell them to choose ACU because it is like no other college they will go to. The “ACU Difference” is the community that you find along the way. This should be apparent in my responses from earlier questions, but the professors, the faculty, and the students have shown me what it is to look at those who are different from me and want to learn from them, to learn how to love them, and to be surrounded by a circle of people who have your back 100%. As I leave ACU, I feel completely supported and surrounded by an extraordinary amount of love and I am thankful. You will never be a number here. The first year is tough at any college, but as you continue to grow your experience here, you will walk around and be known, and that is what the walking in the Kingdom looks like.

Tales from Abroad: COBA goes to Australia and New Zealand

Our last installment in our COBA Study Abroad series highlights the MAcc (Master in Accountancy) trip to Australia and New Zealand, led by Dr. Curtis Clements and Dr. Kyle Tippens. MAcc students received credit for International Accounting and Financial Reporting and International Financial Markets. We can’t think of a better way to learn about global business than being immersed in it! We asked Dr. Clements to tell us what it’s like to learn in the land down under.

 

What made your destination a unique place to study?

We didn’t really have a home city.  Instead, we traveled to three cities:  Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand.  We chose Australia and New Zealand because we had business contacts there and for their diverse cultures.

 

What businesses were you able to visit? 

We visited a number of companies and organizations.  These include PWC, KPMG, EY, the Sydney Wool Exchange, The Australian Accounting Standards Board, The Australian Auditing Standards Board, ANZ Bank, Australia-New Zealand Chartered Accountants, and Xerox.

 

Did you take the students on any sight seeing tours? 

In Sydney we went to Taronga Zoo.  Taronga is a world-class zoo with many different animals from around the world.  We also took a nighttime harbor cruise during the Vivid Sydney festival, which was outstanding.  In Melbourne, we took a trip outside the city on a train powered by a steam engine.  In New Zealand, we toured Hobbiton where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed as well as the Hobbit movies.  We also went to the Te Puia Maori Village‎ cultural center in Rotorua.  On their own, the students also traveled to the Blue Mountains, Manly Beach, and Bondi Beach in Sydney.  They attended an Aussie Rules football game, went to Brighton Beach, and watched the penguins come ashore in Melbourne.  In New Zealand, the students traveled to several locations outside of Auckland.

 

What is it like to be able to spend so much time with students in another country? How does it differ than being in a classroom setting in Abilene?

The experience was outstanding!  You get to know the students so well and they get to know you beyond what they see in the classroom.  It allows you to speak into their lives on a much deeper level.  We learned so much about the students and, hopefully, they know us and our families better.

 

What were your favorite moments/experiences of the trip?

Two things stood out for me.  First, my wife and I were able to renew friendships with people we haven’t seen in 27 years.  As far as the academic part of the trip, there are so many things that were enjoyable and informative.  I don’t think we had a bad visit and it is really hard to point to one thing.  It was interesting as I was reading the students’ journals as they would say, “This is the best thing on the trip!”  And then just a day or two later, they would say the same thing!  As far as the sightseeing, I would have to say the trip to Hobbiton was the best thing we did.

 

If students could only learn one thing, what do you hope they learned?

That we live in an interconnected world.  This is especially true in business. As an aside, I also hope they learned that what we teach and tell them in class really matters!

 

Anything else I’ve forgotten to mention that you would like to talk about?

We have some outstanding students!

COBA Celebrates the MAcc Graduating Class of 2018

COBA honored the MAcc (Master of Accountancy) class of 2018 at a luncheon on Thursday, May 3rd that was sponsored by KPMG. Special guest speaker was Cliff Crockett (’89), Partner at KPMG and father of graduating MAcc student, Daniel Crockett.

Cliff Crockett

Mr. Crockett gave the students 10 tips for success as they begin their careers.

  1. Character and integrity count. Be trustworthy and admit your mistakes. “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
    and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
  2. Establish goals and learn to manage yourself and your career. Begin with the end in mind and ask yourself where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? Reassess  your goals at different points along the way. Invest in and work to continually improve yourself. Root your goals in prayer and God.  “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”Proverbs 16:3
  3. Find a mentor(s) inside and outside of your employer, preferably someone older who can give you different perspectives. As you grow older, find someone you can mentor.
  4. What are your priorities in life going to be? Your priorities reflect where you spend your time.
  5. Be a lifelong learner. Always seek to learn something new. Continue to learn and cultivate your relationship with God.
  6. Be a servant leader. Put others first and be an encourager. Be salt and light in the world.
  7. Remember where you came from. Remember your roots – especially ACU. Stay connected to and be proud of being an ACU graduate. Remember the investment others have poured into you and pay it forward to the next generation of students that come through ACU.
  8. Stay involved with your church and community.
  9. Remember to give back. Give of your time and talents, not just your money. Make giving back the first thing you do – be intentional about it. Remember who your money belongs to.
  10. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Everything falls in to place if you keep your eyes on Jesus. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Kaitlyn Renner Allen and Dr. John Neill

Dr. John Neill presented the Outstanding MAcc Graduate of the Year award to Kaitlyn Renner Allen. As an undergraduate student, Kaitlyn majored in Accounting while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout the undergraduate and graduate accounting programs. She was President of Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honors Society; a member of Phi Eta Sigma Academic Honor Society; and a member of GATA Women’s ACU Social Club.  She has received the following honors: Dean’s Honor List; R.L. Money Chancellors Award; Valedictorian Scholarship, Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of CPAs scholarship, and the Abilene Chapter of the Texas Society of CPAs award. Last spring, she had the opportunity to intern with PwC in Dallas and she has accepted a full-time position as a Tax Staff Accountant in the Ft. Worth office starting this July.

Dr. Scott Stovall reads his blessing over the graduates

Dr. Scott Stovall gave this blessing over the graduates:

We accounting and finance faculty offer you our blessing.  It has been an honor to teach and serve you.  Your spirit, your curiosity, and your servant heart have lifted us up while you have been here.  Your attitude has amazed us and perhaps a few times disappointed us.  As you prepare to leave us, we ask that you remember a few things.

First, remember that God is Sovereign over everyone and everything.  As one of His children, your sole purpose on this earth is to glorify Him.  As you begin your career, remember to be the best professional that you can be.  God has called you to do everything as though you are doing it for Him.  Should you choose to marry someone and raise children, ground those relationships in God’s love.  Follow the advice that my grandfather once gave me and choose a mate who will help you, and who you can help, get to Heaven.  Show your children (and your grandchildren) what God is like.

Second, remember to take great care about wealth and money.  Don’t live beyond your means.  God will bless some of you with the talent to make money, and we hope that you in turn bless God’s Kingdom with that talent.  On the other hand, there may be no greater threat to your spirituality than to become entangled by pursuing wealth and things.  Jesus likened riches to weeds that can choke out the Word of God.  Using Paul’s words to Timothy, remember that, “…godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Third, remember that Jesus is your salvation.  You will fail many times over your lifetime.  Remember that in Christ, failure is victory.  You will glorify God if you remain in His grace.  There is no failure, mistake, or sin from which Christ is unable to redeem you.  God is always, ALWAYS waiting on you.

Finally, remember that we faculty, your COBA family and your Christian brothers and sisters love you.  Hold each other accountable.  Be transparent with weakness.  Show strength by reaching out to others for help.  Although you are graduating, treat us as a “city of refuge” to which you will travel to share both joy and sorrow.  Be good stewards of the reputation you now have as MACC program graduates.

With paraphrased words of our Savior from many years ago, Dear Father:Bless us to be poor in spirit, for ours is the kingdom of heaven. Bless us to be mournful, for we will be comforted. Bless us to be meek, for we will inherit the earth. Bless us to hunger and thirst for righteousness, for we will be filled. Bless us to be merciful, for we will be shown mercy. Bless us to be pure in heart, for we will see God. Bless us to be peacemakers, for we will be called sons (and daughters) of God. Bless us as we are persecuted because of righteousness, ours is the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

The MAcc Class of 2018

Graduates, your adventure begins now. Congratulations to the Master of Accountancy graduating class of 2018!

To download and/or order prints of pictures from the luncheon, click here.

COBA Celebrates the MAcc Class of 2017

COBA honored the MAcc (Master of Accountancy) class of 2017 at a luncheon on Tuesday, May 2nd that was sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Amanda Stephens receives MAcc award from Dr. Curtis Clements

Amanda Stephens was named the Outstanding MAcc Graduate of the Year.  As an undergraduate student, Amanda majored in Accounting with minors in Spanish, Sociology, and Public Service. Amanda will start full-time in January with Whitley Penn in its Forensic, Litigation, and Valuation Services Department.

Chris Baker, partner with PwC and ACU alum, addressed the graduates and encouraged them to live a life of authenticity and integrity in all that they do. He also impressed upon them the need to give back to the world around them.

 

Dr. David Perkins

Dr. David Perkins gave a blessing over the graduates, reading Deuteronomy 8, and exhorting them to never forget the Lord, live humbly and remember that everything has been given to them by God – including their abilities.

MAcc Class of 2017

Graduates, your adventure begins now. Congratulations to the Master of Accountancy graduating class of 2017!

To download and/or order prints of pictures from the luncheon, click here.

Tolleson Scholars Awarded

In 2015, Tolleson Wealth Management, Inc. created the Tolleson Scholars COBA Endowment Fund to give scholarship awards in the amount of $5,000 each year to two deserving COBA students. To be considered, students must have completed 75 credit hours toward their degree, but also have at least 30 credit hours remaining to complete their degree. The award also is meant to be awarded to students recognized as top academic performers as well as excellent role models in terms of their Christian commitment and moral behavior. To be considered for the award, students submitted an essay reflecting on a time when they were a role model and exhibited commitment to their Christian faith. The recipients of this year’s awards are Brandon Gonzales, senior accounting major from Rowlett, TX and Megan Young, senior accounting major from Burleson, TX.

Brandon wrote about his experience volunteering with Operation Blessing, an international relief and development non-profit, after tornadoes destroyed much of the Rockwall, Rowlett, and Garland areas on December 26th of 2015. Brandon and his friends went door to door with the relief operation, asking residents what help they needed as well as consoling and praying with them. He said that, “It was eye opening to see everyone come together to help people they had never met and would likely never see again when they could have been spending their holiday break with family. I was only with my group for a couple of days and although we may not have been able to fix all the problems we came across, I learned how powerful even the smallest actions can be”. When asked about receiving the Tolleson Scholar Award, Brandon said, “Winning this scholarship was truly an unexpected blessing for my family and I. Being the first in my family to attend a university and with my graduation date on the horizon, this award is another reminder that I couldn’t have gotten this far without the help of the ACU community and the friends that I have made along the way.”

Brandon with team members from Operation Blessing

Megan wrote about serving with her church on an unexpected mission trip to Rio Bravo, Mexico during the spring break of her senior year. She told of how her church had been raising money for a kidney and liver transplant for the Rio Bravo congregation’s church liaison to the Burleson church, Jorge. Jorge and his family moved to Burleson temporarily while he received medical care. Megan said that they became “mi familia” as they grew very close to one another. During this time, the church raised half of the money needed but Jorge died two days after Christmas while waiting for a transplant. Megan said that the trip to Rio Bravo was the first time she would see Jorge’s family since his death and she was uncertain about the meeting. However, she and the Burleson mission team were greeted warmly by the family and the church and much healing happened as they worked side by side building an addition to the church building that Jorge once led. She said, “At the end of the week, the church threw a big party for our mission team. The church members and Jorge’s family were so grateful for all we had done. That’s when I realized the full scope of what God had planned for me that week. I wasn’t there just to do hard work; I was there to be part of the healing process. I was there to help this small church move forward after the death of Jorge. I was there to let his family know that we were still “familia”. Most of all, I was there to show God’s love and grace to our dear friends across the border”. When asked what receiving the Tolleson Award meant to her, Megan said, “I am so honored to be receiving the Tolleson Scholarship. This award will assist me in completing my BBA in accounting and start on my goal of attaining my Masters of Accountancy. Thank you to the donors for their generosity and support!”

Megan with the Rio Bravo Mission Team

Megan and Brandon represent well the student body that makes up the College of Business Administration (COBA). Our students serve in various volunteer capacities throughout the year, using the skills and lessons they’ve learned in the classroom to help organizations like non-profits and churches. Using business to do good – it’s a value COBA strives to integrate in and out of the classroom. Generous donors make college tuition scholarships and experiences like Leadership Summit or service trips to destinations like Mission Lazarus possible.  COBA has approximately 50 scholarship and endowment funds that, this year alone, provided financial help to over 120 COBA students. We are so thankful for the generosity of our friends and donors who help us continue our mission of educating business and technology professionals for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. If you would like to learn more about giving to COBA scholarship funds, please email coba@acu.edu.