Intentional Learning for Students in Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting

Pages: 29 (7208 words) Published: January 4, 2014
J. of Acc. Ed. 31 (2013) 350–362

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Teaching and educational notes

The budgetary interview: Intentional learning
for students in governmental and non-profit
Larita Killian ⇑
Division of Business, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC), 4601 Central Avenue, Columbus, IN 47203, USA

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Available online 30 April 2013
Intentional learning
Self-directed learning
Governmental and non-profit accounting

a b s t r a c t
Learning-to-learn skills are critical to the future success of accounting students. This paper reports on a budgetary interview exercise that helps students develop as intentional learners. Students select a government or non-profit agency to investigate, arrange an interview with an agency official to discuss the budgetary process, write a technical paper on what was learned, and record their reflections on the experience. The budgetary interview exercise was implemented with undergraduate students in governmental and nonprofit accounting courses over four academic years (one course per year). Effectiveness of the exercise was assessed via content analysis of student papers and reflections. Results indicate the exercise was highly effective in helping students develop intentional learning skills. Furthermore, students successfully connected classroom material to ‘‘real-world’’ practice, and most students reflected on potential careers in governmental or non-profit sectors. Appendices provide materials that instructors may use to implement this exercise.

Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Most educators recognize that learning-to-learn is a critical goal. This is especially true in accounting: as regulations and practice evolve, our graduates must be able to update their knowledge and skills to remain effective. As with all worthy goals, however, the hard part is making the transition to action. This paper describes how a budgetary interview exercise was used to promote intentional learning in a governmental and non-profit (GNP) accounting course and provides assessment of ⇑ Tel.: +1 812 348 7219 (O).

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L. Killian / J. of Acc. Ed. 31 (2013) 350–362


results. The exercise incorporates the intentional learning model developed by Francis, Mulder, and Stark (1995).
Several authors (Albrecht & Sack, 2000; Law, Shaffer, & Stout, 2009; Pathways Commission., 2012) have suggested that accounting educators link education programs to the world of practice and help students learn the non-technical aspects of the profession. This can be accomplished, in part, through learning activities that allow students to interact with practitioners in ‘‘real-world’’ settings. In the budgetary interview exercise, students select a government or non-profit agency to investigate, arrange and conduct an interview with an official who is involved in the budgetary process, and reflect on what was learned.

The budgetary interview adds ‘‘relevance’’ to the course because students have an opportunity to compare and contrast textbook descriptions of the budgetary process to actual practice. Furthermore, the interview helps students expand their professional network and explore professional roles that correspond to their talents, interests, and values. About 22% of paid employees in the US work for GNP organizations (Granof & Khumawala, 2011); by completing the exercise, students benefit from an opportunity to explore careers in these sectors.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: Section 2 summarizes the literature that motivates and guides implementation of the exercise. Section 3 is a detailed discussion of how the...

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