STEM designations given to accounting majors


The Daily Illini File Photo

Source: Brooke Elliott

By Jiejie Wang, Staff Writer

New STEM designations were given to the Master of Accounting Science, Master of Science in Accountancy and Ph.D. in Accountancy at the end of March.

The types of skills students learn by studying science, technology, engineering and math subjects are collectively known as STEM, according to the U.S. Department of Education website.

Five majors in Business have received STEM designations so far.

Jeffrey Brown, dean of Gies College of Business, said in an email they had previously received the designation for Master of Science in Finance and Master of Science in Financial Engineering.

“The designation is valuable, so we will apply for it with any program that we believe qualifies,” Brown said. “But as of this moment, we do not have any additional applications pending.”

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Brooke Elliott, head of the accountancy department, said in an email students who will graduate in May 2018 or later can be eligible for the new program code.

“In the 2017-2018 academic year, we launched a new data analytics concentration as part of our graduate accounting program curricula,” Elliott said. “This new course series … allowed us to request a change in the program code for our graduate accounting programs to a code that is STEM-designated.”

Elliott said the Department of Accountancy is continuing to add new courses in data analytics and technology.

“The STEM designation is essential to serve a global student population of future leaders in the accounting profession. This designation will allow us to attract and serve the top students in the world,” Elliott said.

Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for public affairs, said in an email STEM majors are critical to the University.

“The Illinois Board of Higher Education is the organization that approves majors. They review requests set forth by the National Center for Education Statistics,” Kaler said.

Mary Dailey, executive director of communications, said in an email they received the accountancy STEM designation on March 30.

“Our students will benefit as we are responding to the demand for a new generation of accounting professionals who are able to leverage new technologies to access and analyze the mass amount of data that is now being produced,” Dailey said.

Graduate accounting program curricula deliver deep technical accounting knowledge along with competency in data analytics, she said.

Cong Li, a graduate student in accountancy, said in an email this is an exciting change since it is beneficial for international students, especially for students in the Master of Science in Accountancy program.

“It is a huge advantage for international students in our program, because we have more chances to obtain work permits and therefore stay in the U.S.,” Li said.

International students can work at least 24 months legally in America after getting their STEM degrees.

Li said the new STEM designation shows accountancy education is heading toward a more competitive level in the future.

“This is a big development for the accountancy education and I believe that our program will have more appliers next year because of this move,” Li said.

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