Trinity University Professors Author Paper, Win National Award

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Aug. 28, 2013

Trinity University Professors Author Paper, Win National Award

Students learn how to incorporate ethics into accounting decisions through the teaching case

By Molly Mohr

Julie Persellin and Mike WilkinsSAN ANTONIO - Trinity University business administration professors Julie Persellin and Mike Wilkins received the American Accounting Association's (AAA) Best Contribution to Teaching Award for a paper they wrote about ethics in accounting. The award was presented at the A.A.A.'s 18th Annual Ethics Research Symposium held in Anaheim, Calif., in early August.

Persellin and Wilkins, along with Mike Schaub of Texas A&M University, authored the paper titled "Arachnophobia: A Case on Impairment and Accounting Ethics." The teaching case is situated within the context of a potential land impairment decision. Since these situations usually involve a lot of judgment on the auditors' part, students must take into consideration both accounting uncertainties and ethical implications when recommending a decision.

"The purpose of the case is to encourage students to realize that while there are, indeed, specific accounting 'rules' for various situations, many of these situations are not exactly black and white," Wilkins explained.

Wilkins attributed the success of the paper to the collaboration between all three authors. "I originally wrote the ethics part of the case for my Master's in Accounting class," Wilkins said. "After the fall semester, Julie added several numerical examples related to the accounting issues and requirements, and we invited one of our friends from Texas A&M to help me flesh out the teaching notes for the ethics questions."

Despite submission of the paper, the award came as a complete, yet pleasant, surprise to the professors. "We didn't even know the paper was being considered for the Best Contribution to Teaching Award, so we were surprised when we got the email," Wilkins said, adding, "We're happy to have Trinity in the spotlight."

Wilkins is the Jesse H. Jones Professor of Business Administration at Trinity University and teaches both undergraduate and graduate accounting classes. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky and his doctorate from the University of Arizona.

Persellin is an assistant professor at Trinity University and teaches both undergraduate and graduate accounting classes. She received her bachelor's degree from Florida Atlantic University, her master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and her doctorate from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Molly Mohr, a San Antonio native, interns in the Office of University Communications. A junior at Rice University, she is pursuing a major in sport management and a minor in business.