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Bentley University Receives $400,000 Grant from Ernst & Young Foundation to Transform the Accountancy/Finance Curriculum

April 14, 2009

Bentley University received a $400,000 grant from the Ernst & Young Foundation’s University Fund to launch a groundbreaking initiative aimed at transforming the accountancy and finance curriculum.  The University Fund is designed to further Ernst & Young LLP’s commitment to higher education by providing significant, sustainable investments to schools where the firm actively recruits.

The prestigious grant will fund new course materials, accounting resource technology, and an accounting lab assistant program for high achieving students.  The award also includes a provision for matching funds to be sought from Bentley alumni at Ernst & Young, bringing the expected total value to $515,000.

Bentley University, founded as an accounting and finance school and long regarded as a leader in accounting education and business ethics, received the grant as part of a national competitive process.  The other four recipients are major state research universities.

The Ernst & Young Foundation grant will support the Continuous Curriculum Innovation Initiative beginning in the fall of 2009.  Bentley created the new curriculum model to address a decline in the number of promising students choosing to pursue accounting/finance degrees.   Faculty will now collaborate closely with Ernst & Young executives to present many elements of the curriculum.

Under the current teaching model, students are not introduced to accounting until their sophomore year, at which point they have also been exposed to other majors.  Introductory accounting and finance courses are also typically taught as stand-alone courses, without the context that demonstrates the critical role these disciplines play in business today. 

“Today’s employers have high expectations for students coming out of business programs, with ethics and accuracy at the forefront.  They expect accounting and finance professionals to be able to absorb new material, rules, procedures, and principles on a regular basis and often in a non-linear fashion.  Our new curriculum is designed to attract top students of the millennial generation to the field by providing their first exposure to business courses through the unique lens of accounting and finance.  The new program will teach students to become self- learners at the freshman level by following a lengthy case over two courses and challenge them to develop research skills that will help them manage all types of new material,” says Mark Nixon, Accountancy Department Chair at Bentley.

Bentley University, with the help of Ernst & Young, aims to change the accounting teaching paradigm by introducing:

•    Accelerated exposure to advanced accounting concepts
Requiring introductory accounting and finance courses be taken during freshman year and intermediate accounting classes during sophomore year.

•    New course materials
Created specifically for introductory accounting and finance courses and featuring timely case studies developed by Bentley faculty with EY’s support and supplemental instruction by EY executives. 

•    Expanded Technology Resources
The newly named Ernst & Young Accounting Resource Portal features the most current accounting research and databases and will supplement all coursework.  Access is available to accounting majors as well as students in disciplines such as Information Systems Audit and Control, Computer Information Systems and Corporate Finance and Accounting.  

•    Ernst & Young Student Assistants Program
Bentley faculty will select high achieving junior and senior accounting majors to be EY Student Assistants in Bentley’s Accounting Center for Electronic Learning and Business Measurement (ACELAB).  The ACELAB houses state-of-the-art accounting tutorials and software programs including SAP and ACL.  The EY Student Assistants will work in the lab providing tutoring and mentoring. 

•    Ernst & Young executives will participate in classes as lecturers and deliver video presentations about the business case under study.

Bentley University President Gloria Cordes Larson states, “Our goal in launching this industry-leading approach is to attract the most talented students with an interest in accounting and finance and to provide them with unparalleled academic resources, increased networking opportunities, and rich career potential.  We are grateful to Ernst & Young for their financial support, their creativity, and their dedication to the field, and for sharing their depth of expertise with our faculty and students.” 

“We at Ernst & Young are proud to sponsor Bentley's ground-breaking curriculum initiative and look forward to our active involvement with the University's faculty and administration in making it a tremendous success," said Neil DeAngelis, Campus Coordinating Partner, Ernst & Young LLP.

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 135,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.
For more information, please visit www.ey.com.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young LLP is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited located in the U.S.  This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.

About the Ernst & Young Foundation
The Ernst & Young Foundation (US) was formed in 1937 to provide effective and meaningful philanthropic support to institutions of higher education, primarily in the areas of accounting, tax, and general business. Ernst & Young and the Foundation have gifted more than $100 million to educational organizations throughout the United States. Last year, the Ernst & Young Foundation contributed more than $5 million in matching funds to higher education, matching the eligible contributions of Ernst & Young active and retired personnel.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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