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August 22, 2001

WALTHAM, MASS. - Bentley College's Accountancy department has captured a national Joint AICPA/AAA Collaboration Award from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for their innovative new course, "The Role of Community Service in a For-Profit Organization."

Accountancy Professors Jay Thibodeau, Dorothy Feldmann, Karen Osterheld and Government Professor Robert Koulish developed the course, which provides sophomore accounting students a field-based learning opportunity in which they combine a service-learning project with work experience at a public accounting firm.

Bentley students partnered with the CPA firm KPMG and Junior Achievement during the 2000-2001 academic year. The students attended a professional skills training session and worked 40 hours as a member of a KPMG professional services team. They were able to gain hands-on experience in a public accounting firm and learn what it meant to be a "champion for a cause."

At the same time, the students- in collaboration with The Bentley Service-Learning Center- worked with Junior Achievement to plan and complete a service-learning project in the community. The final plan called for the students to teach part of a class at a local high school (1-2 days per week for approximately 10 weeks). They taught high school students on how to prepare a business plan for a for-profit company that was going to add a community service department to their organization. The Bentley students gained first-hand knowledge of teamwork, developing initiatives to address community responsibilities and devising a plan to implement their initiative. Not to be outdone, the students also attended class lectures and completed readings on corporate social responsibility.

"This is a great feeling. It validates the work that we've done," says Jay Thibodeau of the award. "The course teaches the students the corporate social responsibility perspective and gives them real-life work experiences."

KPMG benefited in their recruiting efforts by exposing the students to the firm's culture, methodology and personnel. Four of the five students who participated accepted offers for internships from KPMG, and subsequently all four interns were offered full-time jobs upon graduation. The program will grow to 14 students this year, and new participating companies include Ernst and Young, Deloitte & Touche, Arthur Andersen, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Staples and One Beacon Street.

"This was a true collaboration between everyone- students, faculty, service learning areas, the partnering firm and community service groups," says Thibodeau. "Everyone needed to feel they were getting something out of this, and we paid particular attention to that."

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

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