Elected Faculty Council
January 28, 2011
Members attending: Lopo Rego (chair, marketing)
Paul Hribrar (accounting)
Dan Kovenock (economics)
Maria Kraimer (secretary, M&0)
Chuck Whiteman (Associate Dean, ex officio)
Jeff Ohlmann (MS)
Others in attendance: Lon Moeller, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs
Kevin Den Adel, Director undergrad accounting program
Joyce Berg, Professor of Accounting
Present via conference call: Doug DeJong, Accounting Department, DEO
Members absent: Erik Lie (vice-chair, finance)
Meeting called to order at 10:05am
Approved minutes of November 19, 2010 meeting.
1. Accounting department’s proposal for changing accounting undergraduate program
Per their memorandum dated January 9b, 2011, The Accounting department is proposing to revise their
admission requirements, effective Fall 2011, as follows:
1) A minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.00 and a minimum grade of B- in 6A:1 and 6A:2.
(EFC Secretary note: this is the same as current requirements.)
2) A passing score on the writing assessment test administered by the Department of Accounting
prior to admission into the program.
(EFC Secretary note: currently, the writing test is taken after admission into program)
3) For international students, as well as U.S. citizens and permanent residents whose first language
is not English, a minimum (on-line) TOEFL composite score of 80 (50th percentile) with
minimum subscores in Reading (17), Writing (17), Listening (17) and Speaking (17) prior to
admission into the program.
(EFC Secretary note: currently, UI requires composite score of 71, but Doug’s understanding is
that the university will be raising the minimum TOEFL composite and sub- scores to these
4) For international students, as well as U.S. citizens and permanent residents whose first language
is not English and who pass the writing assessment test, a passing score on the oral accounting
assessment test administrated by the ESL (English Second Language) group. The oral accounting
assessment test must be successfully completed prior to admission into the program.
(EFC Secretary note: this is a new requirement)
Kevin Den Adel first provided an overview of the Accounting department’s writing assessment
program that is currently completed by all of their undergraduate majors after admission into the
accounting major. Kevin highlighted that English proficiency (both written and verbal skills) is
an area of distinction for the accounting program with AACSB recently identifying their writing
program as a “Best Practice” among all accounting programs. Currently, all accounting majors
take a writing test as an initial assessment of their writing skills. Feedback is provided to the
students and students continue to complete writing assignments throughout their coursework.
Upon graduation, student surveys indicate that 80% of them are satisfied with the writing
program. In addition, corporate recruiters helped develop the writing program and consider it to
provide Iowa accounting students with a distinct advantage in the employment market. Thus,
our accounting department is nationally recognized by the profession and recruiters as one in
which the students have strong writing skills. It makes our Accounting program distinct.
Joyce Berg added that verbal communication skills are especially important for junior and senior
accounting students. In particular, students are encouraged to participate in professional activities
such as volunteering for the “community tax preparation” program, which requires that students
can verbally communicate with community members. Students are also encouraged to attend
“meet the firm” events in which students have opportunities to socialize with employees from
accounting firms. Some recruiters that participate in the “mock interviews” with the accounting
department have mentioned that they are increasingly conducting these mock interviews with
international students who are more interested in practicing their English, than in practicing their
Doug DeJong then provided some background statistics. The number of international students in
the accounting program has doubled from 2009-2010. This largely reflects the increase in the
number of international students admitted to the University (2006 = 30 freshman international
students; 2007 = 60; 2008 = 180; 2009 = 260; 2010 = 380). Approximately half of the
international students admitted to the university eventually enter the College of Business, and
about 25% of B-school majors are Accounting majors. Based on the projected growth of
international admissions, Doug estimates that in 2012, 1/3 of Accounting majors may be
international students. Doug then summarized some of the statistics provided in the
Memorandum “Proposed Entrance Requirements, Department of Accounting – Undergraduate
Program, drafted January 9b, 2011.” Doug also noted that the University will be adopting
provision 3 (regarding TOEFL score minimums for admission) in the Accounting department’s
proposed requirements for admission.
In sum, the Department’s proposed new admission standards are designed to allow the
department to ensure that all international students meet the department’s high standards for
verbal and written communication. These high standards help accounting majors obtain
employment upon graduation.
Lon Moeller then addressed the “legality” of provisions 3 and 4, which set differential
admissions standards for domestic and international students. Lon felt an argument could be
made either way as to whether or not the disparate treatment was justified (and therefore legal).
Lopo then opened it up for questions from the EFC members.
Chuck asked if provision 4 (requirement that international and ESL domestic students pass an
oral test) is duplicating what is already done at the university level when international students
are first admitted. Doug and Kevin were not sure how the university scores the English
Proficiency Evaluation (EPE) test for new admits, and did not know if that would be useful
information to determine eligibility for Accounting department. It was suggested that the
Accounting department further investigate whether the university’s EPE test scores could be
used in lieu of provision 4 (Lopo noted that 40/46 current international students in accounting
would have taken the EPE upon admission to Iowa).
Chuck also noted that provision 4 assumes it is not possible for students who do not pass the
proficiency test prior to admission to Accounting (in junior year) cannot gain these oral or
writing skills by the time they graduate. Doug’s response was that a certain level of proficiency,
at “day 1” is necessary to be successful in the accounting major. It is only a 2-year program.
Maria and Jeff then questioned whether this should really be a College-level issue, rather than
having one department set their own admission standards. Maria raised concerns about the effect
of provisions 2 and 4 on the other departments in the College: students who do not pass the
writing and oral tests (i.e., those with the lower levels of English proficiency) will then have to
seek a major in one of the other departments. If each department were to eventually develop their
own admission standards similar to Accounting, then, theoretically, international students may be
admitted to the College of Business, but not meet admissions to any major. Jeff and Maria noted
that verbal and written communication skills are important to all business majors; it is not a
unique issue for Accounting.
Lopo then reminded us that Ramji Balakrishnan sent an email to EFC members in which he
outlined his concerns with the proposed admissions requirements. His key concern is that
provisions 3 and 4 apply different standards to international members, which are already UI
students. As noted above, Lon felt it was an ambiguous situation and university’s general
counsel would have to address it.
Finally, Maria asked how many students currently in the accounting program would not have
met the proposed admission requirements. Using their current standard for a “passing” score on
the written assessment and the scores students obtained on their initial writing test, Kevin
concluded that 4% (11/266) of the domestic students would not have met the admissions
requirements, and 64% (28/44) of the international students would not have met the
requirements. We recognized though that students might have prepared more fully for the initial
writing test if it was required for admissions into the program.
At this point, there were no further questions or comments. Lopo then called for a
recommendation from EFC.
RECOMMENDATION: A vote was taken for the recommendation that the Accounting
department go forward with seeking further approval for provisions 1-4 in the Proposed
Requirements for Admission into the Undergraduate Accounting Program (per their draft dated
January 9b, 2011). The vote was 4 “yes”, 1 “no” and 1 “absentee.” Comment [LLR1]: Maria: I believe that the only
“voters” are the EFC representatives. Erik Lie was
“absentee”, everyone else voted “yes”, so I’m just
EFC also recommended that the idea of adopting similar requirements for admission into the wondering who was the “no”.
College of Business be discussed at a future EFC meeting. Deleted: 8
The meeting adjourned at 11:35am. Next meeting is February 25 from 10:00-11:30am Deleted: