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Asking Case Study Questions Differently in AC435 Ethics for Accountants By Jolene A. Lampton, Ph.D. In fulfillment of watching CETL’s Videos on Adult Education 1 Asking Case Study Questions Differently in AC435 Ethics for Accountants In fulfillment of viewing the CETL videos on adult education – “Teaching Today’s Learner,” I am requesting certification for having viewed this video. I am also submitting the case study used in my AC435 Ethics for Accountants class and assignments will change for future classes in an attempt to reach the learners in my class. We all know that dating in the office may not be in the best interest of organizations. Putting that dilemma in an accounting firm where one female employee reports to the partner on an audit engagement poses difficult challenges in the audit firm. In my AC435 Ethics for Accountants class, I facilitate a case study discussion called Giles and Regas. As stated in the case study, Giles is a 35-year-old partner in the accounting firm Saduga & Mihca. Sue Regas is a 25-year-old senior accountant in the same firm. Both Giles and Regas know the firm’s policy on dating. Although it is acceptable for peers to date, the firm does not permit two members of different ranks within the firm to date. A partner should not date a senior in the firm anymore than a senior should date a junior staff accountant. If such dating does occur and eventually leads to marriage, one of the two must resign because of the conflict of interests. Giles and Regas have tried to be discreet about their relationship because they do not want to create suspicions regarding their relationship. In the case study, while most of the staff seem to know about Giles and Regas, it is not common knowledge among the partners that the two of them are dating. Perhaps that is why Regas was assigned to work on the audit of CCA Industries for a second year even though Giles is the supervising partner on the engagement. The seriousness of the case study came forward in ways that such unsuspecting things do . . . like when a friend inadvertently discovered flowers had been sent by Regas to Giles with the signature “Love, Poochie” or when they were 2 seen by a client having dinner together. This obviously was an ethical dilemma that is the subject of the case study. In the past, I asked students to answer questions at the end of the case study. Now that I have viewed “Teaching Today’s Learner”, I will change the strategy for Lessons Learned from the case study. Previously, I asked students to write a paper on Lessons Learned from the case study and allowed them to convey their lessons learned with no specific questions asked. Now, in order to change my assignments to appeal to the real issue in the case, I will ask students to answer the following question in their Lessons Learned assignment: How would you draft the firm’s policy on dating and relationships in attest engagements? Further, what are the implications if such relationships are permitted among staff? The question is now more empowering and direct to today’s adult learners. The question now addresses the real issue of dating in attest engagements, an important concept in the case study. It appeals to students in that it now requires that students structure policies for nepotism and/or dating and relationships in accounting firms. And, it teaches a powerful lesson to students about what can happen in the event of such relationships, which can be a cause for conflict of interest. The revised question asks the “right question at the right time,” a skill mentioned in Education by Judgment, a book on case study skills in discussion classes. That book prompted my revision of the questions to get to the “right questions” quickly for today’s multi-generational learners. The new questions do not ramble through unnecessary facts; rather it gets to the nexus of the dilemma – that is, to ask that students redesign a new policy for nepotism when they learn of the realities of what can happen in modern-day financial audits. In summary, through viewing CETL’s video on “Teaching Today’s Learner,” and while reading the book on discussion leadership Education by Judgment, I made the decision to revise the assignment on the case study “Giles and Regas” in order to directly ask the “right questions” of today’s adult learner. Asking the “right questions” at the “right time” will 3 better facilitate discussion on the real issue of the case study. Mastering the skills of questioning is a lifelong process for discussion teachers with gains that are enduring and substantial. If teachers deepen knowledge and systematize their practice of these skills, better ways to communicate the “what” and “why” are found. 4 Bibliography Christensen, Roland C. (1991). Education by Judgment. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Mintz, Steven M. and Roselyn E. Morris (2008). Ethical Obligations and Decision Making in Accounting. New York: McGraw Hill-Irwin. 5 6
"Asking Case Study Questions Differently"