News & Events | Office of the Provost | Wake Forest University

Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) program stays No. 1

The Wake Forest Schools of Business Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) program continues to boast a 100 percent job placement rate and attract candidates from across the country and around the world.

Victoria “Tori” Stewart grew up in Medina, Ohio, and was initially attracted to Wake Forest as an undergraduate student.

“During my junior year of high school, my dad and I researched a lot of schools.  We were looking somewhere toward the South, and we wanted a good business school.  I visited a lot of schools in North Carolina and South Carolina, but I just fell in love with Wake Forest’s campus,” she said.

Stewart didn’t specifically come for the accounting program, but she quickly learned that was the place for her.

“I’ve always been a math person,” said Stewart.  “Once I was accepted into the Schools of Business, the accounting program just really seemed attractive with its internship program, high job placement and success rate on the CPA exam.”

One of the draws of the Wake Forest MSA program is a required nine- to 10-week professional internship, typically conducted during a student’s second semester of study. The internship has proven not only to deepen students’ understanding of their coursework but enhance full-time job opportunities.

“I completed an internship with PwC [PricewaterhouseCoopers] in Charlotte, which gave me the opportunity to work directly with three of their clients,” says Stewart. “It was an awesome experience to work for a Big 4 accounting firm while still a student, and at the completion of my internship I accepted an offer to work for PwC full-time after I graduate this year.”

In a market where finding a job is of paramount concern, every 2012 graduate of the MSA program received and accepted a job offer prior to graduation, with many choosing among multiple offers.  In Stewart’s case, in addition to having accepted an offer from PwC, she is currently in the running for a spring internship with the Financial Accounting Standards Board post-graduate technical assistant program.

A large draw to Wake Forest’s program is the 100 percent placement rate it boasts for nearly every year since the first class graduated in 1997. The vocational success of Wake Forest MSA graduates is hardly surprising, given that Wake Forest has held down the top pass rate on the CPA exam a record 10 times, including in 2012. Last year, Wake Forest’s pass rate exceeded the pass rates at 792 other institutions with 10 or more candidates sitting for the exam.

Wake Forest University, which also boasts the #1 pass rate for large programs, is considered a premier recruiting school for the Big 4 accounting firms. Wake Forest MSA graduates draw an average starting salary of more than $53,000, and under the “MSA Advantage” program, they also have the opportunity to further advance their careers by completing an MBA degree at Wake Forest in just 12 months.

“The success and growth of our accounting program over the roughly 25 years I’ve been here boils down to what I would describe as a restless pursuit of excellence,” said Jack Wilkerson, Professor of Accountancy and Senior Associate Dean, Accountancy Programs. “The faculty, staff, students, and alumni of this program refuse to take our successes for granted. This characteristic permeates, epitomizes, and describes our culture better than any other feature of our program.”

The MSA program is AACSB accredited in business, with a special accreditation in accounting. Students in the MSA program have the option of specializing in one of three career tracks: Assurance Services, Tax Consulting and Financial Transaction Services. They can also take courses in other areas of interest, including business, law and entrepreneurship.

“I truly believe Wake’s MSA program is the quintessential accounting program,” says Stewart. “It combines excellent faculty with a demanding curriculum, an internship requirement and thorough CPA exam preparation, making it ideal for diligent students committed to learning. I will graduate confident that Wake has prepared me well for the working world.”

Wake Forest is currently accepting applications for admission to the Master of Science in Accountancy program. Learn more at business.wfu.edu/msa.

Women’s Center launched

The University enhances its efforts toward creating a diverse, inclusive, and inquisitive community this month with the opening of its new Women’s Center.

“Gender conversations are integral to developing mind, body and spirit,” says Paige Meltzer, director of the Center, “and can help us forge connections within our communities, improve campus culture, and nurture women’s potential. Women who feel respected and empowered build strong communities, strong families, and strong relationships — personal and professional.”

Meltzer, who comes to Wake Forest from Harvard University, holds a doctorate in women’s history and is an advocate for public policy initiatives that create a culture of inclusivity. She sees the Center as a place of collaboration and networking and plans to let campus constituents shape the Center’s priorities. But she does anticipate promoting female leadership in student government and other campus organizations, professional development, and body wellness.

The Center’s work affects all members of the Wake Forest community. “We may not always think about it, but women’s rights affect men and families and society. The Women’s Center is a resource that can help us to recognize gender inequality and promote change on campus and beyond.” Those are conversations for all community members, regardless of gender.

Others share Meltzer’s philosophy. The Wake Forest Women’s Forum, a grassroots organization of faculty and staff, has worked to promote women’s issues within the University since 2004. Theatre professor J.K. Curry, co-director of the Forum, says the success of the work-life balance taskforce in securing an improved parental leave policy at Wake Forest is an example of how what is often perceived as a women’s issue affects men as well.

“For many years, maternity leave was not available to all women. Today, at Wake Forest, parental leave applies to adoptions, as well as to births, and it’s available to both men and women,” Curry says. “For faculty, it includes a semester of leave from teaching. The policy gives academic departments the resources to cover leaves with minimal disruption and without burdening other faculty members.”

Wanda Balzano, assistant professor and director of the women’s and gender studies program at Wake Forest, looks forward to the Center raising visibility for women’s issues through events such as the Human Rights Clothesline, which for several years has been spearheaded by faculty member Patricia Willis. The Center will provide a home for students with the desire to advocate for gender equity in the community — a role the academic department has been challenged to fill up until now.

“The Women’s Center is a clear commitment by the University to create a campus climate for women and men that is mutually beneficial. Its resources will complement what happens in the classroom, ” says Balzano.

Connecting the curricular and the co-curricular is high on Meltzer’s agenda. “I’m excited about bridging the classroom and the real world,” she says. “Developing supportive relationships between women and among members of the campus will help us learn to pause and reflect on how gender informs the way we think about ourselves and how we behave towards each other.”

The Women’s Center follows the establishment of the LGBTQ Center in September 2011.

Announcing the Faculty Fellows

The Faculty Fellows initiative is set to be launched fall 2013.  In early January, the inaugural group of Faculty Fellows was announced.  Together, those selected will work to increase faculty-student engagement, integrate intellectual experiences with social experiences, and enhance the sense of community at Wake Forest.

Senior Faculty Fellows:

Katy Harriger, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Politics and International Affairs

Barbara Lentz, Associate Professor of Legal Analysis, School of Law

John Llewellyn, Associate Professor, Department of Communication

José Villalba, Associate Professor, Department of Counseling

Mary Dalton, Professor, Department of Communication

Cindy Gendrich, Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance

Associate Faculty Fellows:

Tanya Marsh, Assistant Professor, School of Law

Susan Rupp, Associate Professor, Department of History

Hu Womack, Associate Librarian, Instruction and Outreach

Susan Faust, Adjunct Instructor, Department of Communication

Evelyn Williams, Professor of Practice, Schools of Business, and Associate Vice President, Leadership Development

Holly Brower, Associate Professor, Schools of Business

Nina Lucas, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance

Steve Gunkel, Lecturer, Department of Sociology

Ana-María Wahl, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Swati Basu, Research Associate Professor, Department of Physics

Ananda Mitra, Professor, Department of Communication

Jacque Fetrow, Dean of the College and Reynolds Professor of Computational Biophysics

Sam Gladding, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Counseling

Undergraduate Research Day

Bruce King, Associate Provost for Research, offers his thoughts on the sixth annual Undergraduate Research Day which took place on September 28. The event is sponsored by The URECA Center – Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities. For more information on the event, please visit http://college.wfu.edu/ureca/researchday2012.

…One of my favorite days on campus is Undergraduate Research Day held in conjunction with Parent’s Weekend in the Fall. This event, sponsored by the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Center (URECA) showcases the incredible diversity of independent projects from many different disciplines completed by Wake Forest’s undergraduate students . Two things really stand out to me-1) how many Wake Forest undergraduate students participate (many supported by URECA’s WFU Summer Undergraduate Fellowships) and 2) how many different departments and schools are represented. This event really demonstrates the extent that research and the creative process plays in a Wake Forest education. The excitement generated by the students at this event is evident as soon as you walk in the room. A similarly exciting Research Day is held in the spring that highlights the accomplishments of our graduate students and post-doctoral researchers (March 21, 2013) at the Bridger Field house… – Bruce King, Associate Provost for Research

Semester Online Consortium

Last fall, Wake Forest joined peer institutions across the country in a ‘Semester Online’ consortium. Semester Online will allow students to work towards their degree while fulfilling other commitments but will not serve as a substitute for on-campus classroom education. In a letter to the Wake Forest community, below, Provost Rogan Kersh and Dean of the College Jacque Fetrow gave more insight into this opportunity:

Dear Reynolda Campus Faculty, Staff and Students,

Early this fall semester, Wake Forest had the opportunity to join a new ‘Semester Online’ consortium of top-tier colleges and universities, in collaboration with 2U (formerly 2Tor). We decided to join consortium schools – Brandeis University, Duke University, Emory University, Northwestern University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Notre Dame, University of Rochester, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University in St. Louis – in helping to shape and develop Semester Online, which is intended to offer undergraduate students the opportunity to take rigorous, online courses for credit from some of the country’s top schools.

Today Semester Online was publicly announced, though many details of the program remain to be discussed among Wake Forest faculty, staff, and students as well as consortium schools.

It is important to note that Semester Online is not meant as a substitute for on-campus classroom education. Instead, the program will allow students to continue taking classes towards a degree while working, traveling or managing personal commitments – from studying abroad to fulfilling family obligations – that might otherwise mean putting their studies on hold.

Semester Online courses will feature the same faculty and curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and they are delivered live on an interactive, online platform. Through a virtual classroom, students will collaborate with peers and be guided by renowned professors at consortium schools.

We all embrace the face-to-face, residential college model as foundational to a Wake Forest education. At the heart of our liberal arts commitment is helping our students develop the abilities to write effectively, discuss rationally, create original work, solve problems imaginatively, and learn independently – in short, to live a fulfilling, reflective life. Technology can be a valuable supplement to this commitment; it is vital that we continue exploring how best to use its fruits as a tool in delivering a Wake Forest-style education.

We would be glad to hear your thoughts on how best to help shape Semester Online, or other online-learning activities, as we continue to discuss its evolution with other Consortium members and 2U. Please feel free to contact us with questions and suggestions.

Appreciatively,

Rogan Kersh,
Provost

Jacque Fetrow
Dean of the College