Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
For over the last decade, the University of Mississippi’s E.H. Patterson School of Accountancy has slowly been climbing in the rankings. Currently the accountancy school ranks No. 1 in the SEC and No. 4 in the nation.
Dr. Dale L. Flesher, the school’s associate dean for the last 10 years, says the ranking is a real source of pride for the school.
“You realize that there is like a thousand accountancy programs in the U.S. So for us to be in the Top 25 is really an accomplishment and to go to Top 5 is really unbelievable; even the faculty has trouble believing that sometimes.”
So what makes the E.H. Patterson School of Accountancy so successful? Flesher feels that there are many factors that contribute to the schools success.
“Obviously we get great students coming in. We also have great support from our alumni they are among the best donors among university alumni. They are also a hands-on alumni so they help the faculty a lot.”
What Flesher didn’t say is accounting courses are also some of the toughest on campus. In ACCY 201; 44 percent of students had a D or an F at midterm this fall, and in ACCY 202 it was 43 percent. The only classes with higher percentages of struggling students are BISC 160 at 64 percent and BISC 206 at 46 percent.
So why is the accountancy program so difficult for students? Caitlin Young, a junior liberal studies major, believes it’s due to the lack of background in accounting.
“In high school you never really learned anything to accounting. Whereas in classes like history math and science you learn somewhat of a foundation but for accounting there is no foundation at all.”
Although a significant percentage of student struggles with Ds and Fs, Flesher said that the percentages of students in the ACCY courses with an A or B is just as high if not higher. He says they have few students in the C range.
Christine Goss, a junior criminal justice major, ended up dropping ACCY 201 because she said that the class was too difficult.
“In accounting you either get it or you don’t. After the first test I knew it was way over my head so I decided to drop.”
The accountancy program, being so difficult, tries to week out less dedicated students in the introductory courses to find those students who will be committed to the rigorous program. Flesher feels this is another major reason for the school’s success.
“It has a lot to do with competitiveness and lack of time spent by the students. I think accounting does require more time than other classes in terms of homework and studying but that is how we see who’s competitive and who’s not. Students are either extremely competitive or not competitive at all.”