Let’s face it: Teaching students in a virtual environment isn’t easy. Many educators have contended with numerous obstacles keeping students interested, challenged, and motivated during the difficult times of the past few years. One professor, Kimberly Zahller, Ph.D., CMA, is finding innovative ways to engage her students by using resources from IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants). 

Zahller is an assistant professor of accounting at Appalachian State University, located in Boone, N.C. She teaches several courses, including managerial accounting, cost accounting, and advanced cost accounting. Zahller also serves as an IMA Campus Advocate and is the faculty advisor for the school’s IMA student chapter.

Zahller and a group of students were able to attend the 2019 IMA Student Leadership Conference in Charlotte. Their IMA student chapter, in conjunction with Appalachian State’s Accounting Department, also has been able to attract speakers from businesses across the country. Although the school has a strong program in auditing and tax, with Big 4 firms recruiting on campus, there’s clearly a need for more awareness about the management accounting career path. 

Zahller has kept her students connected to management accounting by incorporating a variety of IMA resources into her classroom teaching. She tells students about the availability of the CMA Scholarship and has nominated numerous students for it. She uses case studies from the IMA Educational Case Journal (IECJ®), articles from Management Accounting Quarterly and Strategic Finance, and podcasts from Count Me In, IMA’s podcast series. In addition, in her more advanced courses, Zahller assigns courses from IMA’s Education Center.

“I’ve used a variety of the courses that IMA offers to help me teach students about the general business environment, soft skills, and even technical matters,” she explained. Zahller described an impressive list of IMA courses she has assigned students in her advanced cost accounting course—everything from courses like “Cybersecurity!” “Emotional Intelligence,” and “Sustainability and Value Creation” to more technical subjects like “U.S. GAAP vs. IFRS” and IMA's RPA Series.

“It’s great, because these courses contain up-to-date content, and they cover topics that are typically not included in our textbook. IMA also now offers most of these courses for free to student members, which makes them cost effective and readily accessible.”

For her more ambitious students, Zahller also gives them a chance to earn extra credit by taking the IMA Data Analytics & Visualization Fundamentals Certificate® course, which offers a digital badge and a certificate of completion.

For more information on these and other IMA resources for the classroom, please visit IMA Resources for Academics on the IMA website.