New Purdue Program, CPA Center of Excellence® Take Similar Paths

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Both Using Competency-Based Approach for Students, Professionals

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Purdue's vision demonstrates the clear need for this type of education. It further validates the work underway by the CPA Center of Excellence® and proves competency-based learning is emerging as the preferred means of education for future generations.

Indiana is becoming a leader in the area of competency-based learning, and it's not only because of the work being done by the nationally recognized CPA Center of Excellence®. Purdue University's Polytechnic Institute (formerly its College of Technology) recently gained the final steps of approval to roll out a competency-based program for students.

According to news reports, the new program will require students who enroll to demonstrate expertise in eight broad competencies. The format of the program moves away from traditional credit hours, testing and grading to a learning concept that utilizes assessments to measure competency and offers digital badges upon successful completion. Purdue is believed to be the first major university in the United States to offer this type of competency-based education to undergraduate students.

Like Purdue, the CPA Center of Excellence®, powered by the Indiana CPA Society, is the first professional association in the United States to offer competency-based learning, assessments and digital badges for its members. Since it was established in 2014, the CPA Center of Excellence® has been offering competency-based learning with its series of online interactive courses based on the core competencies of the CPA profession.

"A competency-based approach is the foundation for the future of learning at both the student and professional levels," said Indiana CPA Society President & CEO Gary Bolinger, CAE. "While we have been breaking new ground in this area at the professional education level with the CPA Center of Excellence®, we applaud Purdue for their work in competency-based learning for higher education. Together, both of us representing the state of Indiana have achieved leader status and are paving the way for others to follow."

Purdue's program was first approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, and later by the regional accreditation agency and the Higher Learning Commission. A pilot program for students was part of the implementation process for the program on the university's West Lafayette main campus in 2014.

Similar to how Purdue proceeded, the CPA Center of Excellence®'s competency-based education modules were approved by the Indiana Board of Accountancy in 2014 for a pilot program. Up to two courses can count for a waiver of up to 16 hours of the required continuing professional education that CPAs in Indiana must acquire every three years.

Also, in 2015, the Board of Accountancy approved a rule proposal in which a competency-based course on ethics developed by the CPA Center of Excellence® would count for four hours of ethics credit for CPAs. The proposal is expected to be adopted by the Board of Accountancy in May, and then signed by the Governor, the Attorney General and the Indiana Economic Development Council over the summer making it official.

"Purdue's vision demonstrates the clear need for this type of education. It further validates the work that is underway by the CPA Center of Excellence® and proves that competency-based learning is emerging as the preferred means of education for future generations," said Jess Halverson Bowyer, strategist - CPA Center of Excellence®.

The CPA Center of Excellence® plans to continue developing new and higher level courses in the future. The current subject matter covers critical business skills such as leadership, communications, decision making and critical thinking, skills that have universal application and broad need among various business disciplines. As such, the courses and other products from the CPA Center of Excellence® are available to other professionals outside of the CPA profession.

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ABOUT THE CPA CENTER OF EXCELLENCE®

The CPA Center of Excellence® is a start-up business that provides leadership, best practices, research, support and training in the area of critical business skills for professionals, especially CPAs. It has five main components. The Insight HR & Career Development Toolkit, the handbook CPA Excellence A Quick Start Guide to Defining and Mastering Vital Skills for Success, a series of online interactive courses, a multi-featured online community, and member networks in which CPA colleagues interact with each other in person and online.

The components complement each other but are also beneficial when used separately. The toolkit is the starting point. The book then is a planning guide and framework for human resource strategies that contribute to talent development in non-technical skills such as communications and critical thinking. The online interactive courses have elements of social, competency-based, interactive and on-demand learning, and the knowledge they develop supports the rest of system. The online community and member networks enable CPAs to share knowledge and further develop skills.

The CPA Center of Excellence, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indiana CPA Society. Its products and services are relevant to CPAs not only in Indiana, but throughout the United States, as well as to accounting professionals globally.

For more information about the CPA Center of Excellence®, contact Jess Halverson Bowyer, strategist - CPA Center of Excellence®, at (317) 726-5027 or jess(at)cpacoe.com, or go to cpacoe.com. Indiana CPA Society President & CEO Gary Bolinger, CAE, is also available for interviews by contacting Dave Shatkowski at (317) 726-5022 or dshatkowski(at)incpas.org.

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Elise May

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