And So Another Year Begins

One of the unusual things about having spent most of my career in academia is that I think in terms of semesters, and not calendar years.

Tomorrow is the first day of classes at my school, Villanova University, and I think of it as the beginning of a new year.

This will be the start of my 37th year at Villanova as an Accounting teacher. (Sorry if I caused some of you to doze off right there…)

When I first came to Villanova, we were graduating about 250 accounting majors per year. Now it is closer to 100 per year. If you were to draw a chart showing the number of accounting majors on one axis, and years on the other axis starting with 1986, it would appear there is a direct (negative) correlation between my arrival at Villanova and where we are today in terms of the number of accounting majors.

But I keep telling myself that correlation does not mean causation…

I typically teach freshmen both semesters, so tomorrow will be the first day of college for almost all of my students (there are some transfer students in my classes). I will do my best to get them off to a good start.

I have such fond memories of my four years at college, and I hope that my students have the same experience. It’s a wonderful time to start creating a lifetime of memories, friendships, and personal growth.

So to my students:

Ignite Change. Go Nova.

*image from Villanova


69 thoughts on “And So Another Year Begins

  1. “Correlation is not causation” is a great mantra! And Steve Jobs said “Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” I’d go with the quality of the students is better now!

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  2. As a charted accountant with 25 years of experience in mainly corporate finance [really! where did the time go?], I’d say there is a direct correlation between the number of accountancy graduates and the complete disaster that is our modern world wide economies. In my esteemed opinion, all politicians should have degrees in politics, accounting, and economics to even be considered as a candidate. Medieval literature and ancient history just don’t cut it for me in the world of running a country.

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    1. I agree that a business background can be helpful for those in politics. I also think it’s important for politicians to recognize their weakesses and surround themselves with people who can address those shortcomings…

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  3. You’re a good man, Jim! I know you’re the king of self-deprecating humor, but I’ll bet you’re a far better teacher than you’d like us to believe.

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  4. go for it Jim! you and i and your wife all work with people new to an educational arena. you are on the opposite end of the enterprise, but no doubt your students often need as much reassurance and support as our pre-k students.

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    1. I agree. part of my goal in the course is to help the students feel comfortable and let them know that there is a lot of support available when they need it, and that they should take advantage of such support…

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  5. Another year! I can remember my own days teaching in a public school classroom, but better yet I remember a pretty green freshman arriving at Montana State. Just as Nova’s students are blessed to have you as a teacher and mentor, I can think back to those who guided me.

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    1. Yes, these first days bring back many good memories of what the first day of each year was like when I wa as student. And like you, I have been blessed to have had many great teachers…


    1. there’s no doubt that the accounting courses are among the tougher courses that students take. at our school, and I think many other colleges as well, finance has become by far the most popular major, usually at the expense of accounting majors…

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  6. I see that your arrival correlates to increased development of accounting software.
    The same happened to my preferredcourse of study back in the mid 80s… but I saw it coming and prepped for it.

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  7. Jim, this was absolutely wonderful! Hats off to you for your many years of teaching, and more importantly for your genuine interest in your students. Even if the number of accounting majors has diminished, you are there to lead the way. That is pretty cool.

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  8. Wishing you a quiet, drama-free, happy first day of school! πŸ™‚ Charlotte starts school next week (last day of daycare was today) and I was beside myself with grief 😦 lol oy!

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