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Author: Cassandra Gray, NASBA Communications Manager
Posted: April 20, 2012

With NASBA's numerous products, services, acronyms and programs, it is important that NASBA members have a full understanding of all of the valuable offerings available to state boards of accountancy, licensees and the public. One proven method of enhancing member awareness is NASBA University, commonly referred to as "NASBA U."

Established in 2009, NASBA U was created as a way to formally welcome new state board executive directors (EDs) and staff to NASBA and introduce them to "all things NASBA." This 2-day orientation concept originated from Anita Holt, Executive Assistant to NASBA's President and CEO. As a result of her frequent interaction with NASBA members, Holt realized that an extension of the long-time new board member orientation program would greatly benefit state board executive directors and staff. This concept has proven successful over the past 3 years; and since NASBA U's inception, 30 participants (representing 23 jurisdictions) have graduated from the program.

Twice a year, state board staff travel to NASBA's headquarters in Nashville, TN to participate in NASBA U. This event gives participants an opportunity to tour NASBA's facilities and participate in a series of interactive educational sessions. Led by NASBA directors and staff, these sessions are the heart of NASBA U and are designed to inform attendees on the various ways NASBA can assist them and their board.

"With each NASBA U session, we try to provide EDs and staff with information and resources necessary to fulfill their responsibilities," said Patricia Hartman, CSRC Director and NASBA U Liaison.

Session topics often include CPA Examination Services, CPA Mobility, Learning Market, Accountancy Licensee Database, CPAverify.org, Accounting Licensing Library and many more.

Another rewarding aspect of NASBA U is the unique networking opportunity. NASBA employees interact with EDs and state board staff on a daily basis, but many NASBA employees and state board staff have never met in person. NASBA U links these two groups together for a beneficial networking experience. NASBA U participants not only meet NASBA leaders, but they also get a chance to connect a face with a recognizable voice; for example, in meeting the coordinator(s) responsible for providing CPA Examination Services to their state. These connections further strengthen the relationship between board staff and NASBA employees, which is a win-win for all parties involved.

Positive feedback from participants is an encouraging sign that the program is meeting its goals. So much so, that based on the overwhelming feedback, NASBA U is now open to all executive directors and board staff, regardless of tenure. A great example of how attending NASBA U can be beneficial to even the most tenured board member is Carol Preston of the Alabama State Board of Accountancy, a recent NASBA U grad. Preston is no stranger to NASBA. In fact, she has served as the Board's Executive Director for several years. Preston attended a NASBA U session this month to get refreshed and sharpen her learning on NASBA-related topics.

"Although I have been associated with the Alabama Board and NASBA for 12 years, I still gleaned a lot of valuable information from my participation in NASBA U," said Preston. "I especially enjoyed learning about all of resources available to state boards through the NASBA website."

Additional participants of the April 2012 NASBA U class include:

  • Pamela Ives Hill, CPA, Chair, Executive Directors Committee
  • Stephanie Jones, Wyoming Board of Certified Public Accountants
  • Toni Bright, Iowa Accountancy Examining Board

Stephanie Jones of the Wyoming Board boasted with excitement upon completing her orientation.

"It is so exciting when you get to attend an orientation and carry that same energy and excitement back to your board and begin to apply the information learned in your day-to-day tasks," shared Jones.

The next session of NASBA U will be September 13-14,2012. If you are a state board of accountancy ED or staff member and would like to attend NASBA U or have questions, please email Anita Holt.

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