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APSU College of Business partnership gives students real-world training

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Last fall, the Austin Peay State University College of Business decided to do things a little differently with its income tax class for accounting majors. Instead of having a faculty member lead the course, the college brought in a tax attorney from the local CPA firm Stone, Rudolph and Henry to teach students about real-world tax filing scenarios.

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Last fall, the Austin Peay State University College of Business decided to do things a little differently with its income tax class for accounting majors. Instead of having a faculty member lead the course, the college brought in a tax attorney from the local CPA firm Stone, Rudolph and Henry to teach students about real-world tax filing scenarios.

            “One of their tax attorneys taught the class of about 20 students, teaching them what they need to know about tax law, but also how to use the tax software, which is proprietary software,” Dr. Susan Cockrell, associate dean of the APSU College of Business, said. “At the end of the semester, they offered internships to eight or nine of those students.”

            The top students in the class worked as paid interns under the supervision of Stone, Rudolph and Henry’s tax professionals. The partnership with the CPA firm provided the students with a transformative learning experience that will likely help them succeed once they leave APSU.

            “The advantage of this class is it gives our students real experience,” Cockrell said. “They like getting that experience and being paid for it. And knowing the software they’ll use when they get out of school is very beneficial to them.”

           The partnership was so successful last year that the College of Business offered the course again this semester. Another 20 students have enrolled in the tax class taught by Jennifer Thayer, a tax attorney with Stone, Rudolph and Henry, and the top students will be offered internships with the firm next spring.

           “It was a wonderful opportunity to go through the Stone, Rudolph and Henry Income Tax class,” Amany Elraheb, a senior accounting major at APSU, said. “Among the choices we have going through the accounting concentration are the various options when it comes to what we actually want to do in our careers. Receiving the internship gave me real-world experience in doing income tax, which helped me hone in on what exactly I wanted to do with my career.”

            Elraheb and her fellow students worked 180 hours with the firm, from January until April 16. In that time, they saw first-hand what they would face as accounting professionals.

            “This integration of the firm’s resources with the college created a positive, life-changing learning experience for the college’s students,” Dr. Bill Rupp, dean of the APSU College of Business, said. “Currently, this partnership is being reviewed for possible applications in other areas.”

            The college is looking to form partnerships with other local businesses, including insurance companies, that can give APSU business students a head start with their professional careers. For more information, contact the APSU College of Business at 931-221-7674.

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Photo cutline: Local tax attorney Jennifer Thayer (center) teaches an income tax class for the APSU College of Business. (Photo by Taylor Slifko/APSU).