Public Relations and Marketing Communications
DUNWOODY, Ga–Jennifer Miller has heard the words from others. The 2022-23 Service Excellence Award recipient knows the perception of her field of choice well.
“I know students (and those outside the field) think accounting can be painful,” she said wryly. She acknowledges the discipline’s perception in her classes but wants to make sure it doesn’t define her Perimeter students’ experiences and studies in the field. “I tell them it’s going to be painful and boring sometimes … but I try not to make it painful and boring,” she said.
Miller teaches financial and managerial accounting courses on the Dunwoody Campus—both are required for students who have chosen a business pathway.
As an assistant accounting professor and lead faculty advisor to the Dunwoody Business Club since 2018, Miller works to introduce her students to a variety of career opportunities both within and outside of the field of accounting.
In 2018 and 2019, she started a partnership with University Career Services and Georgia State’s Robinson School of Business in a “Bridge to Robinson College” event, bringing representatives from the school to the Dunwoody Campus to talk about opportunities in hospitality, risk management and other areas of business. This year’s event on the Dunwoody Campus is Friday, April 21.
“There are so many different areas in the school of business –some I never knew that fell under the business school category,” she said. The career event is open to all Georgia State students, not just those following a business pathway, she said.
“I know that some students may not be sure of going downtown (to the Atlanta Campus) but when we can bring these great resources and people to our students and bring them ‘downtown’ metaphorically, they are more likely to transfer because they feel like they know someone,” she said.
In addition to the career events on campus, Miller also designed and piloted a successful college-to-career production accounting course this past summer with Warner Media to place students directly into the workforce as production accountants. So far, two of her students from the class have received job offers.
A former corporate accountant and certified public accountant, Miller uses her real-life corporate experience to connect the dots for her students.
“I want to bring accounting to life for my students. Being able to relate what they’re learning in class to real-world examples makes students listen,” she said.
While real-world examples help her cause, she also knows that accounting courses are notorious for their ‘DFW’ rates for students (drop, fail and withdrawal). To combat that, Miller was a lead collaborator with Georgia State’s Student Success office, helping to create a supplemental instructor program for students in financial accounting. The SI program in accounting has had an impact in improving success rates overall in the program.
Economics instructor Arathi Balangangadharan was one of the nominators for Miller. She wrote in Miller’s nomination letter: “Jennifer puts student success first. She also actively engages new faculty in the (business) club activities and trains them and helps them in organizing the planned events … this way all business faculty at Dunwoody are familiar with what it takes to plan and host a successful business club event. She serves as a role model for all of in the business department.”
Miller is honored by the award. “This is my dream job,” she said. I feel like it’s fun for me to work and talk to students, and I love the faculty I get to work with—and I feel like I have a chance to make a difference here. I love to see my students succeed and find themselves and figure out what they want to do. I love seeing them figure out the next step, and realize, ‘hey that’s what I want to do.’”
Story by Rebecca Rakoczy
Photo by Bill Roa