Students should expand their reach


by Shane Cox

Registration for fall 2012 is quickly approaching.

Students will begin meeting with their advisers to determine what courses they should take in order to fulfill requirements in their majors as well as the engaged citizenship curriculum.

As I meet with my advisees, many of whom are majoring in business administration and economics, I take the approach of encouraging them to branch outside of our department and explore other areas, given the chance.

This is what I recommend to not only my advisees, but to all students across campus. Students attending Simpson should explore all of the wonderful areas of education the college has to offer.

I often reflect upon my experience in college and my journey of obtaining a degree in accounting. I took many business courses, which provided a solid foundation for me, giving me the knowledge to obtain my Certified Public Accountant license and begin practicing in public accounting.

I also had the wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in other subject areas such as art, English and history. I can say wholeheartedly that through those courses, I gained a great deal of knowledge that shaped who I am while providing memories that will last a lifetime.

As I stated previously, these courses are what shaped me as an individual and sparked a passion in me for those areas of education.

I often hear individuals ask how they can apply these subjects to their lives. I have applied all of the liberal arts components of my education throughout my post-graduate life.

Yes, I was gainfully employed working on auditing financial statements and accounting for derivatives and investments, but I also had interests outside of the profession. I applied elements of my history courses while walking the streets of Dublin and standing atop the Arch de Triomph in Paris.

I could envision troops marching through the streets of Paris and occupying the Louvre.

I applied my knowledge of art while visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, where I had a base of knowledge behind why the artists painted a particular way. I recalled the information I gathered about the painting of the Mona Lisa as I observed it in awe.

I was able to bask in the glory of Mozart’s 250th anniversary celebrations in Vienna, Austria commemorating his success. The knowledge I gained through the liberal arts curriculum provided me with the drive to explore these areas, and I am grateful.

With the new engaged citizenship curriculum, the core requirements to fulfill the designations have been spread out through campus. For example, students may now fulfill their Written Communication requirement in not only an area such as English, but within their majors as well.

With all of the designations contained internally in departments, I often question whether this will prevent students from branching out across campus. This is not the intent of the curriculum, and I don’t feel that will be the case.

I assert that students should do everything within their power to take courses outside of their departments to broaden their base of knowledge and shape them into well-rounded citizens.

Course requirements in majors will provide you with the essential skills you will need to begin your careers or continue forward with you education. There is more than enough information contained within those courses to set you out on the right path.

If you come into a situation where you have the opportunity to take a course outside of your major and take a course in the area of art, history or business (ideally accounting), I encourage you to pursue that option with full force.

A well-rounded and broad education has been the heart of Simpson and will continue to be so in the future.

Shane Cox is an Assistant Professor of Accounting. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Simpson College in 2005 and his Masters of Business Administration from Drake University in 2010. He is a veteran of the United States Navy.