University News

WIU Accountancy Student Group Garners National Awards

April 30, 2009

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University's Student Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants (SCIMA) has been named the winner of the Institute of Management Accountants' (IMA) Clark Johnson Achievement Award. This prestigious award recognizes a student chapter whose efforts best reflect the characteristics of a great leader like Clark Johnson, who was the chief financial officer of Johnson & Johnson from 1988–1997.

According to Amy Ford, an instructor in WIU's accountancy department and SCIMA faculty adviser, the Clark Johnson Achievement Award program began in 2003, and the WIU chapter's receipt of it marks the first time a college or university has won the award twice. The first time Western's SCIMA won the award was in 2004.

"The Clark Johnson Achievement Award is designed to recognize a student chapter whose efforts best reflect outstanding leadership through innovation, organizational development and interdependent partnerships," said Ford. "This chapter demonstrates a mastery of those needed skill sets in a complex environment in which the students' best interests remain their primary focus. To achieve this award, student chapters not only have to demonstrate these necessary skill sets, but they should also have strategic-action plans that support this level of success for the student chapter for years to come."

Ford noted that Western's SCIMA submission was the chapter's Fall 2008 "Building Bonds" project.

"Our objective was to add something to each business meeting to get members working together. SCIMA's vision for the project was, 'Building bonds to become the premier business student organization at Western Illinois University,'" Ford explained. "We adapted our existing mentoring program to focus on team-building competitions to build bonds within our organization," she added.

According to Ford, SCIMA's president Greg Piotrowski (Chicago, IL), senior, accountancy major, led the student initiative.

"We held a variety of competitions to develop our skills as business students, build our team skills and have fun," said Piotrowski. "Events included a name-this-program competition, get-to-know-your-members competition, current events competition and a baby picture contest."

In addition, Ford said the students integrated the Building Bonds project into other chapter events.

"For example, each semester SCIMA holds a food drive for the Macomb Salvation Army. We held a labeling contest with our building bonds teams to see which team could get its food drive bags ready first. At the end of the semester, the team with the most points earned a dinner at a local restaurant paid for by SCIMA," she noted.

Members of WIU's SCIMA will receive the Clark Johnson Achievement Award at the Institute of Management Accountants' 90th Annual Conference in Denver, CO, this June.

In addition to receiving the Clark Johnson award, WIU's SCIMA members will be recognized as part of an "Outstanding Student Chapter" in Denver.

"This award is given to the top four student chapters in the nation every year. WIU's SCIMA also won the Best Practices Award for Best Strategic Plan," Ford added.

Rounding out the honors to WIU's SCIMA in the IMA 2008 contests is the Student Video Case competition. WIU's SCIMA team was selected as one of the "Elite 8" in the competition. Team members included Rachel Kallenbach (Mt. Sterling, IL), senior, accountancy major; Caitlin McCabe (St. Charles, IL), junior, accountancy major; Scott Perkins (Moline, IL), senior, accountancy major; and Thomas Reynolds (Barry, IL), junior, accountancy major.

For more information, contact Ford at (309) 298-1152 or Learn more about SCIMA at

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