UM Accountancy School Programs Ranked Nationally
By Tyler Carter
Dr. Mark Wilder is the Dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy here at the University of Mississippi. Wilder graduated with his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, obtained his M.B.A. from the University of South Alabama, and his Ph.D. in accounting from Florida State University. Wilder is a Certified Public Accountant and has served as the Dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy since 1993. Wilder teaches classes as well as balances the day to day operations within the school.
In the most recent annual national rankings of accounting programs (released in late August 2013), all three of the University of Mississippi’s accountancy degree programs were ranked number one in the SEC and in the top 10 nationally. The undergraduate program was ranked fourth in the nation; the Master’s program was ranked fifth, with the Ph.D. program coming in at number 8. Wilder is very pleased about the strides the School is making and attributes the success, in large part, to the many efforts of the faculty in being committed to having a top rate program. He noted, “What cannot be emphasized enough is the great work of our faculty in helping our program and students. They work together towards our common goal and vision of having one of the top programs in the country.”
Wilder noted that in addition to great faculty, other factors have contributed to the rise of the program. One of these has been the growth in private support over the past 15 years or so. The School of Accountancy’s endowment has grown substantially in recent years and plays an extremely important role in providing support for faculty and scholarships for students. In addition, just over a decade ago the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) located their library here effectively creating the National Library of the Accounting Profession on the University of Mississippi’s campus. Several other top universities were in contention for the AICPA library, but the University of Mississippi was chosen to serve as its new home. Wilder also said that having the AICPA library on the Ole Miss campus significantly enhanced the national visibility and reputation of the School of Accountancy.
Some of the core values of the school for many years have been a strong commitment to high quality teaching and helping students. In addition, the school’s research profile continues to get stronger each year. Wilder noted that in his eyes, “The school needs to continue on our current path of enhancing our research reputation, but doing so while maintaining the steadfast commitment to excellence in the classroom that has been the hallmark of the University of Mississippi’s accountancy program for decades.”
Students who graduate from the University of Mississippi’s accountancy program are either working for large accounting firms, CEOs, CFO’s, executives, or either starting their own businesses. This can be attributed to the foundation they received here. Jessie Austin, former accountancy student spoke highly of Dr. Wilder and his staff.
“Dean Wilder and his staff really do take an interest in your success in the classroom and in the work field,” said Austin. “My professors pushed me throughout my undergraduate career and they encouraged me on into my graduate program.”
The accountancy program here is one of the best and that can be seen by the ranking each level of education earned. Wilder knows that great strides were taken before his tenure and simply wants to continue moving in the right direction.
“We have a great foundation of success that was started here decades ago,” said Wilder. “We have outstanding professors who are thoroughly committed to teaching and mentoring students. Our students are also outstanding and work hard and go on to have successful careers. And our alumni generously support our efforts and are extremely loyal. All these things work together to help us have one of the top accounting programs in the nation.”