Fraud EDge

Strengthening the link between the classroom and practice

Much has been written about the "disconnect" between academia and real-world practice in many fields. While it's important for students to have foundational knowledge — often gained from textbooks and readings — it's become equally important for them to engage in experiential activities.

Future fraud fighters, whatever their specialties, benefit greatly from having opportunities to practice skills such as interviewing and expert-witness testimony. Who better than a practitioner to help bring these activities to the classroom? In this issue, I'll revisit some tried-and-true activities, add a few twists and offer some suggestions for getting involved in new ways.

Case studies

Case studies that allow students to develop their own solutions to problems are excellent tools to use in the classroom. I covered this topic in detail in an earlier Fraud EDge column. New cases are constantly becoming available through the ACFE, the American Accounting Association, the Institute of Internal Auditors and other professional organizations.

Involving practitioners and alumni in role-playing adds an additional dimension to the written case. It's been my experience that they're very interested in participating and enjoy the experience. Some of the best actors are former students who completed the cases as part of their course work, are very familiar with the material and often embellish their roles.

Students enjoy the challenge of interviewing suspects to see if they can identify the perpetrator and obtain a confession. Participating outsiders also provide an additional incentive for students to be well-prepared because they might be future employers or colleagues.

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