BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


Alan Lord to assist Romanians as Fulbright Scholar

A dean at the Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest wants his college to be the first in Eastern Europe to adopt a global model curriculum for information systems auditing and control.


Dr. Alan Lord

Early next year, the principal author of the curriculum document, Dr. Alan Lord, the Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting at BGSU, will be in the Romanian capital to help make it happen.

Lord, who is also the director of Bowling Green’s master of accountancy program, will spend about five months in Romania as a Fulbright Scholar. While there, from mid-January to mid-June, he expects to teach research techniques to doctoral students and international financial accounting issues to both graduate and undergraduate students, in addition to his work on curriculum development.

“Despite the globally expanding usage of information technology systems in business, there is a dearth of educational programs to train future professionals in how to govern, monitor, secure and audit information systems,” Lord wrote in his project statement for the Fulbright award.

For four years, he was international academic relations chair for the Information Systems Auditing and Control Association (ISACA), which in 2004 published the model curriculum developed by the task force he chaired. BGSU was among the first institutions to adopt the curriculum and, of the 13 that have done so worldwide, remains the only one with both graduate and undergraduate programs in compliance, Lord said.

Faculty in the College of Accounting and Management Information Systems (MIS) at the Bucharest academy have been working on a series of courses that will contain the material for a program that meets the ISACA standards. Dean Pavel Nastase “wants to have a program in alignment with this model curriculum,” which integrates traditionally separate accounting and MIS programs, Lord explained.

BGSU’s Department of Accounting and MIS “is one of the world leaders in information systems auditing and control education,” he said. Controls and auditing, along with security, are the components in the blended equation that, applied to business information systems, is designed to keep hackers out and files safe, Lord noted. “The demand for people in this area is phenomenally greater than the supply,” he said.

He said Nastase wasn’t aware of BGSU’s prominence in the field when they first met in Bucharest several years ago. By November 2006, however, when the dean heard his American counterpart present a paper in Istanbul, Turkey, an ISACA chapter had opened in Romania and Nastase knew about Bowling Green’s standing, Lord said.

The Romanian subsequently asked Lord to speak at the AMIS 2007 conference—he’ll be a keynote speaker again this summer for AMIS 2008—and at the conference, invited him to spend some time at the academy. That, Lord said, was when he started thinking about the Fulbright Program, which, through its U.S. Scholar Program, sends about 1,100 Americans to more than 130 countries annually to teach and/or conduct research.

Lord will be doing both at the academy, which, with about 35,000 students, is the biggest business school in Romania, he said. Two of its graduates, he pointed out, have come to BGSU as master of accountancy students.

On the teaching end, he’s likely to lecture, for instance, on a movement in accounting to get everyone in the world to follow the same financial accounting standards. In the United States, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles have been around for years, Lord said, while International Financial Reporting Standards have been used in about 100 other countries for the last decade. With stocks now trading globally, though, an effort is under way to harmonize the systems, he said.

He would also like to help younger Romanian academics with research. The English language couldn’t be taught in grade schools there until the 1989 revolution deposed Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Lord said. As a result, senior faculty members generally don’t speak English or read English-language literature, where their younger, English-speaking colleagues are interested in publishing their work. “I want to go and teach research techniques in the doctoral programs and try to help them get published in the Western literature,” he explained, adding that if he can aid even a few students, it might filter down to others.

The program giving him the opportunity was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, it is aimed at increasing mutual understanding between Americans and people in other countries.

June 2, 2008