Dr. Wayne Cecil, Macon State's Eminent
Scholar in Accounting, Plans to Take the College's Accounting Major
to New Levels
By Renee Martinez
Dr. Wayne Cecil seeks to learn as much from his students as they
learn from him.
Dr. Wayne Cecil, second from left,
who holds Macon State’s new endowed faculty chair in
accounting, talks with accounting majors after a recent class.
The students, from left to right, are Shennon Walker, a junior;
Tisha White, a senior; and Belinda Haywood, a senior.
“When I was a student, I told myself that if I was the professor,
I’d do things differently,” said Cecil, who recently
joined the Macon State College faculty as the new endowed chair
holder in accounting. “Now that I am the professor, I listen
intently to students and try to incorporate their comments into
what I do in the classroom.”
By developing a positive relationship with his students, Cecil
hopes to foster an enhanced accounting program, one of the majors
in Macon State’s popular bachelor of science degree in business.
Holding an endowed chair will give Cecil the edge to accomplish
Endowments for faculty chairs are used to pay the competitive salaries
it takes to attract top scholars, who could earn considerably more
in the private sector, to teach at colleges and universities. In
1997, Macon’s Peyton Anderson Foundation agreed to provide
$1 million to Macon State College to fund its first two endowed
chairs, both in information technology. The Georgia General Assembly
matched those funds through the Eminent Scholars Endowment Trust
Fund. Dr. David Adams and Dr. E. Michael Staman now hold the endowed
chairs in IT.
More recently, the Macon State College Foundation raised $500,000,
also matched through the trust fund, for a third endowed chair,
this one in accounting.
As the endowed chair holder in accounting, Cecil brings a wealth
of academic and private sector experience to the position, including
work as a tax consultant, analyst and auditor.
“Accounting is one of the top majors sought by employers
today,” said Dr. Larry Wolfenbarger, chair of MSC’s
business division. “We’re planning to develop one of
the highest quality undergraduate accounting programs in the state,
and Dr. Cecil has the academic qualifications and professional experience
to help us get there. I’m confident he is going to provide
excellent leadership as we build the accounting program.”
Cecil is excited about enhancing Macon State’s major in accounting,
where jobs are expected to increase in the state by 15 percent through
2008, according to the Georgia Career Information System. Earnings
potential for accountants is excellent, especially for those licensed
as Certified Public Accountants or Certified Management Accountants.
Born: In High Point,
Education: B.S., business administration, University
of North Carolina; M.B.A., finance, University of North Carolina;
M.P.A., taxation, University of Texas; Ph.D., business administration,
University of Kentucky.
Career Highlights: Graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the
University of North Carolina. Passed the CPA exam on the first
attempt. Worked for two of the four largest accounting firms
in the world. Completed doctoral program in three years. American
Institute of Certified Public Accountants fellowship recipient.
Widely published in business and academic journals.
Personal interests: Movies, all types of music and
He said it: “Accountants have to be successful
in understanding non-accountants in business, like a doctor
has to be skilled in listening to the words a patient uses
when describing a problem.”
“Our focus is to help students leave here well-rounded in
all aspects of business,” Cecil said, “and a major goal
is to ensure that students sit for and successfully complete the
CPA or CMA exam as soon as possible after graduation. That’s
in keeping with the professional degree orientation of the College.”
Cecil added that he hopes to help students achieve professional
placements and to advance their careers as far as possible. “Basically,
I want to help others achieve their goals,” he said.
Raising the Bar
But producing successful and well-rounded graduates also means
raising the bar within the accounting program.
“We’re going to increase expectations in the classroom
and modify the coursework to be more consistent with the CPA exam,”
Cecil said, “so students will have a greater chance of passing
the exam the first time they take it.”
Cecil comes to Macon State from Georgia College & State University,
where he was an associate professor. His teaching experience also
includes work at Francis Marion University, the University of North
Carolina at Wilmington and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Drawing from a unique blend of formal academic training plus 10
years of professional experience, Cecil said that accountants have
to know more than how to work with numbers. He said a truly skilled
accountant is hard to come by.
“Accountants have to be successful in understanding non-accountants
in business, like a doctor has to be skilled in listening to the
words a patient uses when describing a problem,” he said.
“Knowledge of numbers on a spreadsheet is not enough. You
have to know how to satisfy the demands of the end users regarding
Cecil said he feels its his responsibility as an endowed chair
holder to draw attention in the community to the College’s
bolstered program, with hopes of garnering interest from regional
companies in Macon State’s graduates.
“I hope to make the program more visible and to more directly
market our graduates so that they can receive the best possible
placement with employers,” he said. “I also want to
market the accounting curriculum to those people who already have
a degree in another field and are looking to make a change. Accounting
is a career choice that doesn’t close doors but opens them.”
Cecil said he feels there has been a renewed interest in accounting
lately. Even with recent ethics scandals making headlines, more
people are paying attention to the role of accountants in business.
“In Hollywood they say that as long as it’s publicity,
it’s good,” he said. “Sometimes when a situation
forces you take one step back, it later allows you to take two or
three steps forward,” he said.
So rather than glazing over the Arthur Andersen accounting fiascoes
and other bad press, Cecil said he plans to bring the everyday happenings
of the business world into the classroom in order to help students
learn and be responsive to a profession that is changing daily.
Cecil, who began teaching at Macon State this past summer, said
that from his first visit to the campus, he was impressed and excited
with the prospect of teaching at the College.
“When I came to interview, I was impressed with the friendliness
of the faculty. It seems that people here are focused on the future,
and I like that,” he said. “After teaching a semester,
I’ve realized that students here are as absorbing and inquisitive
and motivated as anywhere I’ve taught to date. I’m excited
to go to class everyday.”
The writer, Renee Martinez, graduated from Macon State College
in 2000 with a bachelor of science in communications. She serves
on the College’s newly formed Alumni Council.