For the fourth year running, the McCombs School of Business ranked No. 1 among academic institutions for accounting in a national report evaluating graduate success.

The 2013 Public Accounting Report involved polls of hundreds of accounting professors from nearly 200 institutions, asking them to evaluate programs based on the likelihood of graduates becoming partners — the highest rank for an accountant in a public firm. McCombs placed first in all three categories in the PAR survey: undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D.

Jim Franklin, the school’s Master in Professional Accounting (MPA) program director, said he thinks the department’s success starts with an exceptional faculty.

“Our faculty are not just outstanding professors in the classroom, but they are also amazing researchers who have a lot of their work published in prominent academic journals,” Franklin said. 

Franklin also cited the culture of the student body as a factor in the school’s success.

“[Students] who come to the school are smart and energetic, with a sincere desire to really work hard and achieve,” Franklin said. “When you bring in an outstanding faculty to teach them, you end up with outstanding graduates who go on to do great things.” 

Accounting department Chair Lillian Mills said she was encouraged by the graduates’ employment prospects, saying some of the nation’s top accounting firms hire more UT graduates than graduates from any other school. 

“Our students are in high demand by employers,” Mills said. “We attract more than 100 non-[Certified Public Accountant] firm employers to campus who are eager to hire our accounting graduates. As a result, each year about 95 percent of our students are employed at graduation.” 

In addition to maintaining their No. 1 ranking, the accounting department recently created a new partnership with Ernst & Young Foundation, an accounting firm, to attract minority students to the field. 

“We are partnering with Ernst & Young to attract and mentor more under-represented minority students to UT’s MPA program,” Mills said. “By pairing interested minority MPA students with a working professional mentor from Ernst & Young, and pairing those same MPA students as ambassadors to interested McCombs sophomores, we expect to attract more business students to major in accounting.”

Fifth year MPA student Francisco Loredo said he was drawn to McCombs’ rich history and student life, as well as to its internationally renowned faculty. 

“Inside the classroom, professors challenge [students] to not only learn and understand accounting, but to identify issues with current standards and practice,” Loredo said. “The program also helps build team work and leadership — skills that are so crucial in the business world.” 


(Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox)

Vince Vaughn had something of a hot streak in the early 2000s, and it was one of those rare moments where a star’s schtick is perfectly utilized in several roles in just the right order. Flicks like “Old School,” “Dodgeball” and “Wedding Crashers” represent a golden age for the comedian, and his personality hasn’t been used so well in a film in a long time. However, “The Watch” practically nails it, bouncing Vaughn’s puppy-dog enthusiasm off of Jonah Hill, “Dodgeball” castmate Ben Stiller and Richard Ayoade to wonderful effect.

That central quartet makes up the film’s titular organization, founded by Stiller’s Evan after a murder takes place in the Costco he manages. Bob (Vaughn) mostly just wants a chance to revel in some male bonding, while Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Ayoade) are just trying to find a way to fit in or keep themselves entertained. However, their small-time crime fighting is quickly derailed by a brewing alien invasion.

Clearly, the main appeal to “The Watch” is putting Stiller, Hill and Vaughn in a car together and letting them riff. Stiller is mostly asked to stick to playing the straight man, and he’s tightly wound here. Evan has a legitimate affection for the community he’s built a life in, and Stiller makes forming the neighborhood watch feel intensely personal to the character. Vaughn is very effective as well, and his full-speed-ahead exhilaration for whatever he happens to be doing at the moment is infectious.

Hill isn’t used as the hapless smartass he usually portrays, and he gets to play a much harder edge than normal as Franklin, a delusional and unapologetically sleazy dropout with aspirations of joining the police force. He gets some big laughs here, especially in a few brief back-and-forths with Vaughn, but the film’s MVP is easily Ayoade. His Jamarcus is almost a walking contradiction, timid but assertive, and Ayoade brings an unexpected strut to the film’s dynamics. He also gets the most interesting material to play, and he absolutely sells his character’s inner conflict.

“The Watch” is designed with corporate synergy in mind, and the film’s Costco setting allows for some fairly blatant product placement. However, the film isn’t content to simply be a long Tide commercial, and gives its central characters some genuine nuance and shading. The film’s attempts to get to the bottom of masculine insecurity and camaraderie are unexpected, and even if they’re not particularly original, it’s refreshing that the film is even trying. “The Watch” never overdoes it on the emotional beats, and deploys them well.

It’s been a summer that’s noticeably light on strong comedies, and the last truly funny wide release to hit multiplexes was probably “21 Jump Street.” “The Watch” is certainly no comedy classic, but it’s completely painless to watch, a frequently hilarious exploration of male bonding in the face of the apocalypse. There are certainly better films in theaters this weekend, but “The Watch” is so innocuous, entertaining and downright funny that it’s a worthwhile way to spend a few hours.

Quarterback: David Ash had his best game of the season last week against Texas Tech. Although he only threw seven passes, he completed four of them for 125 yards and ran four times for 59 yards. He threw some nice deep balls that he will complete more of with experience. His performance last week was very reminiscent of Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica and the ’70s Oakland Raiders with its vertical passing attack. Missouri is running a different style with a mixture of the spread and west coast offense that involves a lot more passing. They use James Franklin to also serve as dual-threat runner to keep the defenses honest. He is completing 62 percent of his passes, and Missouri ranks sixth in the conference in passing, so the Tigers utilize a more balanced offense than other schools. Franklin should definitely have the statistical advantage in this one, and will have more opportunities to make plays.

Advantage: Missouri

Running back: This game will feature the two premier rushing attacks in the conference. Missouri has the No. 1 running back in the Big 12, Henry Josey. And Texas is the No. 1 rushing team in the country, rushing for more than 246 yards per game. These two are the top rushing teams in the conference, but they have two varying styles. Missouri features Franklin as a dual-threat quarterback as well as Josey, who is a smaller back. Both will pick up yards in space and off the edge. Texas, meanwhile, is very much more a downhill running team that picks up yards up the middle with Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron. Whittaker and Monroe take over in their package to create more misdirection in the run game, but Texas is still a downhill team at the core. Both teams are good on the ground, but Texas features more weapons in the backfield.

Advantage: Texas

Wide receivers: Of these teams, Missouri has the more sophisticated passing attack. Almost half of the total passes have gone to two receivers for the Tigers. T.J. Moe is their leading receiver with 44 receptions for 547 yards and four touchdowns. One of the most dangerous for the Tiger’s passing game is their tight end Michael Egnew. He is their second leading receiver with 42 catches for 432 yards and two touchdowns. He creates mismatches on the field which should giver Missouri the edge at this position. Texas’ receivers were a little thinner last week with Shipley out, but he is expected to return against the Tigers, and will add another weapon to the passing game. He will combine with Mike Davis to be the primary threats for the Longhorns. An x-factor for the Longhorns could be Darius white. He caught a 32-yard touchdown pass against Texas Tech, and could provide a dangerous deep threat for the Longhorns.

Advantage: Missouri

Offensive Line: Since the drubbing this unit suffered against Oklahoma, the Texas offensive line has been getting better each week. The center of the line has been particularly good, with Dominic Espinosa, and guards Mason Walters and David Snow providing a punch right up the middle of the opposing defenses. Freshman Josh Cochren has taken over the left tackle spot, and has already proven himself a valuable addition. The line has paved the way for more than 400 yards rushing in the last two games. Missouri’s offensive line has been about the same. Although Missouri is rushing for 245 yards per game, the line has given up a sack in all but one game, and in total, has given up 53 tackles for loss.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive Line: After being much maligned for the first half of the season, the Texas defensive line has finally come to life, and is starting to get the kind of pressure that Texas fans had gotten used to the past couple of years. Defensive ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat have been getting into the backfield both against the run and the pass, and are starting to get to the quarterback. The tackles are getting active, too, and even converted running back Chris Whaley is getting into the fold as he single handedly shut down a screen play against Texas Tech. Missouri is 60th in the nation in rush defense giving up 150 yards per game. The Missouri defensive line has made 66 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and has made 18 sacks. In order for the Tigers to be able to pull the upset in this game, the defensive line will have to be more stout against the run, and make Ash win the game.

Advantage: Texas

Linebackers: The leading tackler for the Tigers is sophomore linebacker Andre Wilson. He has 70 tackles on the season, and has led the team in tackles in four games. He has his best games against running teams like Texas. Against Kansas State, he paced both teams with 13 tackles, including nine solo tackles — more than any other player in the game. He will lead the Tigers’ defense against the stout Texas rushing offense. The Longhorns are led by Emmanuel Acho, who has led the team in tackles in five out of their eight games. He reached double-digit tackles in each of those five games. Against Missouri with a mobile quarterback like Franklin, the linebackers will have to play a major role to stop the running game, as well as snuff out all the underneath routes.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive Backs: The Tigers are 85th in the nation in pass efficiency defense and are 103rd in the nation against the pass, giving up 268 yards per game. They have gotten their hands on eight passes this season, but are still giving up large chunks of yards through the air. Fortunately for them, Texas is not a prolific passing team. Although Texas Tech passed for 381 yards last week, the Red Raiders were kept out of the end zone until there was just more than three minutes left in the third quarter with Texas up by 32 points. The Longhorn defensive backs got their hands on a few passes but weren’t able to pick off any passes. Dropped interceptions are one of the most important “stats” in football. They keep the defense on the field and give the offense a second chance. Fortunately for Texas, the Red Raiders couldn’t take advantage of those opportunities.

Advantage: Texas

Special Teams: Whittaker is proving dangerous even without touching the ball. Teams are trying not to give the ball to Whittaker after his two kick return touchdowns, and they are giving up good field position in the process. Texas has not been able to do much with punt returns this year, but with as many weapons that the team has back there, it’s only a matter of time before they get a return, or a block that turns into a score. Justin Tucker has made every extra point this year, and has only missed on field goal all season. Missouri’s kicker, Grant Ressel, had made all of his extra points but is only hitting 56 percent of his field goals. The Tigers switched to Trey Barrow, who has made two out of three field goals. The Tigers are 104th in kickoff returns and has not scored on a return. In a close game, special teams could make the difference, which Texas has the clear advantage in.

U.S. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them?”

The question of “who belongs in the U.S. and who doesn’t” is a centuries-old debate, history professor Neil Foley said.

“The U.S. has been reluctant to acknowledge for most of its history [that it] has always been a thoroughly composite culture of racially blended people and it defies some normative or static understanding of what it means to be an American,” Foley said to a group of UT students, faculty and community members Monday during a roundtable discussion hosted by UT’s Institute for Historical Studies.

Foley presented a chapter from his upcoming book, “Latino USA: Mexicans and the Remaking of America,” which will be released fall 2012, to the group in order to get feedback and facilitate conversation about his new book.

The U.S. continues to struggle with issues of racism and immigration, Foley said, citing the recent 700-mile border fence between the U.S. and Mexico and treatment of migrants.

Foley argues that in order for Latinos and other marginalized groups to belong in America it would require remaking of American culture into one more egalitarian and accepting of differences and therefore “more American.”

Foley told the group that Benjamin Franklin believed only the English were “purely white” and that “swarthy” Europeans could not make good Americans.

“He would probably have a lot to say about Asian-Americans and Mexicans and other Latinos today not making good Americans either, I suppose,” Foley said.

College of Liberal Arts Institute for Historical Studies hosts biweekly discussions, inviting professors to present a work-in-progress in exchange for feedback.

“The best scholarship is not produced in vacuum,” said Julie Hardwick, director of UT’s Institute for Historical Studies. “Faculty that sit in an office and are not engaging with anyone else aren’t really very fruitful. It’s very important for faculty to get feedback on their work.”

History graduate student Sarah Steinbock-Pratt, who attended the discussion, said the workshops are an essential part of her education at UT.

“There are a lot of very, very smart people around the table who are all asking very astute questions,” Steinbock-Pratt said. “Participating in that dialogue is extremely beneficial.”

Foley, said he plans to take the feedback to heart. He said just like his book, the United States is a work in progress.

“[Americans worry that immigrants] are going to change the culture of America into something else and to that I would argue that American culture is always changing. That the United States is a work in progress,” Foley said. “To identify an American culture and go back to 1965 — it is vastly different from what it is today.”

Printed on September 20, 2011 as: 'Latino USA' addresses ethnic tensions