When Narita Holmes goes to work at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, she fills many roles.

She’s a lecturer in accountancy in the College of Business, assistant compliance officer and Title IX coordinator. Holmes also was selected as the UTPB College of Business Outstanding Teacher for 2017-2018.

With an extensive background in accounting, working at financial institutions and banking, Holmes started at UTPB as an adjunct professor in 1999. She began working there full time in 2004.

A native Odessan, Holmes graduated from Odessa High School, went to Odessa College and the University of Texas at Austin.

She has a degree in accounting from UT Austin and a master’s in business administration with a concentration in accounting from UTPB.

Starting off as an internal auditor and assistant compliance officer, Holmes also was doing a variety of as requested projects.

“I was working pretty long days, so the president and I agreed that at that point in time I would teach just one class. Then later on, a lecturer position came open that was more directed toward teaching. I gave up the internal audit position and took the lecturer position in accounting. I really have a passion for the students. I love the students,” she said.

Her classes are face-to-face and online.

“When I first started teaching, all classes were face to face. As we were growing and as the demand increased for online classes, I started working to convert some of the classes that I teach to online. I just love both. I like the interaction in the face-to-face classes and we have students who learn better face-to-face,” Holmes said.

Accounting works better face-to-face sometimes just to make sure the student is absorbing the information, she said. Online is eight weeks and face-to-face is 13 weeks, but it depends on the student as to which option they choose.

Many students take accounting internships toward the end of their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“When they’re doing an internship, sometimes an online class works well. Spring is when a lot of the internships come up because of tax season,” Holmes said.

Students often log more than 40 hours a week for their internships at CPA firms, so an online class can allow them to finish their degree, while still interning.

“The great thing about the internships is that they get class credit for it. They get very often a job offer — a permanent job offer — out of internships. They definitely get good experience to put on their resumes, so it’s a great opportunity for them,” Holmes said.

She had 13 interns in the spring semester — the most she’s ever had.

“They’re actually spread around a little bit. They can do their internship wherever they live, or wherever they get the job,” Holmes said.

“In accounting, we only allow paid internships because our students are providing work just like employees. They do get paid in many instances very nice salaries for doing the work. The internship requires at least 150 hours of work during the semester to get credit for it and to qualify to count as a class for the state board of public accountancy,” she added.

When the internship is over, students are required to write a paper and they get an evaluation from the employers, just like at a regular job.

“We get feedback on the performance of the students and how they’ve done on the job. They’re required throughout their internship to keep a detailed log of the work that they do and the time they spend on it, so that we can demonstrate to the (Texas) State Board of Public Accountancy that they have done appropriate work to qualify for a class and that they have completed the hours so the log gets rather long with all the work that they do,” Holmes said.

She noted there is also a master’s in professional accountancy, which is a graduate program specific to accounting, and students who need to complete the rest of the requirements to sit for the CPA exam.

“There are very stringent requirements for the state board of accountancy, so part of our advising is to work with our students and not only to make certain they are meeting all the degree requirements, but all the requirements to sit for the CPA exam, if they’re interested in becoming a CPA, which most of them are,” Holmes said.

She added that in Texas, and she suspects nationwide, the number of “gray-haired” certified public accountants planning to retire in the next 10 years is more than half of the membership of the state society of CPAs.

“So there will be numerous jobs available from those retiring, but there are also many, many jobs being created because of the economy,” Holmes said.

She added that there are some “really great students” in the program.

“Employers tell us we aren’t turning them out fast enough for all the positions available right now. Our students pretty much have full employment the moment they graduate,” Holmes said.

Allison Eyler is working toward sitting for the CPA exam and often sings Holmes’ praises to her family, even though they think she works Eyler too hard.

Eyler said Holmes is able to teach from a wealth of experience, so students like her are able to apply what they’ve learned in real time.

“She puts her whole heart and soul into teaching,” Eyler said.

Eyler, who previously worked in accounting at Southwest Airlines, is currently helping to develop an internal auditing program for the Diocese of San Angelo and really enjoys it. She added that she will be with the Diocese through the summer and hopes to continue there.

“It’s really fun and something I never thought I would do,” she said.

Victoria Salazar, another of Holmes’ students, got a job offer from a Midland accounting firm out of the internship she did for it.

“I believe that Ms. Holmes is a great professor. She is always there to help students and she has helped me since I started my accounting degree two years ago. She is a great motivator and she knows what direction, or path, to put students on to achieve their goals in the accounting profession,” Salazar said in an email.

“There are many reasons why Ms. Holmes is amazing, but the biggest thing that popped out when I first met her is that she has a big heart and she will do whatever it takes for her students to enjoy accounting and achieve their goal in graduating from college with an accounting degree. If any student in accounting was having trouble in class or work, she would be the go to person to answer any questions that need to be answered. I wouldn’t be graduating and walking the stage without her help throughout my college career,” she added.

Holmes also deals with compliance training, conflicts of interest and Title IX training related to sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“We actually have a training platform where we keep all our different modules of all our different topics. I get a regular report that tells me key information about new employees that are being signed up, so I can get them enrolled them into those training courses because they’re required to be completed ASAP,” Holmes said.

Child protection training is required for campus, as well, and UTPB offers several during the summer.

“The UT System developed a model training that all of us could use and they went to the state and got approval. You have to complete child protection training to work at the camp, whether it’s athletic (or) academic. If it’s strictly college students and (they’re) all above 18, that’s not an issue. But with younger students, state law is they have to have training,” she said.

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