Accounting teacher wins prestigious tech education award

by Scarlet Keolanui, Staff Writer

While browsing through job descriptions, students and job-seekers may notice the requirement “SAP experience mandatory” or “SAP experience preferable.” Graduating students seeking work in the business field may ask themselves, “What is SAP and how can I benefit from having SAP experience?”

Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing, Societas Europaea — or SAP SE — is a multinational software corporation which began in Germany in the late ‘70s. It creates enterprise software allowing businesses to manage their customer relations and business operations. SAP’s biggest competitor is California-based computer technology corporation Oracle, although SAP is bigger and generally selected over Oracle technology.

Each year, the honorary Majdi Najm Outstanding Service Award is presented by the SAP University Alliance to recognize faculty who help the advancement and use of SAP technology in the classroom. Awarded educators must contribute their time to the advancement of SAP in academia, mentor students, develop curriculum and demonstrate leadership history in the program.

Through a generous grant donated by alumna Catherine Stiefel, San Diego State’s College of Business was able to join the SAP University Alliance program. The program allows students and faculty in more than 2,650 member institutions in 90 nations to gain exposure to SAP’s newest technology and learning institutions in order to integrate and adapt SAP technology into their curriculum while providing a hands-on learning experience. The program aims to help students become better prepared for the workforce to obtain enriching careers.

This year, SDSU accounting lecturer Nancy Jones was honored as the recipient of the Majdi Najm award. Her dedication to students, determination to provide as many SDSU students with SAP skills and her hard work, mentoring and knowledge earned her this prestigious award.

Jones not only empowers her students in the College of Business with SAP knowledge but also leads the Enterprise Systems e-Learning Club, which gives students who are not enrolled in SAP-enriched courses the exposure to this ubiquitous software and gain valuable workforce experience. The club is open to all students, has an online platform with a learn-at-your-own-pace model and allows students to eventually earn SAP certificates, which can boost their resumes.

Jones left her career in the finance and information technology systems industry to become an educator. She said she gets to live vicariously through her students, who are advancing in their careers due to their SAP software knowledge. She said although the program can be difficult to implement in curriculums and can be intimidating, it’s all worth it when students are obtaining not just jobs but careers.

“(I would) like to see all of the students who have gone through our program to get great careers, not just jobs, and come back to the school and help other students,” Jones said.

Jones hopes to continue to expand the SAP program on campus and to make it more accessible to an array of students. Jones encourages students from all majors who are interested in learning about SAP to reach out to her if interested in joining the enterprise e-club.