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2014522 What it Means to be an Accounting Professor

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Beyer, B., D. Herrmann, G. K. Meek and E. T. Rapley.
2010. What it means to be an accounting professor: A
concise career guide for doctoral students in
accounting. Issues In Accounting Education (May): 227-
244.
Summary by James R. Martin
Advice for Ph.D. Students and New Faculty | How to Management Yourself Main Page
The purpose of this paper is to provide a career guide for doctoral students in
accounting. It is divided into three main sections: Foundational Guidance,
Research Guidance, and Publishing Guidance.
Foundational Guidance includes the following subsections: Research areas and
research methodology, Seminal contributions to the accounting literature, Time
management, Collegiality, and Faculty research and research expectations.
According to a prior study 49 percent of accounting research is related to
financial accounting, 20 percent involves management accounting topics, 14
percent pertains to auditing, 10 percent is tax related, and 5 percent is in the
area of information systems. Research methodologies used for accounting research
include archival research (56 percent), behavioral research (23 percent),
experimental research (12 percent) and analytical research (9 percent).
1
The authors recommend seminal contributions to accounting literature as
foundation reading for doctoral students and provide an appendix for those
papers. In the time management section they emphasize self discipline indicating
that freedom with time is not free time. They also emphasize the importance of
collegiality, e.g., providing others with feedback on their research.
The last section under foundation and guidance includes a discussion of faculty
teaching and research expectations. The following table summarizes that
discussion. Note that the first 3 tiers only include about 90 schools, so there
are a fairly large number of colleges in tiers 4 and 5.
2
As noted in the table
below, Hasselback's 2009-2010 Faculty Directory includes accounting faculty for
over 1,000 four year schools.
3
Also note that teaching expectations vary from 2
classes per year for faculty at the top research schools to 8 classes per year
for faculty at tier 5 schools. Research expectations are considerably higher at
the tier 1 and tier 2 schools with lower expectations at tier 3, 4, and 5 tier
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schools.
Teaching and Research Expectations of Faculty*
Tiers** and
Characteristics
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
Examples
Chicago,
Stanford,
Rochester
Most Big 10
conference
schools
Many Big 12
and SEC
conference
schools with
a doctoral
program
Carnegie
Research
schools
without a
doctoral
program in
accounting
Regional
schools
Teaching
expectations
per year
Two classes Three classes
Four classes
- Usually two
course
preparations
Four to six
classes with
two or three
course
preparations
Six to eight
classes with
two to four
course
preparations
Research
expectations
for tenure
Demonstrate
leading
scholarship
in your area
of research.
Multiple "A"
level
publications.
Two to four
"A" level
publications.
Publications
in "B" level
journals
carry
significantly
less weight.
At least one
"A" level and
multiple "B"
level
publications.
"A" level
publications
receive
greater
weight, but
"B" level
pubs are also
valued.
"A" level
publications
are usually
not
required,
but
publications
do count.
Publications
in refereed
journals,
research
journals,
and
conference
proceedings
Accounting
Doctoral
Program
Yes, students
place at Tier
1 and Tier 2
schools.
Yes, strong
placement
record in
Tiers 1 and
3.
Yes, but
placement not
as strong.
No No
"A" = Publication in the top accounting journals: The Accounting Review, Journal of
Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Accounting, Organizations
and Society, and Contemporary Accounting Research.
"B" = Publication in a high-quality journal such as the AAA section journals.
* Adapted from Table 1 in Beyer, B., D. Herrmann, G. K. Meek and E. T. Rapley. 2010.
What it means to be an accounting professor: A concise career guide for doctoral
students in accounting. Issues In Accounting Education (May): 227-244.
** The first 3 tiers include approximately 90 schools. Tiers 4 and 5 include many
more schools. For example, Hasselback's 2009-2010 Prentice-Hall Accounting Faculty
Directory includes accounting faculty for over 1,000 four year schools.

Research Guidance
The authors begin this section by saying that research is the currency of
academics. This is because of the scarcity of research talent in relation to
2014522 What it Means to be an Accounting Professor
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teaching talent, and the fact that research is peer reviewed.
In a subsection related to generating research ideas they mention the Social
Sciences Research Network as a source of current research papers and recommend
reading papers in related areas such as finance. Ideas for research come from
many sources including reading research papers and the financial press, and
talking with practitioners, colleagues and students. The difficult part is not
generating ideas, but deciding which ideas to pursue, i.e., ones that will
result in a productive research stream.
The authors also recommend developing a considerable amount of depth in a
particular research area noting that there are economies of scale when you focus
on a single research area. They also argue that you should force yourself to
write and make research a priority.
Before seeking a academic position at a research university a new Ph.D. needs a
research pipeline, i.e., perhaps three or four working papers, typically from
his or her dissertation.
Publishing Guidance
This section includes comments related to selecting a Journal for your
publications, formatting the papers, the review process, and celebrating your
success.
4

____________________________________________
1
The research methods mentioned in this paper are narrowly defined as archival,
behavioral, experimental, and analytical. For an expanded discussion of research
methodology see MAAW's research methods section, particularly the publication by
Buckley, Buckley and Chiang. A sample graphic adapted from this publication
appears below.
2014522 What it Means to be an Accounting Professor
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2
See the Directory of Accounting Ph.D. programs and AACSB schools accredited in
accounting.
3
Hasselback, J. R. 2010. Accounting Faculty Directory 2009-2010. Prentice-Hall.
(Link).
4
The MAAW web site is a very useful resource for both potential and current
Ph.D. students. The main purpose of the site is to categorize accounting
literature from the past 100 years. MAAW includes over 150 bibliographies, by
Author, by Journal and by Topic including the journals mentioned in this paper.


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