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A Degree in Demand

Growing Shortage

For several decades, the shortage of accounting faculty in the United States has been a serious concern for academicians, policymakers, and the accounting profession itself. Indeed, the shortage has actually been intensifying over the years and is projected to reach crisis levels over the next ten years.1 That which has been a problem for many years is aggravated by the simple fact that today’s doctorally-qualified faculty are growing older and thus leaving the profession. In short, the supply of such faculty is waning while the demand continues to grow. One cited solution to this problem is to transition experienced accounting practitioners into academia and, in fact, a significant number of practitioners are interested in teaching.2 Although certain barriers (e.g., the time and full-time residency commitments required by most doctorate programs) have kept many practitioners from joining the ranks of academe, recent developments have opened new pathways for practicing accountants. One of these is the development of flexible practitioner-oriented doctoral programs that enable experienced practitioners to study in a cohort model that includes campus residencies. Such programs have been specifically called for by the accounting profession through the Pathways Commission, which is led by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Accounting Association . 3 In addition, our business school accrediting body, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), has provided guidelines for the development of such programs.4

1Plumlee, R. D., S. J. Kachelmeier, S. A. Madeo, J. H. Pratt, and G. Krull. 2006. Assessing the shortage of accounting faculty. Issues in Accounting Education 21 (2): 113–125; Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession (ACAP). 2008. Final Report. Washington, DC: Department of Treasury. Pathways Commission Task Force. 2014. An Examination of Non-Traditional Doctoral Education. Sarasota, FL: American Accounting Association and AICPA.; Plumlee, R. D., and P. Reckers. 2014. Lessons not learned: Why is there still a crisis-level shortage of accounting Ph.D.s? Accounting Horizons, 28 (2): 313–330.

2Trapnell, J. E., N. Mero, J. R. Williams, and G. W. Krull, Jr. 2009. The accounting doctoral shortage: Time for a new model. Issues in Accounting Education, 24 (4): 427–432; Pathways Commission. 2012. Charting a National Strategy for the Next Generation of Accountants. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). 2013. The Promise of Business Doctoral Education: Setting the Pace for Innovation, Sustainability, Relevance, and Quality. Report of the AACSB International Doctoral Education Task Force. Tampa, FL: AACSB. Boyle, D. M., D. R. Hermanson, and M. O. Mensah. 2011. Addressing the accounting and auditing faculty shortage: Practitioners’ perceptions of academia. Current Issues in Auditing, 5 (1): A7–A85; Boyle, D. M., Carpenter, B. W., and Hermanson, D. R. 2015. The Accounting Faculty Shortage: Causes and Contemporary Solutions. Accounting Horizons, 29(2), 245-264.

3Pathways Commission. 2012. Charting a National Strategy for the Next Generation of Accountants. Pathways Commission Task Force. 2014. An Examination of Non-Traditional Doctoral Education. Sarasota, FL: American Accounting Association and AICPA.

4Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). 2013. The Promise of Business Doctoral Education: Setting the Pace for Innovation, Sustainability, Relevance, and Quality. Report of the AACSB International Doctoral Education Task Force. Tampa, FL: AACSB.  

Our Program: Built on Relevant Research

In 2010, the Accounting Department of the University of Scranton began exploring the viability of its own Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) with a concentration in Accounting. Our due diligence included significant research with regard to such a program’s linkage to our mission and strategic plan, together with appropriate consideration of relevant market dynamics, practitioner program interest, and curriculum design. Based on this extensive examination and a series of research agendas, the accounting faculty published seven manuscripts on the topic in recognized journals. As a result, our faculty have become recognized experts in understanding the requirements of such DBA programs and the related market. In addition, a member of our faculty was selected to serve on the Pathways Commission’s “National Task Force of Non-Traditional Doctorate Education” and has been interviewed and published by the AICPA on the topic.

Our extensive peer-reviewed published research and the research of The Pathways Commission show an urgent market need to provide more doctoral programs that enable experienced accounting professionals to transition into academic careers and thus mitigate the current faculty shortage crisis and enhance the practice-relevant educational transformation of business students. This research also indicates a willingness on the part of AACSB Accredited Business Schools (particularly those with a strong “teaching” mission like that of the University of Scranton) to recruit graduates of such programs into tenure-track faculty positions. In other words, graduates from high quality DBA Programs will likely find opportunities to teach at well-respected accredited institutions.1 This research further identifies a large market of practitioners who are highly interested in pursuing such a degree.2

1Boyle, D. M., Carpenter, B. W., and Hermanson, D. R. 2015. The Accounting Faculty Shortage: Causes and Contemporary Solutions. Accounting Horizons, 29(2), 245-264.

2Boyle, D. M., D. R. Hermanson, and M. O. Mensah. 2011. Addressing the accounting and auditing faculty shortage: Practitioners’ perceptions of academia. Current Issues in Auditing, 5 (1): A7–A85; Boyle, D. M., B. W. Carpenter, D. R. Hermanson, and M. O. Mensah. 2013. The accounting doctorate shortage: Opportunities for practitioners. Strategic Finance 94 (11): 30–36; Boyle, D. M., B. W. Carpenter, D. R. Hermanson, and M. O. Mensah. 2013. Transitioning from practice to academia: Examining the interest and perceptions of practitioners. Management Accounting Quarterly 15 (1): 1–10; Boyle, D. M., Carpenter, B. W., Hermanson, D. R., & Mero, N. P. 2015. Examining the perceptions of professionally oriented accounting faculty. Journal of Accounting Education, 33(1), 1.

Program has been approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.