Academic journal article Review of Business

The Changing Face of Accounting Faculties

Academic journal article Review of Business

The Changing Face of Accounting Faculties

Article excerpt


Accounting education is changing because of changes in technology, the needs of the accounting profession, enrollments in college accounting courses and business education accreditation requirements [1,3,4]. How these changes affect the education of tomorrow's accounting professionals will be largely determined by accounting faculties and a profession that is undergoing significant change.

Will the education received by tomorrow's accounting professionals meet the needs of your organization? Is the job-readiness of new hires affected by the likelihood of professional certification, academic credentials or gender of the accounting instructors? Will the accounting faculty provide the type of role models desired by the business community? For example, does the faculty project the gender issues faced by the business community? If you believe these are important issues, you should be aware of the significant changes occurring in the characteristics of accounting faculties.

This article reviews the changing face of accounting faculties in two bellwether states, New Jersey and New York. Valuable insights on the future of accounting education can be gained by reviewing the changing characteristics of accounting faculties in these states.

The 1983 and 1995 accounting faculty at 39 New Jersey and New York colleges and universities were examined to provide a snapshot of how the educators of the accountants of tomorrow differ from those who trained today's working professionals. Information about accounting faculties was obtained from the Accounting Faculty Directory, an annual listing of accounting faculties at most four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. and many foreign countries [2]. Faculty characteristics examined include changes in the:

* Number of full-time faculty

* Academic degrees held

* Professional certification

* Gender of full-time faculty.

Academic degrees and professional certification held by accounting faculty at American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredited colleges and universities and universities granting a doctoral degree in accounting are examined. The results are compared to the faculty at other New Jersey and New York colleges and universities.

Number of Full-Time Faculty

Between 1983 and 1995, the full-time accounting faculty members at the New Jersey and New York colleges and universities declined approximately ten percent from 445 to 402 positions.

This decline in the number of accounting faculty members is not surprising. Nationwide data on college freshman's interest in business and accounting education indicate a decline during this same time period.

Faculty reductions occurred mostly at the lower academic ranks, instructors and lecturers, with a drop from 66 to 31 positions. Lecturers are typically temporary faculty, thus they provide the most flexibility in adjusting faculty size for changes in demand. Professional rank faculty members declined by only eight positions from 379 to 371.

Academic Degrees Held

Classifying the New Jersey and New York full-time accounting faculty by highest academic degree indicates several interesting trends. The number of accounting faculty holding either the Ph.D. or D.B.A degree increased over 50 percent from 142 to 219. This represents an increase in the accounting faculty from 32 to 55 percent of positions. Most of this increase consisted of additional faculty holding a Ph.D. with an accounting specialization. Faculty with a Ph.D. in a discipline other than accounting decreased from approximately one-half of all Ph.D. faculty teaching accounting in 1983 to one-third in 1995. Thus, a higher proportion of today's accounting faculty has extensive academic training in accounting concepts and theory.

Non-Ph.D. accounting faculty decreased by nearly 40 percent over this same period. For example, JD faculty declined from 32 to 23 while ABD faculty declined from 20 to ten. …

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