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1 PhD Shortage Breakfast Discussion APLG/FSA Meeting 2007 San Diego, California Facilitators: Judy Rayburn Fran Ayres.

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Presentation on theme: "1 PhD Shortage Breakfast Discussion APLG/FSA Meeting 2007 San Diego, California Facilitators: Judy Rayburn Fran Ayres."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 PhD Shortage Breakfast Discussion APLG/FSA Meeting 2007 San Diego, California Facilitators: Judy Rayburn Fran Ayres

2 2 Preliminary demographic report on expected retirements Gary Previts – reported early indications from a current research project with data supported by Jim Hasselback from his database Bruce Behn and George Krull are working with Jim to develop some understandings of impending retirements among accounting educators The following slide shows relative ages of about 3800 accounting faculty in the US

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4 4 PhD Shortage: Comments and questions from attendees Data Students Programs Accreditation

5 5 Two – Tier Market Two tiers: essentially, nobody from with a major PhD program had their resume listed at the national meeting in Very few major programs had positions listed at the national meeting. Two (or more) tier market : Salaries for the 75th percentile is increasing at a faster rate than the 25th percentile. The shortage by sub-discipline has an impact too. It is my bias that tier one prefers financial. If my bias is right then tier two is short of financial specialist despite the reasonable overall supply of them.

6 6 Data What is the distribution of PhD/non-PhD faculty in our Programs? Demand estimates regarding : new faculty, associate professors, senior faculty, and department heads. Length of time required to complete the PhD. Comparative analyses of program requirements and length, responsibilities during the program, etc. are needed. More efficient and effective PhD programs could make the field more attractive.

7 7 Data We used to have the APLG database on salaries, enrollments in all programs, including the PhD program, etc, which was quite useful. For some reason it seems like that activity stopped awhile back. My suggestion would be that the AAA formally consider taking this type of project within its budget. Academic capacity for PhD education – where are the student slots? Academic capacity for PhD education – where are the student slots? Supply estimates from PhD Programs

8 8 Data We get many applications from students/faculty at non US schools. Given that we know little about many of these schools, there is little opportunity for these individuals to get an interview. Is there a way for the APLG to help compile information about non US programs that would allow US schools to be educated consumers? I hope there could be some discussion regarding external demand for accounting PhDs (market forces beyond the academy impacting supply of PhDs for the academy). For example, I was told Grant Thornton has hired a number of PhDs over the past two years – this is likely happening with other firms.

9 9 Students Why is there so little interest in pursuing a PhD, especially by domestic candidates? What factors motivate students to do PhDs in Accounting? What are the characteristics of students who are currently interested in PhDs (i.e. applicants)? Are there any lessons we can learn from data on those issues? How can we direct top students to academic careers? Students need to understand the financial equation of PhD education – it is quite different from what they experience as undergrad and masters students.

10 10 Students Does the structure of current MS Accounting Programs have anything to do with the shortage of U.S. students with an interest in PhD programs? Generally, the MS program in most disciplines is a bridge to the PhD. Its also a focal point for attracting high quality prospective PhD students. It is unclear whether accounting MS programs are serving as a bridge and as an attraction for further academic study at the doctoral level in accounting. Many MS Accounting degrees have become essentially professional programs with a vocational orientation that cater to the needs of accounting and business. These programs are sometimes very strong in their contribution to the profession but are not oriented to building an interest in research and scholarship. BYUs PhD prep program is worth some discussion if this topic should make the agenda.

11 11 Students Promotion of the academic profession among current students. Many of our students serve as RAs and TAs while in our programs. We need to plant the seed very firmly with these students that this is a great profession. BYUs PhD prep masters program is a strong version of this.

12 12 Students Addressing the opportunity cost of a PhD for young, experienced accounting professionals – What must a young professional accountant give up in order to earn a PhD? What is the approximate net benefit, if any? I recognize this is an empirical issues but its one that must be addressed in any serious debate about our potential to attract quality accounting or other business professionals from the U.S. into the academy. With our highly materialistic culture, even the most altruistic individuals are rational and could be hesitant to enter a career if there are questions about the relative financial benefits.

13 13 PhD Programs Innovative approaches to building capacity (while maintaining integrity) in PhD programs. My basic premise is that we need PhDs in accounting to help accounting survive as an academic discipline over the long-term. Possible innovative ideas include PhD prep programs at the masters level (e.g. BYUs); accelerated PhD programs or post-doctoral fellowships in accounting for persons with PhDs in other disciplines (e.g. statistics, computer science, psychology, economics, etc); strategic partnerships between PhD and non-PhD schools to increase (1) the number of faculty who could potentially work with students and (2) incentives for a broader pool of students to consider accounting PhDs.

14 14 PhD Programs Funding of PhD education. Several support programs exist – we need to assess how many PhD students in total can be supported by these programs, and what effect these programs have on enrollments. In other words, is there any increase in the net number of PhD students or are we simply better funding the existing ones? Students need to understand the financial equation of PhD education – it is quite different from what they experience as undergrad and masters students.

15 15 PhD Programs At least for discussion purposes I like the idea of part-time PhD programs- based on some of our graduates my guess is there a lot of women with families that would consider a part-time program. How can we encourage specialization in areas other than financial accounting? Accrediting online PhD programs because I think online PhD programs would appeal to professionals. There is need for part time PhD programs especially suited for the two year college professors. Most cant take two years to get a traditional PhD, but colleges cannot change their rules due to accreditation.

16 16 PhD Programs I have reservations about using graduates of part-time or the executive PhD programs that are beginning to be offered. It is hard for me to see the difference between graduates of those programs and the more traditional MBA-CPA folks now used as instructors. Either way the research component seems to be missing. Merely filling these slots with a non-researching PhD would not seem to offer much gain. Length of time required to complete the PhD. Comparative analyses of program requirements and length, responsibilities during the program, etc. are needed. More efficient and effective PhD programs could make the field more attractive. How the mission of PhD granting institutions impacts the placement of doctoral students at schools where the research focus differs from the PhD granting schools.

17 17 PhD Programs Language skills of many new PhDs. Lack of teaching training for new graduates.

18 18 Accounting Departments Suggestions as to how low-endowed schools should deal with the accounting PhD shortage during its business program accreditation effort. Are changes coming in academically and professionally qualified faculty requirements for accounting? Accrediting online PhD programs because I think online PhD programs would appeal to professionals. Cost of new PhD hires. How are schools affording the high salaries and other benefits?

19 19 Accounting Departments Short run versus long run solutions to the problem and impact on different types of programs – for example, the problem may impact doctoral granting schools differently than those with only undergraduate and/or masters programs. What is the appropriate percent distribution of PhD/non-PhD faculty in our programs? Can major portions of our programs, especially undergrad, be effectively delivered by PQ rather than AQ faculty? How far can we go down this path?

20 20 Slides that follow include comments, questions and notes from the informal discussion/breakfast attended by about 85 APLG/FSA Meeting registrants

21 21 Data Supply differences between top and middle tier schools – there may actually be 3 tiers Growing gap between salaries at top tier and lower tiers – could be a factor – AACSB data supports this idea – anecdotal evidence in the room as well Opportunity costs for getting the PhD – time to degree is a barrier Models and data from models would be useful

22 22 Data (cont) Are there 2 tiers in tier 1 ? Is there a Private/Public factor? There are differences in those 2 tiers in focus within accounting sub-disciplines Are auditing and tax research being discouraged? May be demand without supply as a result. Could we reach out more to practitioners and under-represented groups? Yes, but if there is not data available for research in sub- disciplines there is a chilling effect on that scholarship

23 23 Data (cont) There may be different solutions required at points on the continuum of institutional type – environment/student type/financial etc. Could have implications for how doctoral students are prepared – Complication of availability of data and outlets for publishing focusing more in some sub- disciplines Can we compare our PhD shortage to other disciplines – in business and beyond?

24 24 Data (cont) Need to develop data showing the possible gap in supply of accounting graduates as well as faculty – and include firms analysis of their projected demand – to factor into the larger demand for faculty analysis Anecdotal evidence in comparison to searches for finance and accounting faculty – many more applications for finance reported by several How do AQ/PQ expectations/parameters for accreditation fit into the mix? Balancing resource demands

25 25 Students How do students see us – is what they see of the faculty profession attractive to students if our worklife balance doesn t reflect a healthy lifestyle? AACSB discussions with talented students suggest that the academic profession not attractive to top students But how much do they really understand of what we do? How can students really see what professors do? What the profession is like?

26 26 Follow up We need a regular data collection process rather than a one time study to understand these dynamics Incoming presidents of FSA (Bruce Behn) and APLG (Greg Carnes), and Kevin Stocks Larry Walther agree to work on the next steps in the data collection plan Need to focus on both supply and demand Graduate students may be taking the path of least resistance – financial classes being easier to teach leaving time to do research more easily

27 27 Follow up We also need information about characteristics of incoming students in doctoral programs – experience/nationality (concerns that many current doctoral students have no practice experience) Are PhD programs broken ? We are innovative in every other kind of program – but not the PhD (we don t exist in a vacuum – the medieval model didn t start in business – that culture prevalent in our institutions drives some of our issues) Do we reflect our passion for how our research benefits the public and is exciting for its possible impact? Our passion for the work!

28 28 Follow-up Do we make ourselves too narrow by funneling students into the safest routes for their research to be published (the right hits)? We need more examples/models of how to excite students about accounting research There used to be a doctoral coordinators conference/meeting – maybe reconvene? That could happen for a first meeting at the AAA Annual Mtg. in Chicago this August Strong doctoral students often do not have much teaching experience – is this a factor?

29 29 Next steps Action items PhD Coordinators meeting – 2007 Annual Meeting in Chicago New APLG/FSA task force to further develop the data collection plan – led by Bruce Behn (FSA) and Greg Carnes (APLG) with George Krull, Larry Walther, & Kevin Stocks Posting of these slides on the AAA PhD Shortage website and announcement via Add discussion board on this topic to the AAA website


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