Addressing the shortage of accounting faculty: using non-tenure-track positions.
A serious imbalance between the supply of and demand for doctorally-qualified accounting faculty exists in the United States. Recent research shows that this shortage is likely to become more severe in the next five to ten years if no new action is taken. This paper outlines factors that have led to the accounting faculty shortage, then examines the likelihood that those factors will change or that schools of business will be able to respond to those factors or their effects in the near future. The paper identifies one strategy that business schools might use to alleviate the shortage, the use of non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty, and then reports the results of two studies that assess the extent to which that strategy is being undertaken by business schools that have doctoral programs in accounting. The paper includes commentary on how business schools, individually or collectively through organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), might cope with this accounting faculty shortage. The paper concludes with a discussion of our studies' limitations and offers suggestions for future research.

Article Type:
College teachers (Management)
Accounting (Educational aspects)
Business education (Management)
Schneider, Gary P.
Sheikh, Aamer
Pub Date:
Name: Academy of Educational Leadership Journal Publisher: The DreamCatchers Group, LLC Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 The DreamCatchers Group, LLC ISSN: 1095-6328
Date: Jan, 2012 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 1
Event Code: 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Company business management
Product Code: 9915400 Accounting Methods SIC Code: 8721 Accounting, auditing, & bookkeeping
Geographic Scope: Turkey Geographic Code: 7TURK Turkey
Accession Number:
Full Text:

An increasing shortage of doctorally qualified accounting faculty has been documented in recent years. This shortage is due to both supply and demand issues; specifically, the supply of PhDs in accounting is near an all time low, while the demand is near an all time high. On the supply side, fewer and fewer students are graduating with doctoral degrees in accounting. On the demand side, a significant number of tenured accounting faculty are nearing retirement. At the same time, the professional demand for graduates in accounting is growing, which increases the demand for accounting faculty. This leaves an increasing number of faculty openings in accounting at universities across the United States at the time when demand for professional accountants is also rising.

Accrediting agencies such as the AACSB have standards for the mix of academically qualified (AQ) and professionally qualified (PQ) faculty that business schools should use to meet their objectives. The ability of business schools to meet these standards is reduced by a shortage of accounting faculty, especially a shortage of doctorally-trained accounting faculty. The ability of business schools to meet AACSB accreditation standards proxies for a larger issue: the ability of business schools to maintain or improve the quality of the education they offer. A persistent quality impairment could threaten not only accounting education, but business education as a whole because accounting principles courses make up a significant part of the core curriculum at most schools of business.

In the research reported here, we establish the existence of the accounting faculty shortage, outline the AACSB guidelines that restrict the range of solutions to the shortage by hiring faculty from pools other than the traditional source, accounting doctoral programs, and examine how some business schools have attempted to reduce the impact of the shortage on their operations by hiring NTT faculty. In the empirical part of the research, we conduct one study of archival data on faculty employment published in the Hasselback (1988, 2006) directories and a second study of archival data published by universities on their Web sites.

Our analysis of these data show that some business schools; in particular, those with doctoral programs in accounting; have responded to the increasing shortage of doctorally qualified accounting faculty by hiring more NTT faculty. We then discuss the implications of these results for AACSB accreditation as well as the quality of accounting education in the United States.


The shortage of accounting faculty, like all such conditions in a market, results from an imbalance of demand and supply. In the market for accounting faculty, the demand is driven by the number of students majoring in accounting in business schools and, to a lesser extent, by the number of students enrolled in other business school majors (most business schools require all majors to take one or two courses in introductory accounting). Most of the supply is provided by doctorate-granting accounting programs (Ruff, et al., 2009). In the U.S. market, most faculty hired are graduates of U.S. doctoral programs.

The Demand for Doctorally-Qualified Accounting Faculty

Professional services firms are increasing their demand for accounting graduates. The passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 increased demand for accountants to new highs (Reigle, et al., 2008). This growth in accounting jobs continued through the start of the economic downturn in 2008.

Since then, accounting employment has suffered along with the rest of the economy, but prospects for new accounting degree holders remain stronger than any other business degree holders (VanderMey, 2009). Accounting job recruitment firm Robert Half (2008) predicted a 3.4 percent salary increase for accountants in 2009 and notes that professionals who can help companies reduce inefficiencies and increase profits continue to be in demand. Apparently, companies in trouble need accountants, even after they enter bankruptcy. And regulatory agencies could well require more accountants over the next few years to help monitor government stimulus spending and money given to financial institutions. This continued strong demand for persons trained in accounting should continue to drive a consistent demand for faculty members who can teach in accounting programs.

The Supply of Doctorally-Qualified Accounting Faculty

The American Accounting Association (AAA) is the primary professional organization that sponsors job placement activities for U.S. faculty positions in accounting. In recent years, the job placement area at annual AAA meetings has been a place where frustrated faculty members hoping to recruit faculty are mixed with the few bright faces of doctoral students nearing their dissertation defenses. The recruiters are frustrated by the dearth of candidates and the candidates are excited by their prospects for negotiating excellent salary and benefit offers.

The AAA has posted data regarding its placement activities in the job placement area in recent years. Data posted at the 2008 annual meeting includes the number of schools who had positions available and the number of candidates who submitted a resume to the placement center in advance of the meeting. These data show a fairly steady increase in the demand for accounting faculty over the 17 years from 1992 through 2008. Figure 1 shows the growing disparity between the supply of accounting faculty as approximated by the number of resumes posted by candidates to the AAA Placement Center and the demand for accounting faculty approximated by the number of schools with positions listed in the AAA Placement Center.


These data present a bleak picture of a serious faculty shortage that has grown larger consistently over the past decade. As bleak as the data shown in Figure 1 are, it is likely that they actually understate the problem. The data on schools with positions lists each school just once, even if the school has multiple positions. Some schools have listed three or four positions in recent years. The data on candidates is also not completely accurate, since some doctoral program advisors recommend that their students not post resumes in the AAA Placement Center. These schools prefer to assist their students with placement by having their faculty write recommendation letters that they send to specific schools. It is, however, very likely that any understatement of the number of positions in these data is far greater than any understatement of the number of candidates applying for these open positions.

According to the 2008-2009 edition of the Accounting Faculty Directory (Hasselback, 2008), only 123 persons earned a doctorate in accounting in 2006 (the most recent number reported) and average numbers for the most recent five years (2002-2006) and ten years (1997-2006) of 117.6 and 124.6, respectively. These moving average calculations, especially when compared to the average of 156.6 for the 19 years of individually reported totals (1988-2006) suggest that doctoral accounting graduate production is decreasing over the long term. Hasselback (2008) reports 90 active doctoral programs in the United States with a total of 722 students currently enrolled. This enrollment number might be cause for optimism, however, most doctoral programs have an average completion time of four to five years and experience dropout rates of 20 to 40 percent. Using a 30 percent dropout rate and a completion time of 4.5 years, those 722 doctoral students turn into faculty members at an annual rate of 112.3, which is not a very encouraging number.

Other sources report significant concerns regarding the imbalance between supply and demand for accounting faculty. Leslie (2008) notes that the steady state production level of new doctorates in accounting is about 140 per year, yet retirements are expected at a rate of about 500 per year. If these numbers are correct, the accounting faculty shortage is likely to increase over the next ten years, with a cumulative effect as open accounting faculty positions fail to be filled each year. Behn, et al. (2008) estimate an expected annual production of between 100-200 new doctorates per year and compare that production with expected retirements of 1500 during the eight year period 2006-2014 and conclude that even if no new positions were created due to demand flattening or trending down (both unlikely prospects) the shortage would continue well into the future. Hasselback (2007) presents some statistics that are truly concerning, including: more than half of all accounting faculty are 55 or older, that their modal age is over 60, and that there are more accounting professors in their seventies than in their thirties.

Plumlee et al. (2006) conclude that less than half of the demand for new doctorates in accounting will be met, with acute shortages occurring in the areas of auditing and tax. Nelson, et al. (2008) document that fewer and fewer students are choosing to enter doctoral programs in accounting. Both Plumlee et al. (2006) and Leslie (2008) report that an increasing number of doctorates (as many as 50 percent) in accounting are being earned by non-U.S. citizens, many of whom are likely to return to their native countries upon graduation, further exacerbating the faculty shortage in the United States.


The shortage has already had a significant impact on starting salaries for accounting faculty. Leslie (2008) reports that between 1993 and 2004, base salary as well as total annual compensation has more than doubled for doctorally qualified faculty younger than 45. According to the 2007-2008 U.S. Salary Survey Report conducted by the AACSB (2007), the average starting nine-month salary for new doctorates in accounting was $124,600. The AACSB (2007) reports that this starting salary is increasing at approximately ten percent every year. At this rate, nine-month salaries for new doctorates are projected to climb above $165,000 for new faculty starting in Fall 2010.

This rapid rise in starting salaries for new doctorates is leading to salary compression at many business schools and is leading to salary inversion in some cases. New Assistant Professors often earn significantly more than more experienced faculty at Associate Professor and Professor ranks (Samavati, et al., 2007). Leslie (2008) reports that accounting faculty members under the age of 41 earn, on average, higher pay than faculty over the age of 41.

Summer Research and Reduced Teaching Loads

Nine-month salary numbers are only part of the compensation issue. Many business schools attempt to attract top newly minted doctorate-holding candidates to join their faculty by offering substantial amounts of summer research funding and reduced teaching loads for multiple years (Hermanson, 2008; Leslie, 2008).

Research-oriented programs frequently offer summer research funding in amounts that range between one and two months of the nine-month salary. Thus, average total compensation for new accounting doctorates in accounting in Fall, 2007 might have ranged from $138,400 to $152,300 when the additional summer funding is added to AACSB (2007) nine-month salary numbers.

Teaching loads at a research-oriented school for a new faculty member are often minimized. A school might offer a teaching load that includes two or three sections of the same course during one semester a year. In some schools, new faculty teach one graduate course during an eight-week period once each year.

Even schools that place less emphasis on research find themselves competing in a tight market for good candidates and must offer similar inducements to hire quality faculty. In many such cases, senior faculty must pick up the teaching burden. This can impair collegiality as more experienced faculty find themselves working more to subsidize the lighter teaching loads of new faculty who might well be earning more than they earn.

Eaton (2007) and Hermanson (2008) voice concerns that this increased emphasis on research (in both quality and quantity) over teaching or service in faculty compensation, tenure, and promotion decisions will lead fewer accounting faculty to focus their efforts on improving their teaching or undertaking important service activities (Bailey, 2008).

Faculty Workload Concerns

The impact of the shortage is not limited to the strain it is placing on the budgets of business schools. Longer term, there are serious consequences for accounting as an academic discipline (Demski, 2007; Fellingham, 2007). Faculty members who are stretched thin because they are doing more work in accounting departments affected by the shortage could tend to do less research. They are already working more hours than other business faculty. Leslie (2008) reports survey results that show that accounting faculty average a 52-hour work week and have higher teaching loads and higher productivity than faculty in other areas of business.

This kind of workload excess is not sustainable in the long run (Blau, 1994; Dilts, et al., 1994). The potential for a decrease in the quantity and quality of research is significant. Since most business schools impose productivity standards that encourage faculty members to produce a certain level of research in specific quantities, other areas of research activity are likely to suffer first. One such research activity is the amount of time and effort faculty at doctorate-granting schools spend with their doctoral students. This activity is hard for deans and department chairs to measure and, therefore, subject to reduction.

A reduction in the effort and time devoted to doctoral students could lead to a downward spiral in which fewer doctoral students get less mentoring, fewer doctoral students succeed and go on to be mentors of doctoral students, which leads to an intensification of the reduction in research effort and quality, which then leads to more of the same. In the long run, a faculty shortage could be very harmful to the future of academic accounting as a whole (Bailey, 2008).


Two options exist for alleviating a shortage in any market. First, the demand can be reduced. Second, the supply can be increased. Since demand is exogenous to the business school in this market, the only alternative is for business schools, acting either individually or collectively, to increase the supply. To reverse the current downward trend in supply will require a significant effort. In approximate terms, the goal would be to go from producing 100-150 doctorates in accounting each year to something on the order of 200-300, and to do so rather quickly. Every year in which the supply is not increased adds a degree of cumulative shortage to the problem.

Increasing the Number of Doctoral Students

One possibility is to increase admissions to existing doctoral programs or to increase the retention rates in those programs. Most doctoral programs are small by design and would need changes in their structures to double their enrollments. And retention alone will not produce sufficient numbers of new doctoral graduates. Dropout rates are estimated to be between 20 and 40 percent; if every single one of those students were retained, their numbers would provide less than half of the increase needed.

Another possibility is to add new doctoral programs at business schools that do not currently offer them. Doctoral programs are very expensive to operate and require a high level of commitment from the school's faculty. Of the 101 U.S. doctoral programs listed in Hasselback (2008), 11 are currently listed as "inactive." Although accounting departments suspend or close doctoral programs for many reasons, it appears that resource constraints are affecting at least some of these inactive programs. Given that the faculty shortage has been in place for a number of years, we could be witnessing an increase in the number of inactive programs as an early sign of the downward spiral mentioned earlier in this paper. A spontaneous reversal of this downward trend is unlikely.

Recently, a group of some 80 accounting firms agreed to provide $15 million in funding to support up to 120 new doctoral students (AAA, 2008), with 30 students to start each year beginning in Fall, 2009. Although efforts such as these are truly commendable and certainly welcome, an additional 30 students a year will be insufficient to resolve the shortage problem.

Retraining Faculty in Other Disciplines

In 2007, the AACSB introduced an initiative that will prepare doctoral faculty from academic disciplines outside of business to qualify for faculty positions in business disciplines, including accounting (Ruff, et al., 2009). This initiative, called the Post-Doctoral Bridge to Business, began in 2008 at five business schools around the world. The idea behind this program is that a doctoral education imparts a set of broad abilities and that those abilities can be transferred from one domain to another (Marshall, et al., 2006). Only two of these schools are in the United States and have active doctoral programs in accounting (the University of Florida and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University).

The two most popular transitions in these programs to date are psychology professors becoming qualified to hold management or marketing positions and economics professors becoming finance professors. Given the limited number of schools who offer these bridge programs and the nature of academic accounting inquiry, which often requires mastery of significant domain-specific knowledge, it is unlikely that these programs will develop more than a few faculty candidates for accounting positions.

Opportunity Costs of a Doctoral Education in Accounting

After reviewing solutions that are designed to increase the supply of doctoral students, we concluded that none of them exhibit a high likelihood of being successful, either alone or in combination. The difficulty of attracting good candidates into doctoral programs and keeping them in these programs for the five or six years (Deloitte, 2007) needed to complete a degree is exacerbated by the conditions under which potential candidates make their decisions. The opportunity costs are significant.

Although doctoral program candidates have all manner of backgrounds, let us consider one example. A person who holds a masters degree in business or accounting, has passed the CPA exam, and has a few years of progressively more responsible experience in public accounting or industry. Such a person would be well qualified to undertake doctoral study in accounting and could well be earning an annual salary in the range of $75,000 to $125,000 (Robert Half, 2008) in her current position. To develop an estimate of the opportunity costs of a doctoral program in accounting for this individual, let us assume that she will need to give up an annual income of $100,000 during the four to six years she will be enrolled in a doctoral program. Some might argue it is not realistic to ask young persons to give up a half million dollars for a 70 percent chance at having a 50 percent increase in salary to begin five years later.

One accounting doctoral program director that we interviewed said, "In most cases, if you are smart enough to be a good doctoral student, you are smart enough not to become a doctoral student at all!" In years past, one could argue that the lifestyle of a college professor was an attraction. With today's average 52-hour work week, we are not certain that the lifestyle argument remains compelling.

Hiring Faculty Who Do Not Hold a Doctoral Degree

We have identified one possible solution to the shortage that does not require an increase in doctorate-holding faculty. That solution is for accounting departments to employ more NTT faculty. NTT faculty typically do not hold a doctoral degree. They might not even hold a masters degree.

In years past, many accounting departments relied on instructors who did not hold advanced degrees or conduct research. The practitioner-teacher model was dominant. A baccalaureate degree and a professional certification was deemed sufficient to enter the classroom and teach undergraduate accounting courses. Many of these faculty members had tenure and were included as valued members of accounting departments during the shift from the practitioner-teacher faculty model to the teacher-scholar model that was adopted throughout the 1960s and 1970s at most business schools. As these old stalwarts of academic accounting retired, they were replaced with doctorally-qualified faculty members.

A number of schools continue to hire practitioner-teacher faculty to instruct in principles courses or to handle specific curriculum needs with which practitioners often have more expertise than teacher-scholars. Examples of these areas of expertise include forensic accounting, advanced tax accounting, accounting information systems, internal auditing, and governmental accounting. In many cases, these NTT faculty teach part time, but others hold full-time appointments.

NTT faculty have a wide range of backgrounds, but can include local practitioners who run a small accounting firm, accountants working for local businesses, not-for-profit organizations, or governmental agencies, and accountants who hold law degrees and maintain legal practices. In 2007, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) began a program called PwC Teaches that commits 20 of the firm's senior partners to teach courses at business schools each year (Madison, 2007). Few, if any, of these partners hold doctoral degrees, but one would expect all of them to draw on a wealth of practical experience when they enter the classroom that will benefit accounting students.


Although the use of NTT faculty offers a potential solution to the faculty shortage problem, there are constraints on the use of such faculty in most business schools. All schools must comply with the guidelines of their geographic accrediting agency. In addition, many business schools voluntarily submit to the guidelines of a business program accrediting body. Although a significant number of business schools hold accreditations from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), the AACSB is the oldest and best-established organization that accredits business programs. Thus, we will outline here the constraints that the AACSB guidelines place on the use of faculty who do not hold doctoral degrees or who do not hold full-time appointments. Although the AACSB guidelines do not address specifically the issue of deploying NTT faculty, most NTT faculty do not hold a doctoral degree, do not hold a full-time appointment, or both. The other two major business program accreditors have guidelines similar in general effect to those of the AACSB.

Academically Qualified Faculty and Professionally Qualified Faculty

AACSB accreditation standards specify that business school faculty consists of "Academically Qualified (AQ)" and "Professionally Qualified (PQ)" faculty. AQ faculty typically hold a doctoral degree, while PQ faculty typically do not. AQ faculty must engage in research that results in publication at levels that have steadily increased in recent years (Arlinghaus, 2002, 2008). PQ faculty typically do not engage in research that leads to publication, although some PQ faculty do so.

AACSB guidelines provide that at least 50 percent of all teaching must be done by AQ faculty. If the school offers graduate programs, a higher percentage than 50 percent must be done by AQ faculty (AACSB, 2006, p. 9). The specific number is not specified, but it is generally understood that as the proportion of graduate courses increases, the proportion of teaching done by AQ faculty must also increase. There is an additional requirement that 90 percent of all teaching must be done by faculty that are either AQ or PQ.

AACSB Standard 9 on faculty sufficiency states that all students must be taught by "appropriately qualified faculty" and that "participating faculty" must provide at least 70 percent of overall teaching and at least 60 percent of the teaching effort in "each discipline, each academic program, and each location" (AACSB, 2008, p. 38). Participating faculty are any faculty that participate in running the affairs of the business school "beyond direct teaching responsibilities ... include[ing] policy decisions, educational directions, advising, research, and service commitments" (AACSB, 2008, p. 37). Participating faculty can include both tenure-track (TT) faculty, who are generally AQ, and NTT faculty, who might be PQ. Gooding, et al. (2007) provide an example that demonstrates the proper classification of participating faculty as AQ or PQ. Koys (2008) presents a points-based system for classifying faculty members according to the AACSB guidelines.

Accounting Practitioners and PQ Status

Under current AACSB standards, many accounting practitioners who might be good candidates for NTT faculty positions would not be PQ because they do not hold a masters degree in accounting. The masters degree is required unless the faculty member has significant professional experience, which is generally interpreted as experience at the senior partner level or its equivalent. The CPA or similar professional license or certification is explicitly defined as not equivalent to a masters degree and thus not sufficient to establish the minimum academic credential for PQ status (AACSB, 2006).

As more practitioners become licensed CPAs under 150-hour rules, there will be fewer potential NTT faculty candidates who lack this minimum PQ academic credential since most of them will have obtained a masters degree to qualify for their professional license. But in many states, the AACSB's refusal to consider a professional license to be the equivalent of a masters degree will prevent many potential NTT faculty from being considered PQ.


Despite the constraints on the use of NTT faculty, it is reasonable to expect that business schools could be using such faculty to compensate for the full-time tenure-track (TT) faculty that they are unable to hire. Given the increasing level of the shortage we have documented earlier in this paper, we expected to find evidence that accounting departments hire NTT faculty and that they have increased the use of NTT faculty in recent years.

Generally stated, our hypothesis was that accounting departments have increasingly used NTT faculty that are PQ to the extent they can and still remain within the guidelines for the use of PQ faculty established by the AACSB and similar accrediting bodies. We further expected that the results would be more dramatic for public schools than for private schools since public schools should be relatively more willing to make tradeoffs to improve or maintain their research capabilities than private schools, which must deliver a high quality education to students who are paying high tuition. Public schools are frequently faced with arbitrary budget cuts that are not mapped well to their objectives and are, therefore, expected to turn more readily to the use of NTT faculty as a budget compliance measure (Ehrenberg and Zhang, 2005; Liu and Zhang, 2007; Hermanson, 2008). Thus, we expected to find a greater increase in public schools' use of NTT faculty, although we expected to see increases in both public and private schools.


In our first study, we set out to determine whether the use of NTT faculty has increased over a relatively long time frame. We examined Hasselback (2006) to identify the percentage of accounting faculty that were employed as NTT faculty at the 94 doctorate-granting schools listed. We restricted the data set to doctorate-granting schools because they would be AACSB accredited and would be schools with a mission that led them to hire as many AQ status faculty as they could.


We classified faculty holding the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor as TT faculty. We included chaired faculty but did not include emeritus faculty or faculty members holding dean or other administrative positions. We classified faculty not holding doctoral degrees, faculty with the rank of instructor, or faculty with titles including the word "clinical" as NTT faculty. These classifications are approximations since it is possible for instructors to be on a tenure track or for assistant professors or others not to be on tenure track. We believe that any misclassifications would tend to balance out over such a large set of data.

We compared the percentage calculated for the 2006-2007 data (Hasselback, 2006) to the same percentage for the same schools calculated for 1988 (Hasselback, 1988) to determine the long run change in this percentage. We expected a statistically significant increase.


Our classification procedure yielded information on 1,630 faculty, which we categorized as TT (n=1,448) and NTT (n=182) for the year 1988. For the 2006-2007 year, we identified a total of 1,495 faculty, which we categorized as TT (n=1,245) and NTT (n=250). We find that the mean percentage of NTT accounting faculty employed at doctoral granting institutions increased from 10.6 percent in 1988 to 14.8 percent in 2006-2007. Using a paired t-test on the means indicates that the increase in the percentage was significant (t=2.52, p=0.013). This result is consistent with Fogarty and Markarian (2007) who found that doctoral granting accounting programs increased their use of NTT faculty from 13.3 percent in 1982 to 17.5 percent in 2002.

When divided into private and public schools, we see that the overall result is driven by a steep rise in the use of NTT faculty at public doctorate-granting schools. NTT faculty were 10.6 percent of total faculty in 1988 at these schools, but the proportion rose to 17.2 percent by 2006-2007. Again using a paired t-test, we found that the increase in the proportion was highly significant (t=3.56, p=0.0007). The private schools' NTT faculty percentage did not increase in this time period, going from 10.7 to 10.1 percent, but the decrease we observed was not significant (t=0.19, p=0.848).

Summary of First Study

To summarize the results of this first study, there has been a significant increase from 1988 to 2006-2007 in the use of NTT faculty at doctorate-granting U.S. schools. The effect is more pronounced for public schools and there has not been a significant change in the use of NTT faculty at private schools. Our estimate of the percentage of faculty at these doctorate-granting schools that is NTT faculty in 2006-2007 is 14.8 percent, with private schools at 10.1 percent and public schools at 17.2 percent.

Motivation for the Second Study

The way we gathered data in the first study could be biased against finding NTT faculty because it is possible that schools do not submit information about their NTT faculty to the Hasselback Directory. This bias could cause our estimates to be understated, which would bias against the increase we identified and might have caused us to conclude erroneously that there was no significant increase in the use of NTT faculty at private schools. We undertook a second study to confirm the results we observed in this first study. This second study is described in the next section of the paper.


In this study, we wanted to avoid some of the bias inherent in the first study. Instead of gathering the faculty data from the Hasselback Directory, we turned to the Web sites of the schools.


In the second study we gathered data from the Web sites of schools listed as having active doctoral programs in accounting in Hasselback (2008). In this study, we did not use the faculty listings in the Hasselback Directory to identify faculty as TT and NTT, but instead read pages on the schools' Web sites to determine faculty members' status. We reviewed these Web sites over a two-month period in late 2008, expecting that the data would reflect the schools' faculty complement for the academic year 2008-2009.


Our sampling identified 93 schools and yielded 1,820 faculty profiles, which we categorized as TT (n=1,297) and NTT (n=522). The overall percentage of NTT faculty was 28.7 percent, with public schools averaging 30.7 percent NTT faculty and private schools averaging 22.8 percent NTT faculty. The difference between these proportions for public and private schools was significant (t=3.01, p=0.0017).

Although some of the school Web sites were difficult to navigate and some did not provide full information for each faculty member, we were able to clear up major ambiguities with a few phone calls. We believe this second study includes information that is more accurate than could be gathered using any other technique, since it uses the schools' Web sites. We assume that each school desires to disclose accurate information about the qualifications of its faculty. Further, doctorate-granting institutions should have a very high standard for disclosing information related to the quality of their programs; doctoral programs are expensive to operate and provide benefits in the form of enhanced reputation. A school that undertakes a doctoral program would be highly likely to exert considerable effort to ensure that faculty information on its Web site was accurate since its reputation depends, at least in part, on the reputation of its faculty.

Summary of Second Study

The use of NTT faculty in this second study was consistent with the results obtained in our first study, but the magnitude of the use of

NTT faculty was considerably larger than the use identified in the first study. Part of this finding could be a result of the use of slightly later data in the second study (use of 2008-2009 data instead of 2006-2007 data), however, it is more likely that the higher percentages identified is a result of the greater accuracy of the data in the second study.


We undertook these two studies to determine whether accounting programs were using NTT faculty in any substantial way to cope with the shortage of accounting faculty. We concluded that there is significant use of NTT faculty by doctorate-granting accounting programs. This use has increased overall since 1988 and the use of NTT faculty is consistently greater by accounting doctoral programs at public schools than it is by programs at private schools.

Our finding that, overall, 28.7 percent of the faculty at these prestigious accounting programs were NTT faculty suggests that the shortage has had a serious impact on the quality of education at even the best schools. Having almost one-third of a school's faculty not tenured or on a tenure track suggests that some schools have adopted a two-tier model for faculty appointments. If this is an intentional strategy, there might be arguments that could support such a strategy, but if it is a result forced by the tight market for accounting faculty, then the effect on faculty sufficiency is cause for concern.

The AACSB includes guidelines for faculty sufficiency in its accreditation review policies. Since most NTT faculty are not AQ, and the AACSB (2008) mandates that the percentage of non-AQ faculty be between zero and 50 percent (depending on the mission of the university), a NTT faculty component of 28.7 percent might be cause for serious concern. This is especially true for the schools in our sample. By virtue of having doctoral and other substantial masters programs, the likely interpretation of the AACSB rule on faculty sufficiency would be closer to zero than 50 percent. Given our results, many of these schools might be in an uncomfortable situation during their next AACSB accreditation review.

In our sample, four schools had a percentage of NTT faculty that exceeded 50 percent and 15 schools had a percentage that was between 40 and 50 percent. We are not suggesting that these schools are below the AACSB acceptable percentages for faculty sufficiency. The AACSB (2008) guidelines are applied to various measures of teaching (such as the courses taught by faculty members and student credit hours taught by faculty measures), not the simple number of faculty. However, our results do suggest that many of these schools might be closer to the maximum use of NTT faculty than they would like to be.

A larger question than the one we examine specifically in our two studies is the issue of what academic accountants can do to ensure their survival. In terms of AACSB accreditation, the increasing use of accounting faculty not on tenure-track can jeopardize the AACSB accreditation of business schools. This is least likely to occur at schools that offer doctorates in accounting, since most new Ph.D.s in accounting are hired by other doctoral granting schools. However, the danger can be very real if one looks at schools that only have a masters program or only offer an undergraduate degree in business disciplines. These schools often cannot offer the salary, summer support, and other resources that many new Ph.D. holders in accounting desire. As a result, schools without a doctoral degree in accounting are finding it increasingly difficult to hire doctorally-qualified accounting faculty. Some business schools are already hiring accounting faculty away from their peer schools to ensure that they do not run afoul of AACSB guidelines during the reaccreditation process. This exercise in "musical chairs" is likely to intensify in the next few years as the shortage of accounting faculty increases.

As fewer and fewer retiring accounting faculty are replaced in the next few years, universities at all levels are likely to hire more and more NTT faculty to replace the retiring faculty. These replacements could raise faculty sufficiency issues when the school is up for accreditation, especially for schools without doctoral programs. The teaching quality could also suffer as an increasing number of students are taught by NTT faculty (Ehrenberg, 2004; Ehrenberg and Zhang, 2005; Liu and Zhang, 2007). Not only does the future for accounting as an academic discipline look bleak, but problems in hiring doctorally qualified accounting faculty are increasingly going to translate into accreditation problems.

There are observers of the academic accounting community, including some of its own members, who do not see any issue with increasing the use of NTT faculty. Although one can draw a number of distinctions between the training, experience, and current work activities of TT and NTT faculty, it is difficult to determine that one is desirable to the exclusion of the other. NTT faculty have the advantage of being less expensive to hire and maintain. TT faculty have the advantage of being more prepared academically and engaging in the current production of research, generally speaking.

Some have argued that NTT faculty teach well and provide mentoring that helps accounting programs produce well-trained graduates ready for the jobs that await them (see, for example, Madison, 2007 and Smith, 2007). Others (see, for example, Bailey, 2008 and results reported in Koys, 2008) argue that the importance of academic accountants maintaining their credibility in the academy is of crucial importance and that accounting faculty who do not hold doctorates cannot participate in this academic life to the same degree as accounting faculty who do hold doctorates. Bailey (2008, C38) notes "The primary professional missions of the academic accountants are to contribute to maintaining leadership in accounting research, teaching, and service, including, but not limited to, contributions to practice." Bailey (2008, C40) continues on to state that turning to NTT faculty as a solution to the accounting faculty shortage will "lower the reputation of the accounting discipline in academe" in ways that will encourage business school deans to reduce the budgets allocated to accounting programs.

To conclude, we find that the use of NTT faculty by accounting doctoral programs is probably greater than the schools would like it to be. It is probably greater than the accrediting bodies would like it to be. And, finally, it is probably greater than the demands of providing a high-quality education to students should allow it to be.


Although we did use a multi-method approach (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 2003) with two separate studies that used separate methods and drew from different data sets, our research does have some limitations. Since we used only information about doctoral programs in accounting, our results cannot be generalized to the entire population of accounting programs.

Schools that offer masters degrees and baccalaureate degrees and schools that offer only baccalaureate degrees do face the same challenges as a result of the faculty shortage, however, they might have developed different strategies for dealing with it. We do suspect that many of these non-doctoral schools do face the same issues, perhaps in greater magnitude, and largely have the same set of possible responses. To the extent that is true, the results of this study do apply to those schools.

A logical extension of this research would be to replicate it with a larger sample, including schools that do not have doctoral programs. We intentionally limited our research to U.S. schools, however, an extension of the work presented here that includes non-U.S. schools could identify this as a problem that is international in scope.

In the second study, we were limited to gathering information from Web sites as they exist at the current time. A logical extension of the second study would be to gather the same information in subsequent years and compare it to the data in our study to determine whether trends can be detected in this set of what we believe to be data that are more accurate than those we used in the first study.

One accounting program director who spoke to us stated that an increasing number of accounting departments at prestigious schools (which would include most or all of our sample schools) have begun using a new tactic to deal with the faculty shortage. These schools, which generally have very high standards for tenure, have begun hiring NTT faculty who hold doctoral degrees and are publishing enough to maintain AQ status, even though the quality and quantity of their publishing activity would not be sufficient to earn them tenure at that school. Instead of a two-tier faculty system, these schools have implemented what is, effectively, a three-tier system. One limitation of our research is that we would have counted these AQ, NTT faculty as TT faculty (in both of our studies).


We are grateful to Janice Ammons, David Burns, Marty Gosman, Jim Greenspan, Donn Johnson, Scott Lane, Matt O'Connor, Kathy Simione, participants at the Spring 2009 Allied Academies International Conference, participants at the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Business Education, and participants at the 2008 Annual Conference of the Academy of Accounting, Finance and Economics for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. We also want to thank our graduate research assistant, Michael Fisher, for his assistance with data compilation and the Quinnipiac University School of Business for its support of this research.


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Gary P. Schneider, Quinnipiac University

Aamer Sheikh, Quinnipiac University
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