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
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
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 DOCTORALLY-QUALIFIED ACCOUNTING FACULTY
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
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.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
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
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
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
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.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE FACULTY SHORTAGE
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
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
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
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).
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO THE SHORTAGE
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
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
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
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
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
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.
CONSTRAINTS ON USE OF NTT FACULTY
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
USE OF NTT FACULTY IN ACCOUNTING: THE FIRST STUDY
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.
USE OF NTT FACULTY IN ACCOUNTING: THE SECOND STUDY
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.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
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
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
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.
LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
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
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
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