newchairAfter 27 years on the faculty teaching financial reporting in our MPA, MBA, BBA, and PhD programs and conducting capital markets research with our faculty and doctoral students, I have landed in a foreign world. It’s called the office of the Department Chair. The past two months have been an unbelievable learning experience.

Prior to being on the faculty, like many of you reading this newsletter, I was also a student at UT. The four happiest years of my life were my years as a student; nothing else comes close. In my short time in the Department Chair’s office, I have come to realize that my experience as a student was so wonderful, in part, because as students we learned from and worked with faculty and staff who feel lucky to work here. In my new job, I am gaining a much fuller appreciation of the people – faculty, staff, students, and alumni – who work to make our programs so successful.

While I’d like to thank everyone who has made my years at UT rewarding, the list is too long for this space. Instead I’ll just mention a few of the folks that have assisted me during these initial two months as Department Chair. First, I want to offer a special thank you to Becki Henry, who puts in long hours keeping all aspects of department administration running smoothly. Everyone owes a debt of gratitude to Kristina Zvinakis for carrying the bulk of the load in preparing our five-year AACSB accreditation report. The accomplishments documented in that report are impressive and are a tribute to our former Chair, Lillian Mills, and to all of you – faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Here are some highlights.

The AACSB report documents how the UT Accounting faculty has achieved as great a combination of research and professional breadth and depth as any department in the country. Our research accomplishments are widely recognized. Recently, BYU’s respected ranking of accounting research productivity placed our Department first. Our professional standing is enhanced by three faculty members with substantial influence on current accounting practice: Michael Granof (GASB member, recently appointed to a second term), Bill Kinney (IAASB member), and Lisa Koonce (member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board Academic Resource Group).

The work of our Department and Program staff allows our faculty to focus on teaching and research. They arrange numerous alumni visits, student lunches, banquets, graduation ceremonies, research workshops for visiting scholars, etc. The MPA Program staff (led by Jim Franklin) coordinates MPA recruiting and provides students with outstanding academic and career advising. The essential work of all of these individuals often goes unseen, but is critical to the success of our Department and programs.

Our excellence in teaching and research attracts the best in-state and out-of-state students to our programs. Last year, entering MPA students had average GPAs of 3.76 and average GMATs of 664. And 95% of graduates seeking employment had jobs within three months of graduation. Our graduates are consistently recognized in the popular press as top in the nation. For example, U.S. News & World Report has given UT-Austin’s accounting program a #1 ranking for nine consecutive years and a top-five ranking for 23 consecutive years. The Public Accounting Report (PAR) has ranked our MPA program first for six consecutive years and 20 of the last 22 years. Our PhD program has been top-ranked by PAR for the past six years.

Alumni gifts (both annual giving and income from alumni-established endowments) and alumni participation in campus activities enhance all aspects of our work. Gifts and endowment income provide numerous scholarships that enable us to continually attract talented students to our MPA Program. Your gifts also provide academic development funds, faculty fellowships, professorships, and chairs that are essential to attracting the best faculty. Without your financial support, the faculty could not reach our international research standing, and we would not be able to maintain the depth and breadth of expertise to reach our academic program goals. On behalf of the entire faculty, THANK YOU. We always look forward to seeing you on the 40 Acres and I know our faculty appreciate hearing from their former students.

On the dimension of alumni giving, I would like to extend one more thank you to Lillian Mills for increasing alumni participation in student and faculty life during her term as department chair.

This year, we welcome two new Advisory Council members Scott Halliday and Meg Youngblood. Included inside are introductions to two new assistant professors Eric Chan and Brady Williams. On the instructor side, we welcome newly retired EY Partner Ken Brown who joins us after a 38 year career with that firm, most recently as EY’s Director of Global Reporting & Compliance Services.

Congratulations to Professor Michael Clement who was recently inducted into the PhD Project’s Hall of Fame for recognition of his work toward increasing diversity of business school faculty (more inside).

Also included inside are the “career secrets” of Jeff Johanns, a report on Jaime Schmidt’s research interests, and a profile of PhD student Brian Monsen.