Examining the Percetions of Professionally Oriented Accounting Faculty

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The critical role of professionally oriented (PO) faculty in accounting education is of growing importance due to the shortage of doctorally qualified accounting faculty and the desire to increase the practice relevance of accounting education. Recently, the Pathways Commission called for greater integration of PO faculty into accounting programs and research. In addition, the AACSB recently modified its accreditation standards to enhance the practice relevance of teaching and research. Given the importance of PO faculty to accounting education, this study reflects a systematic effort to assess the interests, needs, and aspirations of current PO faculty to help facilitate the integration of PO faculty, as called for by the Pathways Commission, and to examine issues associated with the Pathways Commission's call for examining alternative pathways to terminal degrees. The study surveyed 267 current PO accounting faculty members in the U.S. regarding their experiences and perceptions of their roles in accounting departments. Overall results suggest that these faculty members are largely satisfied with their experiences in academia. Participants also indicated that the teaching-related training, feedback, and guidance they receive are quite limited; participation in service activities is moderate; and involvement in research activities is low. In line with the concerns expressed by the Pathways Commission, part-time PO faculty frequently have aspirations for full-time and/or tenure track positions, and they view the lack of a doctorate as impeding their chance of achieving those aspirations. The findings support four themes highlighted by the Pathways Commission: (a) increasing access to doctoral education; (b) improving teaching-related training, feedback, and guidance; (c) more effectively integrating PO faculty into accounting departments; and (d) engaging PO faculty in research activities.