Accounting professor positions remain unfilled for second year

Media Credit: Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor

The accounting department in the School of Business has been struggling to hire two positions for more than two years.

The accounting department has been struggling to fill two positions for more than two years.

The department has listed one open associate professor position and one endowed chair position for one year and two years, respectively. Officials said high demand for professors in accounting has prevented the positions from being filled.

The associate professor, tenure-track position has a proposed start date of August 2017 and applications were scheduled to be reviewed nearly two years ago, according to the GW Jobs website. The job description calls for a candidate with a strong research background and a high standard of teaching skills.

The department is also searching for the Benjamin Franklin Chair of Accountancy, a position which was endowed in the 1990s after the Benjamin Franklin University merged with GW, according to GW Library records detailing the University’s agreement with the former University President Lloyd Elliott.

“The agreement provides an excellent opportunity for qualified Benjamin Franklin University students to continue their education,” Elliott said at the time.

Applications were intended to be reviewed for the position starting in fall 2015, and the professor would start as early as fall 2016, according to the GW jobs website. The faculty member would work with doctoral students and “should be nationally recognized scholars,” the job description states.

University spokesman Jason Shevrin said the business school carefully selects top teachers for each open position. The searches for open positions can take longer for fields like accounting, where top faculty are in “high demand.”

“Regardless, GWSB is confident that we have an appropriate number of faculty to meet our needs on an ongoing basis,” Shevrin said.

The number of accounting majors in the business school has increased by roughly 17 percent in the past five years – from 271 to 317 majors between 2012 and 2017, the most recent data available from the Office of Institutional Research and Planning.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2017 that 108,600 new jobs will open up in the accounting field by 2026. Accounting jobs for financial officers are expected to see a 19-percent growth in jobs over the same time.

Shevrin declined to say when the positions were expected to be filled. He also declined to say how much the endowed chair was worth.

Robin Tarpley, the chair of the accounting department, said the department is “comfortable” despite the unfilled positions.

“It’s a competitive market, but we’re comfortable where we are now, staff-wise,” she said.

She declined to say why accounting professors are in high demand or provide other details, saying she did not “have anything to add.” Tarpley added in an email that the endowed chair is the only vacant position in the department, but she did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking when the associate professor position was filled or who took the job.

Three professors in the department declined requests to comment and 15 other professors did not return multiple requests for comment.

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