Making the Leap to Academia

BY FRANK C. MINTER

I read with great trepidation “ Teaching for the Love of It ” ( JofA , Jun.06, page 30). Much to my delight, I found the piece to be accurate and well-balanced on the issue of transitioning accounting practitioners into the classroom. The article correctly implied that never before has the need for quality faculty in accounting been so dependent upon practitioner involvement.

I would like to underscore that discipline cannot survive in academia if the attitude persists that accounting professionals can step right out of practice and into the classroom. The best transitions require not only particularly reflective accountants, but also those who are willing to be “reprogrammed” as capable researchers working on valuable issues.

Tim Fogarty
Professor and Associate Dean
Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland

I would like to add a couple of thoughts to the excellent article, “ Teaching for the Love of It .” The experiences described regarding professionals who make the transition from accounting careers in industry or public accounting apply to me. I retired from a senior financial officer position after more than 30 years and began teaching financial accounting at college level for another 10 years. I continue to teach a graduate financial theory course occasionally. There is nothing that has provided greater satisfaction than participating in the development of future professionals.

I strongly support the change of careers for others whether early in life or near the end. However, I would strongly urge anyone planning to make the move to the academic world to return to school and obtain the terminal degree. Professionally qualified faculty bring valuable outside experience into the classroom, but without the “union card” (the PhD or DBA) they are not recognized or rewarded at the same level as those who do. Even at nonresearch institutions, faculty rank and salary are less than for academically qualified faculty. The degree won’t make them a better teacher or better faculty member, but it will give them greater respect in the academy as well as significantly better compensation.

Frank C. Minter
Executive-in-Residence
Samford University
Birmingham, Ala.

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