Accounting program ranked among best in educational research

The University of Saskatchewan Department of Accounting is known for its teaching excellence and a recent study out of the U.S. supports this.

The study ranked accounting programs based on the number of articles published in accounting education journals over the past six, 12 and 20 years, and the U of S program ranked among the best. Led by researchers from Brigham Young University and the University of West Virginia, the study looked at more than 700 post-secondary accounting programs from around the world and counted the number of peer-reviewed articles that appeared in the top journals.

When the numbers were tallied, the U of S placed in the top three for each time period and was first overall during the past 12 years, explained Fred Phillips, an accounting professor whose work, along with the work of seven of his departmental colleagues, was included in the study.

"The U of S was the top Canadian program; it shows that our department achieved what we set out to," said Phillips. "A distinguishing characteristic of our department is that we have invested in the development of educational tools."

Phillips, who has been an accounting professor for the past 17 years, said that when he first started at the U of S, there was a shift to greater acceptance of educational research.

"When I first joined the university, they emphasized the importance of being a teacher/ scholar and to perform both research and teaching aspects. There was a need for more evidenced-based teaching so it was a perfect time to get into educational research."

And since that time, Phillips has excelled in this area of research. The same study ranked all professors on productivity and Phillips placed first in both the six- and 12-year timeframes, and second in the 20-year frame.

"This type of research is important because it informs our teaching with scholarly evidence and means our teaching decisions are based on more than just intuition. It also engages us to think about educational materials and create new materials to use. For me, it is also a unique way to involve undergrad students in scholarly research projects," said Phillips, who has tried to include undergrads as co-authors on many published articles.

"Undergrads are well-equipped for this research because they have been in class for so long. It is a natural fit for them."

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