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W&L’s Accounting Faculty Win Four Awards at Major Conference

At the American Accounting Association’s (AAA) 19th annual conference in Atlanta, Ga., in August, four members of the accounting faculty at Washington and Lee University won awards—Stephan Fafatas, Ge Bai, Raquel Alexander and Megan Hess.

The AAA is the professional organization for accounting professors, and between two and three thousand accounting professors and graduate students attend the conference each year from schools throughout the world.

“Considering that we have only eight faculty members, I think it is fairly amazing that little Washington and Lee has these active young faculty members winning national awards,” said Elizabeth Oliver, the Lewis Whitaker Adams Professor of Accounting and department head at W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

Oliver credited both the abilities of the faculty and the teacher-scholar model at W&L that emphasizes teaching but also values scholarship and creative endeavors that enrich teaching and are essential to instruction of the highest quality.

“We look for faculty members who are going to be very good in the classroom but who also have an internal need to do some kind of research and, at the same time, are very collegial,” continued Oliver. “All the people in our department work on research that they find inherently interesting and then they follow those paths.”

Stephan Fafatas, the Lawrence Associate Professor of Accounting, was awarded the 2014 Innovation in Accounting History Education Award by the Academy of Accounting Historians in recognition of his innovative class, “History through Accounting.” As part of the class, students made extensive use of the University’s Special Collections to research a topic related to local business or economic history. “It’s very unusual to have somebody use the archives to pull accounting into our day to day lives and tie it to the history that surrounds us,” said Oliver.

Oliver described Ge Bai, assistant professor of accounting, as a “research powerhouse.” Bai was awarded the 2014 IMA Research Foundation’s Emerging Scholar Manuscript Award by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The award recognizes the accomplishments of the newest members of the management accounting academic community and acknowledges the exceptional manuscript contribution of a scholar or lead author. Bai was lead author on the manuscript “The Role of Performance Measure Noise in Mediating the Relation between Task Complexity and Outsourcing.”

Raquel Alexander, associate professor of accounting, and Megan Hess, assistant professor of accounting, won the Best Contribution to Teaching award for their paper on the ethics of multi-national corporate tax strategy. The award was presented by the Public Interest section of the conference.