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Lifetime achievement

Business professor earns top accounting research award


By Susan White

An accounting professor at Memorial has won the 2016 Haim Falk Award, which recognizes excellence in scholarly achievements that contribute to the advancement of accounting thought.

Dr. Jeffrey Pittman received the award at the Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA)’s annual conference in St. John’s on June 3.

Dr. Jeffrey Pittman has won the 2016 Haim Falk Award for achievement in and contributions to accounting though.
Dr. Jeffrey Pittman has won the 2016 Haim Falk Award.
Photo: Chris Hammond

“It was a tremendous honour to receive this recognition from my peers across the country,” said Dr. Pittman, who joined the Faculty of Business Administration, where he teaches accounting and is chair of corporate governance and transparency, in 2000.

“Although I was happy to be recognized for my individual research performance, it was even more gratifying that the selection committee was impressed with my role in helping to develop graduate students and newer faculty,” he said.

The Haim Falk Award was established in 1987 and renamed in 1989 to honour Prof. Haim Falk, founding editor of the CAAA journal, Contemporary Accounting Research. It’s considered a lifetime achievement award since individuals may only win it once.

Dr. Pittman began at the business faculty as a lecturer in 1994. Aside from completing a PhD at the University of Waterloo and a two-year visit at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, he’s been continually employed at Memorial.

He’s only the second recipient—and the first in 24 years—of the Haim Falk Award from an institution that doesn’t offer a PhD in accounting.

Scholarly impact

Dr. Pittman has co-authored 20 articles that have been published in journals that appear on the Financial Times’ list of leading business journals. Some of his papers have received more than 500 citations according to Google Scholar and his research has been continually funded by the Social Science Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) since 2012, resulting in $1,149,104 in funding during that period.

He is ranked the most valuable accounting faculty member to their institution worldwide in the Brigham Young University (BYU) research productivity rankings.

Dr. Pittman has won the Dean’s Award for Research at the Faculty of Business Administration four times. At the university level, he won the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award in 2005 and the President’s Award for Outstanding Research in 2009.

Dr. Pittman’s research focuses on analyzing the importance of corporate governance, which are the policies and standards to which governments and firms are held in order to protect minority stakeholders and to ensure the proper functioning of capital markets.

Influence on U.S. Congress

In 2004 his research on tax credits and private sector investment in innovation was cited by U.S. President Barack Obama to support proposed corporate tax reforms aimed at stimulating research and development spending. Dr. Pittman’s analysis on the links between corporate governance and tax enforcement has also been stressed in expert testimony at congressional hearings in the United States.

If Dr. Pittman’s early career focused on his own research, the later stages have looked more towards mentorship. Although Memorial doesn’t have a PhD program in accounting, he regularly serves as a faculty leader at doctoral consortia, and universities from across the globe frequently invite him to present workshops to PhD students on research issues that are important to new scholars.

“If you have a positive impact on others, that’s a very rewarding experience.” –Dr. Jeffrey Pittman

At Memorial, he has turned more of his attention towards mentoring junior faculty members and graduate students.

“You really don’t know what kind of impact you’re having,” Dr. Pittman said of his research output. “You hope you’re having a positive impact but how do you know?”

His nomination for the Haim Falk Award included letters of support from nine professors and PhD candidates who have been helped by Dr. Pittman’s mentorship. At Memorial, he has participated in mentoring sessions on grant applications, navigating the review process at major journals and forming research partnerships. He sits on several faculty-level committees and says his door is always open to colleagues.

“If you have a positive impact on others, that’s a very rewarding experience.”

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