KSU professor named Outstanding Educator by American Accounting Association

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jan 21, 2020

Award is latest recognition for renowned researcher Dana Hermanson

Dana Hermanson
Dana Hermanson

Dana Hermanson is one of the most prolific accounting researchers in the world. With more than 100 publications on topics ranging from corporate governance and fraud to accounting education, his research passion comes largely from a desire to better understand people.

Hermanson, who has taught accounting in the Michael J. Coles College of Business School of Accountancy since 1993, was recently honored by the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association with the Outstanding Educator Award at their Midyear Meeting in Houston, Texas. The award recognizes exemplary contributions in accounting research and teaching. It emphasizes publications, student guidance and excellence in the classroom.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Hermanson said. “When I look at the list of people who have won this award, it’s hard to imagine ever being on that list.” Hermanson was recognized with his longtime friend and co-author, Mark Beasley, of North Carolina State University.

Hermanson serves as a professor of accounting as well as the Dinos Eminent Scholar of Private Enterprise and the co-founder and research director for the Corporate Governance Center. In 2018, Brigham Young University recognized him as the 24th-most productive accounting researcher in the world based on publications in 12 top accounting journals from 1990-2018. He ranked 15th in the auditing category, ninth in accounting education and seventh in breadth of research. His research has been cited more than 11,000 times, according to Google Scholar, and he has published 25 letters in The Wall Street Journal.

While most of Hermanson’s research falls under three broad categories – fraud, corporate governance and doctoral accounting programs – he says the theme connecting much of his research is a desire to understand human behavior.

“I’m most interested in who will fudge the books, who will commit fraud and how boards of directors oversee management,” he said. “It’s the human issues that are fascinating to me.”

Hermanson’s research has earned numerous awards, including the Kennesaw State University Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award, the Coles College Distinguished Scholarship Award, and the Coles College Prize for Impact Publication Award. In 2008, he received the Deloitte/American Accounting Association Wildman Medal in recognition of research that has significantly contributed to the practice of public accountancy.

Accounting education and research is a family affair for Hermanson. His father Roger Hermanson is a retired accounting professor from Georgia State University, while his sister Susan Hermanson currently teaches at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His wife, Heather Hermanson, directs Kennesaw State’s Master of Accounting program. The Hermansons’ sons are continuing the accounting tradition, with Tim employed at PwC and Will now finishing his accounting degree at Kennesaw State.

“There’s a family business aspect to all of this,” he said. “We’ve actually done a lot of things together. Heather, Susan and I have a paper coming out soon. It’s been a lot of fun having a family dimension to the work I do.”

Hermanson credits his father with inspiring his interest in teaching accounting. Following Roger’s advice to get real-world experience before becoming a professor, Hermanson went to work for accounting firm Ernst & Young after graduating from the University of Georgia. He served as an auditor for three years and met Heather at the firm. They earned their doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and came to Kennesaw State.

As a professor, Hermanson enjoys incorporating his extensive library of research into undergraduate and master’s courses, as well as into the doctoral program. He has chaired 10 students’ doctoral dissertations at Kennesaw State, and he enjoys writing articles with doctoral students and graduates.

“I get a lot of great questions and comments in class,” he said. “I’ve been very impressed by the students’ interest in the research and their ability to get to the main insights. Sometimes students will be reluctant to say something critical about a paper, but I have to tell them there is absolutely nothing they could say that journal reviewers haven’t already said about our work.”

Hermanson says that his years with the Coles College have been incredibly rewarding. The relationships he has built with his students, the camaraderie among the faculty and staff and the College’s support for faculty all contribute to his excitement for being a part of the Coles College.

“The most wonderful thing has been the ability to pursue what I’m interested in,” he said. “The attitude from University leadership has always been to encourage us to do what we are passionate about. I have said to the Coles leadership, ‘I’m ruined for other schools.’”

Patrick Harbin

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.