Dana Hermanson Named Outstanding Educator by American Accounting Association

Award is latest recognition for renowned researcher Dana Hermanson

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 21, 2020) — Dr. 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 has taught accounting in the Michael J. Coles College of Business’s School of Accountancy since 1993. On Jan. 17, the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association honored him with their 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.

Dana Hermanson AAA Auditing Section Outstanding Educator Award 

“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, 9th in accounting education, and 7th 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. He says, “I’m most interested in who will fudge the books, who will commit fraud, and how boards of directors oversee management. 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, Dr. 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 says. “We’ve actually done a lot 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 PhDs 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. “I get a lot of great questions and comments in class,” he says. “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.” He has chaired 10 students’ doctoral dissertations at Kennesaw State, and he enjoys writing articles with doctoral students and graduates.

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 says. “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.’”

In his free time, Hermanson enjoys taking long walks around Marietta with Heather, attending Yacht Rock Revue or Yacht Rock Schooner concerts, and working out at Marietta Barbell Gym.

-Patrick Harbin

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