Hello all and welcome to the Fall 2016 term. I hope everyone has a smooth transition from summer. Before I begin, I want to thank my Presidential predecessors, most immediately Rick Dull and Tina Loraas, for their hard work and dedication. I also want to thank everyone who is volunteering within the section this academic year. You are the ones who improve the AIS section each and every year.
We all try to do things the “right way,” but we, as human beings, are inherently imperfect. When you ask my wife about my imperfections, she could give you a long list … well, she is still listing them as I compose this letter. I knew I shouldnot have broached the topic. I have been a member of the AIS section for approximately 15 years. When I first was getting acquainted with the section, and AIS in general, the running joke was to ask 10 AIS Professors to define AIS and get back 12 different responses. One could argue that joke is still relevant today. So what does it say about our section and what we stand for? Imperfection. There are those among us that would argue we need to be more precise defining AIS. These colleagues provide compelling reasons for taking this action. For example, aprecise AIS definition is likely to reduce ambiguity for our members and for those colleagues in other accounting academic domains, which could potentially increase understanding and “acceptance” from those who would better understand our roles within accounting departments. Perhaps “acceptance” is too strong a term in this case, but it may be that too many nonAIS accounting faculty do not really understand what it is we teach and research.
Although I agree we, as a section, should take action to narrow this “understanding gap,” I believe that imperfection provides continuous opportunities. Precisely defining AIS is a daunting task on its own, but it takes on added risk of unnecessarily limiting us where we have not been limited before. We all know that AIS touches all of the other accounting domains (as well as computer science, corporate governance, and other nonaccounting domains). This ideal allows us flexibility to publish and teach in areas that AIS faculty have their greatest knowledge in even though it may not be the same, exact area as the AISfaculty member next door. Why risk limiting ourselves to areas that AIS faculty may not be as well versed in? This is an interesting and important topic for AIS faculty to consider. Whatever side you fall on, I welcome further discussion and debate to help all of us move forward.
In a related vein, one of my goals this year as AIS section President is to better understand the currentsupply and demand of AIS Ph.Ds. in the US. My interest is not intentioned to be detrimental to thenontenure track AIS colleagues who provide critical teaching and service needs to their universities.Rather, I would like to know why there are so few AIS Ph.D. graduates nationwide on an annual basis;the current and estimable future demand for AIS Ph.Ds.; and where folks like me (an AIS Ph.D.) areheaded in the future. In aggregate, I refer to these issues as the “value” of an AIS Ph.D. Responses tothese issues are not likely to be simple or limited to one “reason.” Yet, more fully understanding theseissues is vital to the current and future success of AIS faculty. Our upcoming AIS midyear meetingprovides an excellent forum for us to discuss these, among other important issues. I invite you to attend,participate, and share your insights along with your research and/or pedagogical innovations, althoughas someone who is currently situated in Florida I know how challenging being in Orlando in January canbe (you may detect a note of sarcasm at your own risk).
I believe that the outcomes from the most recent AIS section Executive Meeting (occurring at the Annual Meeting) are moving us in the right direction. JIS is now open access to all AAA members. The upcomingand secondever JIS Conference in October provides an excellent program of research papers, as wellas crucial practitioner participation. I am indebted to conference Chair Eileen Taylor, JIS coSeniorE ditors Mary Curtis and Roger Debreceny among others who have worked so diligently to make this conference a reality. In addition, 1) the AIS section is working to have joint midyear meetings with other sections in addition to SET and 2) the section has contacted AAA to setup an optout infrastructure where all newlyaccepted AAA journal articles are emailed to every AAA member. All of these actions are geared at getting our work exposed to AAA members from other sections in order to increase their understanding of what we do. We are moving forward. Please join in and participate in section activities so we can all realize the benefits. To reiterate an earlier point, the AIS section serves all of us.
Have a great fall term. I look forward to seeing you in Orlando.
201617 AIS Section President