Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

How Diverse Is The Accounting Academy?: Analysis of Perceptions on Diversity Issues, Biases and Humanistic Initiatives

Ida Robinson-Backmon, Leslie Weisenfeld.

The quest for a diverse representation in U.S. higher education in terms of students, staff, and faculty is generally considered to be beneficial. Although seeking greater diversity is generally seen as desirable it may also be one of the most challenging issues many American higher education institutions face today. Thus, some researchers have suggested that underrepresented groups will continue to face systematic gender and race based biases, which may be impossible to detect at moderate levels, even though higher education is under pressure to be politically correct.
In the face of growing criticism, related to diversity issues, U.S. institutions of higher education have begun to raise questions related to what constitutes diversity, and what humanistic policies and procedures need to be adopted to ensure diversity is achieved. While gender and race/ethnicity are generally agreed upon with respect to indicators of diversity, other areas such as, type of professional experience, years of professional experience, area of scholarship, terminal degree, type of degree, institution of last degree, and disability status may also be important factors. Similarly, some humanistic policies and procedures are also generally agreed upon such as, ensuring that underrepresented groups are treated in a fair and equitable manner, qualified women and minorities are informed about availability of positions and encouraged to apply, and that criteria for hiring and promotion do not limit representation of women and minorities. There is much less consensus, however, regarding how to ensure that humanistic policies and procedures produce the desired outcome (a composition of faculty that is diverse) without creating additional problems for marginalized groups in the educational environment.
The objective of this study, using a sample-size of 696 accounting faculty, is to investigate faculty perceptions regarding diversity issues, discrimination and the effectiveness of humanistic initiatives that focus on the improvement of diversity and opportunities for women and minority faculty. The paper should stimulate innovative thinking about humanistic methods/programs, in addition to those recommended by the respondents, which will result in a more diverse business academy.


Ida Robinson-Backmon  (United States)
Associate Professor
Accounting/MIS Department
University of Baltimore

Ida Robinson-Backmon, Ph.D., CPA, is an Associate Professor at the University of Baltimore. Her research interests include gender/ethnic issues, teaching methods, fraudulent financial reporting and bond market research. Her teaching interests focus on managerial related subjects and financial accounting.

Leslie Weisenfeld  (United States)

Winston-Salem State University

  • Gender Issues
  • Racial Issues
  • Diversity
  • Accounting Academy

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)