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November 29, 2022

Mentorship from Acclaimed Duke Professor Impacts Accounting Faculty

Renowned Researcher Visits Hawks Hall, Reconnects With Former Ph.D. Students
Mentorship from Acclaimed Duke Professor Impacts Accounting Faculty
Accounting faculty Dirk Black, associate professor; Amanda Gonzales, associate professor of practice; and Samuel Melessa, assistant professor draw from the mentorship they received from Katherine Schipper, Thomas F. Keller Professor at Duke University, to excel in their positions at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business.

As the first woman inducted into the American Accounting Association Accounting Hall of Fame, Katherine Schipper, Thomas F. Keller Professor at Duke University, maintains an illustrious and widely respected career as an accounting faculty member and empirical researcher. Formerly Duke Ph.D. students under Schipper’s mentorship, Dirk Black, associate professor of accountancy; Amanda Gonzales, Senior Seacrest Teaching Fellow and associate professor of practice in accountancy; and Samuel Melessa, assistant professor of accountancy, now bring elevated teaching and research experience to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln School of Accountancy.

katherine schipper, dirk black, amanda gonzales and samuel melessa.
Schipper recently visited Hawks Hall to present her research, reconnecting with her former students.

"There is no greater honor than seeing former students find success as Amanda, Dirk and Sam have done, at such a highly respected institution as Nebraska. It was a pleasure and a privilege to present at Hawks Hall and reconnect with them,” said Schipper, who recently visited the college to present her research and meet with faculty and students. “My discussions with faculty and students were both highly enjoyable and fruitful in respect to the School of Accountancy and my research.”

Respected for her insights on financial reporting and its policy implications, Schipper publishes innovative research in top-tier academic journals such as the Journal of Accounting Research, The Accounting Review, the Journal of Financial Economics and the Journal of Accounting and Economics. Building on her experience working with Schipper, Gonzales co-authored “Financial Reporting for Pollution Reduction Programs” with her former advisor, recently published in Management Science.

"This publication originated from work Dr. Schipper and I had done together at Duke. It reflects our shared interest and experience in accounting standard setting," said Gonzales. "Dr. Schipper and I work well together as a team. She is always available to answer questions and share her insights, and we each leverage our respective strengths."

The Nebraska School of Accountancy recently ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten in the 2021 BYU Accounting Research Productivity Ranking for faculty research, with its faculty among the best in research output. Working in a highly ranked accounting program, Gonzales' research process lends itself to her time working with Schipper at Duke.

“Dr. Schipper trains Ph.D. students to be incredibly rigorous thinkers. She wants students to deeply understand each step of the research process, to carefully think through each research design decision and to clearly articulate the underlying theories and empirical analyses. Her research is motivated by important business and accounting issues and is driven by theory, which I try to model my research process after,” said Gonzales.

Black served as a teaching assistant for Schipper, which helped prepare him for his time leading in the classroom. In 2020, the College of Business recognized him for his teaching efforts with the Distinguished Teaching Award, presented to him for his ability to capture the attention of the entire class and the care he has for his students.

“Dr. Schipper is always the most prepared person in the room in any setting, and her preparedness helps students learn the material. No accounting question goes unanswered in Dr. Schipper’s classes,” he said. "I aspire to advocate for my students and fellow accounting faculty members as fairly and fiercely as she does.”

Recognized for his impact in the classroom at Nebraska, Melessa earned a Parents’ Recognition award from the UNL Parents Association in his first year of teaching. The award recognizes those who made a significant difference in students’ lives. His emphasis on the importance of teaching comes from witnessing the deep responsibility Schipper displays at Duke.

“Contrary to some in the profession who emphasize research at the expense of teaching, Katherine taught me to maintain excellence in both. She taught me to have high expectations in the classroom for both the students and for myself,” Melessa said. “Despite how busy she is, she always makes time to help students, going above and beyond in providing support, feedback and encouragement. I try to follow her example in these ways.”

Watching Schipper’s leadership at Duke, Black aspires to excel in numerous ways during his tenure at Nebraska.

“Dr. Schipper was a tireless advocate for the faculty and doctoral students in the accounting area, and under her direction, it has become a world leader in research and teaching. She brings out the best in her students, colleagues and friends, offering a rare combination of academic excellence and grace in everything she does. I hope to make a similar impact here in the School of Accountancy at Nebraska,” he said.

Schipper’s recent visit to the college attracted students and faculty from the School of Accountancy to her research presentation. For Black, Gonzales and Melessa, the visit was a highlight and proved beneficial for those in the School of Accountancy.

“Dr. Schipper shared valuable insights with our MPA students about standards and the standard-setting process. I know from talking with colleagues and Ph.D. students that she also offered suggestions to enhance their research. We also all benefited from hearing about her research,” said Gonzales.

To learn more about the School of Accountancy at Nebraska, visit: https://business.unl.edu/accountancy.