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Huntsman Professor Nate Stephens Earns Two Best Paper Awards

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012

Nate Stephens

Nate Stephens, a professor in the School of Accountancy, won two "best paper" awards earlier this year.

It is a rare thing for an author to win a best paper award for his or her published research. It is even more unusual, however, for an author to win two of those awards in the same year. Yet Nate Stephens, assistant professor of accounting in Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, has done just that for research published in the “Accounting Horizons” and “Issues in Accounting Education” journals.

Within the past year, Stephens has co-authored and published two different papers in two separate academic journals. These journals, which are owned and operated by the American Accounting Association (AAA), each selected Stephens’ papers for the “Best Paper Award.” He was recognized during the AAA annual meeting held in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.

A press release issued by the AAA said this about the award: “The … Best Paper Award is presented to the best paper published each calendar year. The award winner is selected by online voting open to all (of the journals’) subscribing members of the AAA.”

“It’s exciting,” Stephens said about receiving the award. “They’re both highly ranked journals, highly read, and so to get the best paper award from both of them, especially in the same year, it’s pretty rewarding.”

The first paper written by Stephens was published in “Accounting Horizons.” This published research “is meant to help people who are trying to find information about the quality of (accounting) doctoral programs,” according to Stephens.

The research for the paper was done by looking at a university’s alumni and ranking their success based on how often they have been published in top-tier journals, Stephens said. He added, however, that this list is unique because it creates separate rankings for the different sub-disciplines within the accounting field such as tax, auditing and financial and management accounting. Because a few of the co-authors who worked with Stephens on this ranking are from Brigham Young University, BYU has posted the rankings online. You can view them by clicking here.

While the second paper, published in “Issues in Accounting Education,” is similar to the first in that it helps students find information about doctoral programs, it differs from the first in that it ranks doctoral professors by name, based on their productivity in research over the course of their careers, Stephens said.

“Sometimes … the university itself is not as highly ranked but you’ve got one or two individuals at that university who have been very successful,” he said. “And if a doctoral student wanted to go and work with one of those faculty members, then he or she could have a lot of success.”

These name-based rankings are also done for each accounting sub-discipline.

Writer: Allie Jeppson,

Contact: Steve Eaton, 435-797-8640,

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