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Business Professors Appointed to Endowed Faculty Positions

By Nadia Alfadel Coloma | Photos by Kathy Hillegonds  /  11/26/2019  / Twitter / Facebook

DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business appointed five faculty members to endowed professorships and fellowships this fall in recognition of their academic achievements and service to the profession. In the School of Accountancy & MIS, Molly Mercer is the Ronald Ezerski Endowed Chair, Cindy Durtschi is the EY Distinguished Professor and Ning Du is the Dr. Barry J. Epstein Faculty Fellow. Associate Professor of Accountancy David Wang and Associate Professor of Economics Brian Phelan also have been named Richard Driehaus Faculty Fellows.

These positions provide important research and teaching support at the business college thanks to generous gifts and endowments made by alumni, individual donors and notable organizations. Here is more about the faculty members who are advancing their fields and elevating the academic excellence and reputation of a DePaul business degree through these roles:

Molly Mercer, Ezerski Endowed Chair
Molly Mercer, Ezerski Endowed Chair

Molly Mercer, Ezerski Endowed Chair, is an award-winning scholar whose research has been published in numerous academic journals. Most recently, she received the 2019 Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory Best Paper Award for her coauthored research, “Understanding the Relations Between Financial Reporting Quality and Audit Quality.” In addition to her research accolades, she is the recipient of several awards for teaching excellence, including the DePaul Quality of Instruction Council’s Excellence in Teaching Award, which she has received twice. An associate professor in the School of Accounting & MIS, Mercer teaches financial accounting.

“My research focuses on understanding the behavior of various parties within the financial reporting process. For example, one of my current projects examines how low-credibility investment advice on social media platforms influences investors’ decisions,” says Mercer. “My role as Ezerski Chair will allow me to delve deeper into these research topics and develop new research projects that enhance the understanding of investor and auditor behavior. I am particularly excited to use this support to collaborate with our talented junior faculty.”

Cindy Durtschi, EY Distinguished Professor
Cindy Durtschi, EY Distinguished Professor

Cindy Durtschi, EY Distinguished Professor, is a forensic and financial accounting professor and researcher who has received several awards, including the 2006 American Accounting Association Innovation in Audit Education Award for her published case study, “The Tallahassee Bean Counters: A Problem-Based Learning Case in Forensic Auditing.” She continues to publish forensic accounting cases that are used in classrooms around the world. Durtschi is faculty director of the Master of Science in Audit and Advisory Services (MSAA) program and chair of the American Accounting Association council.

“In this role I hope to serve as a liaison between EY and our students and faculty at DePaul, as well as use my forensic accounting specialization to contribute to EY’s educational foundation work,” says Durtschi. “I also hope to involve professionals from EY in our student projects so students can get to know EY and EY can become acquainted with our great students.”

Ning Du, Epstein Faculty Fellow
Ning Du, Epstein Faculty Fellow

Ning Du, Epstein Faculty Fellow, is an associate professor who teaches financial accounting and reporting to undergraduate and graduate students. Her research has been published widely and focuses on bridging the gap between psychology and accounting, with a special focus on judgement and decision-making for financial information users.

“Accounting graduates are expected to possess analytical skills and critical thinking to work with ‘big data’ once they enter the workforce,” says Du. “As the new Epstein Fellow, I plan to develop financial accounting cases related to data analytics to incorporate into our courses. Doing this will help students acquire the technical skills and hone the analytical mindset they need for problem-solving in our modern world.”

David Wang, Driehaus Faculty Fellow
David Wang, Driehaus Faculty Fellow

David Wang, Driehaus Faculty Fellow, is an accounting information systems expert who is the second most productive accounting information systems archival researcher, according to Brigham Young University accounting research rankings. He has received several awards for his research and is an active speaker in the professional community. Recently Wang became listed on the Fulbright Specialist roster for developing analytics curriculum for accounting and auditing programs around the world, and he currently serves as president of the American Accounting Association Midwest Region. An associate professor at DePaul, he teaches audit analytics in the School of Accountancy & MIS.

“I am honored to be awarded the Driehaus Fellowship and look forward to furthering my research in information security risk management and IT management,” says Wang. “I hope these studies bring deeper insights to the benefits and challenges of information technology and how we can better manage them.”

Brian Phelan, Driehaus Faculty Fellow
Brian Phelan, Driehaus Faculty Fellow

Brian Phelan, Driehaus Faculty Fellow, is an associate professor of economics whose research focuses on labor economics, demographic economics and applied econometrics. In addition to being a Driehaus Fellow, Phelan is a Research Fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and an Affiliated Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center on Wage & Employment Dynamics. Phelan teaches labor economics, econometrics and microeconomics courses at the business college and is currently working on projects related to automation of low-wage jobs, the spillover effects of minimum wage laws, and the labor market effects of high-skill immigration.

“It is a great honor to be named a Driehaus Fellow,” Phelan says. “I plan to use the additional resources to support my research on how automation technology and other changes in labor demand alter the types of skills that employers seek, and the impact this has on individual workers. I am also working to expand my course offerings in data analytics to help our students become sophisticated consumers (and even producers) of empirical work. Understanding how to use big data to improve business decisions is an essential skill for 21st century business students.”

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