Scranton Doctoral Students Win National Awards in Record Numbers

Two University of Scranton accounting Ph.D. students won The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Award this year, becoming the third and fourth doctoral students to win this highly-coveted prize in just the past four years. Scranton is the only university to have had four students win this national award.

Lisa S. Haylon of Hamden, Connecticut, and Xiaobing (Emily) Li of South Abington Township, both students in the University’s Ph.D. in accounting program, received the IIA’s Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Award for 2022. Haylon received the award for her dissertation, “An Investigation of the Tactics Used to Create Collusive Fraud Teams,” and Li received the award for her dissertation, “Effects of Management Training Ground and Internal Audit Service Type on External Auditors’ Reliance on Internal Auditors’ Work.” They join previous Barrett award winners from Scranton: Gregory Kogan, DBA ’22, and Joy Chacko, DBA ’21.

“In the history of IIA’s dissertation award, which began in 2004, Scranton is the leading institution for the number of doctoral students that have received this award. This reflects the practice relevance and quality of the research of our doctoral students, faculty and program. Congratulations to Lisa and Emily and their dissertation committees,” said Douglas M. Boyle, DBA, Accounting Department chair and Ph.D. program director.

The Barrett award selection process is competitive and determined through the IIA’s Committee of Research and Education Advisors, which is comprised of both academicians and practitioners actively involved in the profession of internal auditing. The selection includes the following criteria: relevance of the topic to internal auditing; soundness of methodology; coherent organization and clarity of presentation; and quality of data (where applicable). With an international membership of more than 200,000 members, the IIA is among the largest and most respected professional organizations for accountants.

Haylon, who will graduate with a Ph.D. from Scranton in May, was “honored, humbled and grateful to be selected for award.” She said the award demonstrates that Scranton’s Ph.D program, offered in a non-traditional format for working professionals, “provides valuable experience and exposure in research.”

“Through the program, I was able to explore research collaboration opportunities with global scholars who are well-established and respected in their areas of expertise. The research opportunities have been outstanding,” said Haylon, whose research interests include social influence pressures in practice, collusive fraud and psychological components of fraud.

Li agreed, saying Scranton’s Ph.D. program is “a very well-designed, efficient education model.”

“The program provides students first with a solid foundation on how to properly conduct research studies. Then students work with closely with professors who have been successful in publishing multiple research studies on their own. The professors are accessible and very helpful. They are mentors as well as professors,” said Li, who is a transfer pricing consultant for EY LLP and will also graduate with a Ph.D. from Scranton in May.

Li, a certified public accountant, earned her MBA from Scranton 2020. She also earned a master’s degree in mathematics and statistics from Northeast Normal University in Changehun, China. She has worked in the accounting field for a number of years at organizations that include Northeast PA Center for Independent Living and The University of Scranton. Earlier in her career, she was a middle school mathematics teacher in China.

A certified public accountant, Haylon is an assistant professor at Southern Connecticut State University. Her study “How to Handle Pressure to Act Unethically,” with Dr. Boyle, Carol Bishop, D.B.A., and Dana Hermanson, Ph.D., was published in the summer 2022 edition of Management Accounting Quarterly. She previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and served as an adjunct professor at Fairfield University, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting.

Housed in the Kania School of Management, this is the first Ph.D. program offered by The University of Scranton. The program was developed with a concentration in accounting, to provide experienced practitioners with a practical pathway to an academic career. The program offers participants flexibility, while still providing for the development of the knowledge and skill set necessary to become a “scholarly academic” – one who is qualified to teach at a school of business that possesses or is seeking formal accreditation by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

AACSB recognized Scranton’s doctoral program for “Innovations and Best Practices in Canada, Latin America and the United States” in 2019.