MC Professor has two papers chosen for international conferences

Grace Johnson, an associate professor of accounting at Marietta College, has been chosen to present two different papers at international conferences in November.

“There is a real excitement and personal satisfaction with being selected to just one international conference much less two,” said Johnson, who has been teaching at MC since 1989. “You realize that with an international conference it is more selective and you are dealing with higher quality papers that are being presented by some outstanding people.”

Because of the closeness in dates and the fact one conference is in Korea and the other in Brazil, Johnson will only be able to attend one of the conferences.

“I had already committed to the conference in Korea and had made all of the arrangements when I learned about the conference in Brazil,” she said. “I would like to attend both conferences, but it’s just not feasible.”

Johnson, a 1988 graduate of the University of South Florida, is attending the 16th Asian-Pacific Conference on International Accounting Issues in Seoul, Korea, from Nov. 7-10. She is presenting “Introducing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 into Undergraduate Accounting Courses: a Survey of Current Practice.”

The main theme of the conference is “Corporate Governance and Accountability.” The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is widely agreed to be the most significant legislation to affect financial accounting and corporate financial reporting passed in the last 70 years. Johnson says this paper shares the experiences of more than 50 universities and colleges about how the topic is being infused into accounting courses.

“Usually I try to pick topics for papers that I’m personally interested in, but still has a connection to what I’m teaching,” she said. “I’m integrating what I learned from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act paper back into two of my accounting classes.”

Johnson co-authored “Barriers to Entrepreneurship in Small Businesses” with Dr. Ana Maria Romano Carrão of Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba. Dr. Carrão will present it at the Third International Conference of Research in Latin American Entrepreneurship from Nov. 11-13 in Rio de Janeiro.

“I worked on the Rio paper while I was on sabbatical last academic year (February 2003 through May 2003),” Johnson said. “My co-author took what we did and formatted it in a way that would work at a Brazilian conference. She’s the lead author on that paper. It includes a lot of stuff that our original paper didn’t have.”

The conference’s theme is “Entrepreneurship for the Development of Latin America.” Johnson says the paper is based on research and interviews of 46 micro- and small businesses in Piracicaba, São Paulo state, Brazil.

“It’s kind of fun to see that something that was done while on sabbatical materialized into this,” Johnson said. “When 2004 is over I will have had four papers selected for conferences. I had one in Chicago in March, China in June, Korea in November and a paper in Washington, D.C., in December.”

Provost Sue DeWine sees a great value in international conferences to both the professor and Marietta College.

“Expanding our research to international conferences is beneficial to the College in a number of ways,” she said. “First, it gives the individual faculty member, in this case Grace Johnson, exposure to different cultures and increases her personal development. Second, it supports our core value of internationalization. This core value should be enhanced by the way in which the faculty when, upon returning from this international conference, incorporates these new learnings into her classroom. Ultimately, our undergraduate students should benefit from what she learns.”

Johnson agrees, but also realizes there is also a price to pay when a professor dedicates so much time to research.

“You have to give up doing something else,” Johnson said. “That four or five months time I had to make choices like reducing my reading of professional journals. Normally I spend an hour a day on the Wall Street Journal, but I needed to cut that back to do my writing. I’ve also been studying the Chinese language. But you can’t do it all.”

In the end, though, it seems to be worth it for Professor Johnson.

“I look at international travel as an opportunity to learn more,” she said. “I will never stop learning until the day I die.