Extraordinary professor profile: Prof Tim Rupert

Posted on April 06, 2021

Currently Professor in the Accounting Group of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University in the USA, Prof Tim Rupert also finds his work as extraordinary professor in the Department of Accounting at the University of Pretoria (UP) most rewarding. “Helping a student develop the skills to identify a research topic and design a study that will provide evidence to address the research question, is quite rewarding because these studies contribute to our knowledge base,” he stresses.
With research interests in taxpayer and investor decision-making and tax compliance, Prof Rupert has been an esteemed contributor to such journals as The Accounting Review, The Journal of the American Taxation Association, Behavioural Research in Accounting, Advances in Taxation, Advances in Accounting Education and Journal of Accounting Education.
He has also served as the co-editor of Advances in Accounting Education (2011–2017) and is currently one of the lead editors for PrenticeHall’s Federal Taxation textbook series as well as an editor for The Journal of the American Taxation Association. In addition, Prof Rupert is active in the American Accounting Association and has served as president, vice president and secretary of the American Taxation Association.
A recipient of the Outstanding Educator Award from the Massachusetts Society of CPAs, the University’s Excellence in Teaching Award and the D’Amore-McKim School of Business’s Best Teacher of the Year award multiple times, Prof Rupert is clearly held in high regard as a teacher and mentor. Read more below...
Q: What does your position as extraordinary professor at EMS entail?
A: Primarily, I work with the Department of Accounting on research-related initiatives, including co-supervision of PhD students and assisting with the EMS doctoral learning programme.
Q: What are the most rewarding aspects of this position?
A: As part of the process of supervising PhD students, I get to help them develop a thesis topic. Helping a student develop the skills to identify a research topic and design a study that will provide evidence to address the research question is quite rewarding because these studies contribute to our knowledge base.
Q: What is your field of specialisation? 
A: My area of specialisation is taxation.  With my research, I examine how taxpayers react to changes in the tax system.
Q: How do you see the future of tertiary education, given both the global impact of COVID-19 and ongoing technological advancements?
A: While COVID-19 and technological advancements have greatly changed tertiary education in the last year, the core of tertiary education will remain the same. The personal growth that students experience as part of their learning process can continue even though it faces new challenges in the current environment.
Q: Which specific skills – as opposed to mastering the subject matter to obtain a degree – do you believe will be in high demand in the future world of work and to what extent will universities be able to equip students with these skills?
A: While students need to master their subject matter, the current pandemic has helped to highlight and develop some other specific skills they will need to be successful in the future world of work. More specifically, to be successful in today’s classrooms, students need to be able to quickly adapt to a changing environment. The skills that they are developing now in adapting in the classroom will help them similarly adapt in the work world. 
Q: Going forward, where would you rank the need for research in tertiary education?
A: Research is critical in tertiary education. Beyond the fact that it can provide important solutions to key problems in society, research develops the skills in students that allow them to address new problems.
Q: In your opinion, what are the big research questions in your subject field that need to be investigated?
A: Following the impact of the global pandemic, many governments are going to have to consider how they can use the tax system to raise the revenue needed to fund the recovery efforts. Currently, many governments are taking whatever steps are needed to provide relief to their citizens, regardless of the cost. But eventually, they will need to pay the bills for these relief efforts. Determining how they can effectively design the tax system to eventually raise the additional revenue needed will be critical.
Q: Your advice to students who are considering post-graduate university education in the next decade or two?
A: Pursuing post-graduate university education can help ensure that students have fulfilling careers because the skills that they gain with this education can enable them to shape their careers to best nurture their interests.
Published by Nonkululeko Kubeka Moyo

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