Monday, 25 June 2018

Meet the Members: Andrea Romi & Mohit Dar

Dr. Andrea Romi, Associate Professor, Texas Tech University, USA

I remember vividly the moment I was introduced to the CSEAR family. I was a PhD student at the University of Arkansas and Robin Roberts interviewed for our department chair position. I spoke with him about my research interests, which included "environmental accounting" at the time, and he was one of the very first people who responded positively and supportively to this declaration. It was as that time he discussed CSEAR. Just a brief time later, I was presenting a paper on environmental sanction disclosures in France and I met Charles Cho. He too was enthusiastic and shared with me information about CSEAR. The combination of these encounters culminated in my very first CSEAR conference in Montreal, Canada, in the summer of 2008. I know this date well because it was barely a week after my daughter, Seda, was born and she attended the conference with me and my partner. Charles still reminds me that she is likely the youngest person ever to attend a CSEAR conference. I met so many people and I have been attending conferences ever since. I have also published papers with CSEAR members/friends, including Den Patten and Giovanna Michelon, and hope to someday work with many others. I haven't always felt like I fit in the CSEAR community, given I am situated between two different research worlds, geographically and culturally, but CSEAR members have been supportive, have pushed me to expand my perceptions, and have created a space for me to become a better researcher.

I have somewhat shifted my research methodologies and areas of interest as of late. With a strictly mainstream education in the US, much of what I have experienced in CSEAR has motivated me to educate myself in new theories and methodologies. After clearing my plate of some older projects, my new focus is on, what I consider, more unique topics, from more interesting vantage points. One such project is my paper on the use of accounting in the U.S. as the cannabis industry transitions from the black to the gray market. This paper is currently under R&R at Contemporary Accounting Research and I will be presenting it this summer at various CSEAR conferences for feedback. I am also working on a paper about the MeToo/Time's Up movement and how feminist theory might inform or be informed by the accountability within the movement. We have had the distinct opportunity to meet with movement founders, fund administrators, policy-makers, those individuals effected by sexual harassment in the workplace, without the power or economic capacity to fight for themselves, etc. Moving forward, I would like to develop the skills necessary to better articulate the critical aspects of my research. For me, research is a continual learning, always shifting, never mastered craft. I feel that social accounting research is important; the only thing I can do is draw attention to some of the world's problems, call out injustice when I see it, and offer some plausible solutions with the limited skills set I possess.

Mohit Dar, PhD Student, Aston Business School, UK

I returned to Aston University in October 2017 to take up a full-time PhD, researching social accounting and accountability practices in UK housing associations. It has been a full circle for me as my first degree, BSc (Hons) in Management was from Aston. In between, whilst working (I'm qualified ACA and ACCA), I completed the Executive MBA from The University of Birmingham and MSc in Accounting from The University of South Wales.

As a "technical" numbers expert, I held senior finance appointments in both private and public sectors. In recent years my passion and focus has been social housing and I was delighted when my housing paper was published in an academic journal in 2013 . It was based on my MSc dissertation, which was a case study in a housing association.

I believe in lifelong learning and PhD allows me to stretch further in accounting. It explores an interesting field, social accounting, which is beyond "technical" external and regulatory reporting. So, the plan is to make a significant contribution along with impact in this area. I'm also on the Board of Cymorth Cymru  which allows me to contribute and keep in touch with practitioners in social housing.

My mentors are Professor Ataur Belal (first supervisor) and Dr Florian Gebreiter (second supervisor) and both have been very supportive and helpful.  Advice and ideas from SEA experts outside my supervisory team is always welcome. 

I'm truly delighted to be part of the CSEAR community, where I hope to meet and make friends with fellow SEA researchers. I look forward to meeting my "new family" at the CSEAR conference in August 2018!

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