Texas Tech University

Ph.D. Faculty Spotlight: Kirsten Cook

Casey Montalvo

Kirsten Cook


Why should a prospective Ph.D. student choose the Rawls College over any other school? What makes the Rawls College stand out?
Our Ph.D. program stands out for many reasons, but two are most salient in my mind. First, a unique culture exists among the students in the program. Even though they come from diverse locations and backgrounds, they are an extremely tight-knit group. They are not just classmates, they are friends. The motto among accounting Ph.D. students is "cooperate and graduate." Our students work together, commiserate with one another when times are tough, and celebrate each other's successes. Second, faculty treat Ph.D. students with respect. We view our students as colleagues and friends, not as assistants or employees.

What would a student need to know when considering a Ph.D. here?
Prospective Ph.D. students should know that they will work very hard during their four years here, but the rewards when they graduate are immense. I'm biased, but I genuinely believe that there is no better job than being an academic, and our Ph.D. program trains our students to excel in this career. We only admit students that we believe will be successful, and we work closely with them throughout the program to teach and mentor them in order to achieve that success when they graduate.

What notable research are students and faculty at the Rawls conducting in the field of accounting?
One of the best parts of the Rawls Ph.D. program is that students are free to pursue research that interests them. In accounting, we have faculty researching in all functional areas (financial, managerial, tax, audit, and systems) and using both prominent empirical methods (archival and experimental). We also have faculty conducting research in up-and-coming niche areas like corporate social responsibility and diversity. 

What inspired you to join the Rawls College?
With respect to my research, I came to the Rawls College for two primary reasons. First, I am one of four tenure-track faculty researching in the taxation area, so I have opportunities to collaborate with three colleagues who share my primary research interest. Having such a large number of faculty researching in this area allows us to attract Ph.D. students who also share a passion for teaching and researching taxation issues. Second, the Rawls College encourages creative research that crosses disciplines. Thus, rather than individual departments operating in silos (accounting, finance, management, etc.), faculty are encouraged to collaborate with colleagues in other departments to capitalize on our unique perspectives and skill sets.