May 23, 2019  

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Human Capital Development Program Alumna Earns American Accounting Association’s KPMG Award

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A graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Human Capital Development Doctoral Program has earned an award from one of the world’s top auditing firms for her research in ethics.

Dr. Gwen Meador, an instructor of accountancy at Delta State University, is a recipient of the 2018 KPMG Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Gender Issues and Worklife Balance (GIWB) Section of the American Accounting Association. KPMG is an international company providing audit, tax and advisory services.  Dr. Meador’s dissertation, “Ethical Decision-Making Accounting Competencies: Practitioners' Perspectives,” examines ethical competencies necessary for a career in accounting. 

“As an instructor in higher education, I believe in the need for ethics training,” Dr. Meador said. “I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to accounting research through the GIWB Section, which is representative of my studies in Human Capital Development.”

In addition to being recognized with the KPMG award, Dr. Meador will also receive a cash prize of $1,000 at the American Accounting Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in August. 

“As a scholar-practitioner, Gwen models the spirit of excellence we want students to take back to the workplace,” said Dr. Cyndi Gaudet, chair of the Department of Human Capital Development. “Our team is very proud of Dr. Meador’s recognition from KPMG, and this award demonstrates the value of an interdisciplinary approach to research.” 

Dr. Heather Annulis, Meador’s mentor professor and chair of her dissertation committee, said Meador’s research “makes a significant contribution to the human capital development community in identifying strategies that can be used in the classroom to develop the accounting workforce of today and tomorrow.”

“It’s exciting that such a prestigious groups as the American Accounting Association and KPMG also recognizes what our faculty has known for some time - that Gwen’s work is of the highest quality, relevant and timely,” Dr. Annulis said.

Based at the Southern Miss Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, the Human Capital Development Doctoral Program equips students with the knowledge, skills and ability to drive organizational change in a rapidly changing, global workplace by combining research and practice, allowing them to grow as scholars and organizational leaders. Its flexible program delivery combines face-to-face courses with Web-based instruction. Faculty and industry experts facilitate a think-tank learning environment allowing students to engage with the best minds in human capital.

For more information about the Human Capital Development Program at Southern Miss, visit