University of Tennessee

Haslam Student One of 25 to Attend Prestigious Ph.D. Workshop

May 27, 2016

Michelle Harding
Michelle Harding

Michelle Harding, a Haslam doctoral candidate in accounting, is one of only 25 students in the nation selected to attend the Early Career Professional Development Workshop at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis. The third annual is scheduled for June 22-25.

The workshop aims to boost early success in the careers of historically underrepresented academic faculty. Attendees are selected based on their ability to successfully publish top tier research.

“This conference will help me to make a greater research impact earlier in my career,” Harding said. “The Olin Business School’s program is so amazing because of the intentionality of the workshop content and the significant resources that are invested in each participant.”

In addition to attending research and career development workshop sessions, Harding will present one of her current working papers addressing tax disclosures.

She also has coauthored work with faculty at Northeastern University and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

“My research focuses on how firms communicate daily decisions, enabling stakeholders to have greater confidence in the sustainability of a firm’s tax strategies,” Harding said.

LeAnn Luna, Harding’s dissertation advisor, says Harding is a perfect fit for the conference.

“Publishing in the major journals requires the intellectual curiosity to think about important issues, how to add to the literature, and the day-to-day dedication to see the project through,” Luna said. “Michelle is inquisitive and one of the hardest workers I have ever worked with in the Ph.D. program.”

After achieving her master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia, Harding spent nearly a decade in industry. The decision to pursue a doctoral degree came at a turning point when she was offered a promotion to become a regional vice president of finance for a subsidy of Sysco, Inc. Instead of moving forward in her corporate career, she chose to pursue research on the questions she continually encountered within her work.

Harding anticipates finishing her thesis on the impact of tax risk on the quality of company disclosures for uncertain tax benefits in the fall of 2016.

For more information on the Early Career Professional Development Workshop at Olin Business School visit

The Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, consists of approximately 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students, 130 faculty and 125 staff members. From its internationally ranked supply chain management and highly regarded accounting programs to one of the first business analytics concentrations in the nation, Haslam students and faculty create the change that changes the world for the better.