University of Tennessee

Serfling Receives Professional Promise Award From UT Provost

June 8, 2022

Matthew Serfling, Truist Professor of Finance and Kinney Family Faculty Research Fellow in the Haslam College of Business, is one of four University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members to be honored with the 2022 Research and Creative Achievement-Professional Promise Award.

An associate professor who serves as co-director of Haslam’s finance PhD program, Serfling joined UT in 2015. His research focuses on how corporate decisions interact with labor markets and other non-financial stakeholders, and how managers shape the information environment of their firms. His work has been published in leading finance and accounting journals, including the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, Management Science and Contemporary Accounting Research.

Serfling says that when he received word that he had won the award, he was so absorbed in a research project that he didn’t realize the honor’s significance at first.

“At the time, my coauthors and I were working overtime to get a paper posted, so I didn’t really process the news until a few days later,” he says. “Once I did, and realized that it was a university-wide award, I felt a large sense of accomplishment.”

An Upward Trajectory of Achievement

The award’s purpose is to recognize tenured or tenure-track assistant or associate professors whose work is nationally and/or internationally recognized and who show promise for continuing upward trajectory in their fields. Faculty research and creative achievement are central to the university’s mission.

Tracie Woidtke, head of the Department of Finance at Haslam, nominated Serfling for the award, calling him “a superstar.”

“Dr. Serfling’s success in both the top finance and related-field journals so early in his academic career places him among the most promising scholars,” Woidtke says. “He has conducted productive and influential research in the areas of corporate finance, labor economics and corporate governance.”

In her nomination letter, Woidtke mentioned the international recognition Serfling’s work has received. His research has been cited more than 1,400 times since 2017, and he has been asked to review numerous papers at highly elite journals, including the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, which named him its Outstanding Reviewer of 2020. In the past five years, his research has been featured in the Harvard Business Review as well as Harvard’s and Columbia’s Law School blogs and has been presented at 26 conferences and 19 universities.

This is not the first time Serfling has been honored for his research prowess at UT. He won Haslam’s Vallett Family Outstanding Researcher Award in 2018 and has received multiple grants from the competitive Haslam Summer Scholars Research Awards program.

“Dr. Serfling conducts leading-edge research that influences finance, economics, accounting, law and public policy, and publishes at the highest level,” Woidtke says. “He is well-deserving of the Chancellor’s Professional Promise Research and Creative Achievement Award.”


Stacy Estep, writer/publicist,