As a clinical assistant professor of accounting in Clemson University’s Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business for the past six years, Phebian Davis-Culler followed the expected focus of clinical faculty: first teaching, then service, followed by research.
Her drive to excel in all areas of her role recently resulted in a groundbreaking promotion in the college. In February, Davis-Culler learned that she had become the first faculty in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business to earn a clinical promotion, making her a clinical associate professor when her promotion takes effect in August 2023.
“When I think about what I’ve done to get here, it’s about doing what drives me,” she said. “The acknowledgment of my contributions and hard work means a lot.”
With 14 years of industry experience and a true passion for student success, Davis-Culler created a continuous feedback system at Clemson that encouraged her students to express their needs in her classes. And what they value is her unique perspective and her real-world experience.
“I see students who are excited because they’ve never had a Black teacher, and I see that I can make a difference,” explained Davis-Culler. “I make myself available to students and when I leave, I want to know that the college is better than when I arrived in terms of diversity, enlightenment and engagement of students.”
In addition to teaching accounting classes, Davis-Culler manages the School of Accountancy’s advisory board and served as the faculty advisor for the past five years with Beta Alpha Psi, the financial information honor organization, helping students hone their presentation skills for regional and national conferences and supporting the organization as it achieved and maintained superior status. She also published over half a dozen research articles, which studied various aspects of environmental and social governance, including fraud, environmental issues and diversity, equity and inclusion research.
Davis-Culler also participated in the college’s study abroad program in 2019 and 2020. She considers those trips to Rome, Italy, to be a highlight of her experience, particularly the opportunity to engage with students away from the classroom.
“My favorite thing about the college is the students,” said Davis-Culler. “We have some of the top students at Clemson, especially in accounting and finance. Our student engagement is amazing.”
In 2020, Davis-Culler completed the President’s Leadership Institute at Clemson. This nine-month leadership development program gave her a deeper insight into University operations and fueled her desire to contribute at a higher level. That experience solidified her interest in University administration and informed the next step in her career at Clemson – a new role as program coordinator for the Master of Professional Accountancy program at the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. In this position, Davis-Culler will continue interacting with students while shaping graduate programming for the college.
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