Transforming Lives: Learners at AU is a testimonial series written by AU students and alumni who want to acknowledge how AU has helped shape their lives.
It’s a space for those who want to thank the people who have helped to support and transform their AU experience to achieve their greatest successes; all while looking forward to their future educational and personal potential.
Their story is worth shouting from the rooftops! Have an inspiring story of your own to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.
An accountant's journey
My name is David Albert Newman. I am a fifth year Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) learner. I commenced my AU journey starting September 2016. I am researching about interpersonal interactions of self-presentation and stigma as they surround mental illness through dominant discourses and experiential narratives. I have lived experience with stigma arising from my self-presentation and mental illnesses.
However, while I was an accountant I decided to refocus on earning my doctorate and pursuing a career change into academia. My dissertation tentative title is, The Show Must Go On: A Story of Mental Illness, Narratives, and Discourses in the Canadian Accounting Profession.
I chose the AU DBA program because of the flexibility to work and study and because the program is online. The asynchronous research space fits my time schedule. I was very interested in the courses when I reviewed the program online before applying.
Research from 2021 and beyond
My doctoral co-supervisors are Dr. Albert Mills (Saint Mary’s University) and Dr. Kai Lamertz (Athabasca University). Both are excellent supervisors and dear friends. I am fortunate to have been admitted to and to continue with earning my DBA. I am currently a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Angela Workman-Stark and Dr. Teresa Rose both of Athabasca University.
The AU DBA program is rigorous and challenging. The professors are excellent with knowledge, application, and compassion. The AU DBA program is worth the cognitive, social, and financial investments.
The impact of my research will be social, psychological, and economic. First, social in the sense that my focal point about stigma, self-presentation, and mental illness and the related dominant discourses and narratives will become well known and preventable in the future. With this prevention, I hope that individuals will have greater mental health and physical wellbeing. Economically, people working in organizations may be both happier and more productive.
Insight for others on taking the next big step in their lives
Never give up on yourself and never let anyone tell you that you cannot complete your educational goals whatever they may be. Life is about continuous learning, growth, and development balanced with conflicts, challenges, and mistakes along the journey. With this in mind, keep a positive mindset as best you can.
My career change from accounting practice and enhancement to organizational theory research will be well worth the effort and time. If you desire a career change or enhancement, consider the many programs at AU including the DBA! There are also opportunities to volunteer for instance with the Athabasca University Graduate Students Association (AUGSA). This way, you can study and research, volunteer and work, and have family time.