Temple University today (Feb. 2) said it has hired the law firm of Jones Day to conduct what it called a comprehensive review of its business school’s rankings data and processes. The university also asked U.S. News to withdraw the school from its forthcoming rankings on full- and part-time MBA programs, potentially a signal that there could be problems with the data the school already submitted for those lists. Last year, Fox’s full-time MBA program moved up nine places to rank 32nd.
The announcement by Temple University President Richard M. Englert comes little more than a week after U.S. News tossed the No. 1 ranked online MBA program at Fox School of Business off its ranking for misreporting critical GMAT data used in its methodology. The school had initially reported that 100% of the students in the latest incoming class submitted GMAT scores to get into the program. In fact, the school acknowledged that only 19.6% submitted GMAT scores. Standardized test scores are a common and usually required part of admissions in graduate business education.
The review by Jones Day will look at previous years of reporting, all under a shadow because the school had reported that 100% of its students submitted GMAT scores for the previous three years. In penalizing Temple for the reporting error in its latest ranking, U.S. News did not address the school’s previously reported data that allowed Fox’s online MBA program to attain its No. 1 ranking for what would have been four consecutive years. But administrators at other schools say it would have been improbable, if not impossible, for a school to go from 25% to 100% in a single year between 2013 and 2014, or for that matter, to go to 19.6% this past year from 100% a year earlier.
‘DEAN AND FOX SCHOOL PLEDGE FULL COOPERATION’
In an email to the faculty of the Fox School, Englert noted that “Jones Day, a global law firm with substantial experience in such reviews in higher education, has already begun its work. Dean Moshe Porat and the Fox School have pledged their full cooperation. In light of the recently discovered issue with data for the online MBA program, and out of respect for the U.S. News rankings, the Fox School contacted the publication yesterday and asked to be withdrawn from consideration in the upcoming results for full-time and part-time MBA programs. I agree with this step.”
Jones Day had been hired by Tulane University after U.S. News kicked out its Freeman School of Business for a similar reporting error in In 2013. The school admitted that it inflated average GMAT scores reported to U.S. News by an average 35 points for consecutive five years from 2007 through 2011. Freeman also conceded that it had falsely increased the number of completed applications it received by an average of 116 applications over the same time period.The magazine took the action after the school admitted that it had misreported key data to U.S. News—just as Temple Fox did this year.
U.S. News would later reveal that the extent of the fraud was even somewhat greater than reported by Freeman. The organization found that the corrected average GMAT score for the fall 2011 entering class was 631 versus the 670 originally reported by Freeman—a difference of 39 points.
A revision to the number of MBA applications received by the school showed an even greater difference than the originally reported number. The corrected figures showed that Freeman accepted 93% of its applicants for the fall 2011 entering class instead of 57%–a difference of 36 percentage points. Tulane also was suspended from U.S. News’ ranking for a year as a result.
Englert’s full email, obtained by Poets&Quants, follows:
To the Fox School of Business community:
I have updated information for you regarding the Fox School and its U.S News & World Report rankings.
As you know, Fox recently identified a data error in its submission to U.S. News for the Online MBA. As a result, U.S. News reclassified the Online MBA as “unranked.”
Last week, I told you we would bring an outside, independent firm in to conduct a comprehensive review of the Fox School’s rankings data and processes. Jones Day, a global law firm with substantial experience in such reviews in higher education, has already begun its work. Dean Moshe Porat and the Fox School have pledged their full cooperation.
In light of the recently discovered issue with data for the online MBA program, and out of respect for the U.S. News rankings, the Fox School contacted the publication yesterday and asked to be withdrawn from consideration in the upcoming results for full-time and part-time MBA programs. I agree with this step.
As I said earlier, I believe strongly in the quality of every program we have at the Fox School of Business. The school’s talented faculty and dedicated staff provide the highest-quality teaching, research and personalized education to our students, and their commitment to Fox students has never wavered. Over its 100-year history, the Fox School has earned its reputation as a world-class business school with graduates who thrive in their careers and who give back to their communities.
Thank you for everything you do on behalf of our students at the Fox School. I expect to have an update for you on the progress at Fox later this spring.
Richard M. Englert