Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

University Of Missouri-Kansas City Joins Rankings Hall Of Shame; Dean Ordered Staff To Raise Ranking "By All Means Necessary"

UMKCInside Higher Education, Fibbing for Rankings:

The University of Missouri at Kansas City gave the Princeton Review false information designed to inflate the rankings of its business school, which was under pressure from its major donor to keep the ratings up, according to an outside audit released Friday.

The audit -- by PricewaterhouseCoopers -- described the process by which business school officials came up with creative reasons to provide data that many at the school believed to be false, and that the audit found to be false. ...

UMKC issued a news release Friday that reads: "Independent review upholds No. 1 research ranking."

But the audit also confirmed many of the findings of an August article in The Kansas City Star that found "a pattern of exaggerations and misstatements" by the business school. At the time, the university disputed the Star's report, but Missouri governor Jay Nixon requested an investigation, and that request led to the report issued Friday. ...

PricewaterhouseCoopers officials had access to senior UMKC officials (including some who left positions they had held in the period covered by the audit) and to relevant e-mail messages. The e-mail revealed a focus on finding ways to do well in the rankings in order to keep happy the business school's largest donor (of $32 million), for whom the school, the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, is named.

An e-mail from the then dean to colleagues said, for example: "Henry Bloch gets very upset when our rankings go down. We must do everything we can to increase it when we can by all means necessary.”

The audit then describes some of the things UMKC did to rank high in the Princeton Review's evaluation of business schools' (undergraduate and graduate) entrepreneurial programs.

Inside Higher Education, Princeton Review Takes Further Action Against UMKC

Other members of the Rankings Hall of Shame:  Bucknell, Claremont McKenna, Emory, George Washington, Illinois, Tulane, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Villanova, and York College of Pennsylvania.

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For all my disagreements with my law school, to their credit, they refuse to play this sort of game.

Posted by: mike livingston | Feb 4, 2015 4:19:52 AM

"By all means necessary" can be an innocent statement or it could be sinister, depending on whether it is followed by a villainous evil laugh.

Posted by: Hugh | Feb 3, 2015 7:06:27 AM