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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Temple Business School Dean Fired For Knowingly Submitting False Data To Inflate U.S. News Ranking Over Several Years

Temple OnlineFollowing up on my previous post, Rankings Scandal Unfolds At Temple Business School:  Jones Day, Findings and Recommendations from Jones Day Investigation into Rankings Information Provided by Fox School to U.S. News:

In January 2018, Temple University learned that the University’s Fox School of Business (“Fox”) had submitted certain inaccurate information to U.S. News & World Report in connection with U.S. News’s 2018 survey of the best Online MBA (“OMBA”) programs. In particular, the University learned that Fox’s survey submission to U.S. News had erroneously indicated that all new entrants to the OMBA program had provided Graduate Management Admission Test (“GMAT”) scores as part of their applications. Fox self-reported to U.S. News that this GMAT data were incorrect. ...

Jones Day made multiple factual findings based on the investigation, as set forth below. In short, the investigation revealed that, over the past several years, Fox provided U.S. News with inaccurate information across multiple data metrics that are part of the publication’s OMBA rankings methodology. And while Jones Day focused on information that Fox provided to U.S. News relating to the school’s OMBA program, the investigation revealed that Fox provided U.S. News with erroneous information relating to other programs as well. On certain occasions, Fox’s reporting of inaccurate information to U.S. News was done knowingly and intentionally for the purpose of improving or maintaining Fox’s standing in the relevant U.S. News rankings.

  1. The key findings of the investigation are as follows: 1. In each year since at least 2014, Fox reported inaccurate information to U.S. News with respect to one or more data metrics, including: (a) the number of entrants who provided GMAT scores, (b) the mean undergraduate GPA of entrants, (c) the number of offers of admission extended to applicants, and (d) student-borrower indebtedness. In addition, Fox personnel adopted questionable interpretations of survey questions.
  2. In various respects, Fox leadership and other employees bore responsibility for creating or promoting conditions that contributed to the reporting of inaccurate information to U.S. News and/or for the misreporting itself. Pressure to improve and maintain rankings contributed to the reporting of inaccurate information.
  3. Following a change in procedure initiated by the Dean in approximately mid-2013, Fox did not establish adequate checks and balances in the process for compiling, verifying, and submitting information to U.S. News.
  4. The employee principally responsible for preparing and submitting Fox’s responses to ranking surveys knowingly and intentionally misreported certain information to U.S. News and failed to correct inaccuracies with respect to other information. The investigative record is inconclusive as to whether this employee, in knowingly and intentionally misreporting information, was acting at the specific direction of any other Fox personnel.
  5. There were multiple opportunities for other Fox personnel to observe and/or correct inaccuracies in information to be or that had been provided to U.S. News, but these inaccuracies were not corrected either before or after submission.

The inaccurate information that Fox submitted to U.S. News in responses to OMBA rankings surveys includes the following:

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