Rankings Data Overview
Updated: Dec. 12, 2019
This overview will be updated as new information is announced.
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Temple University announced that the Fox School of Business identified a data error in its submission to U.S. News & World Report for its Online MBA program. As a result, U.S. News reclassified the Online MBA as “unranked.”
In light of the data issue with the Online MBA program, the Fox School contacted U.S News and asked to be withdrawn from consideration in the upcoming results for full-time and part-time MBA programs.
Temple University President Richard M. Englert then brought in Jones Day, a global law firm with substantial experience in such reviews in higher education, to conduct a review of Fox’s rankings data.
President Englert announced that report’s findings and recommendations, and Fox School of Business Dean Moshe Porat was asked to step down. It was the dean’s initiative to disband a longstanding committee charged with ensuring the accuracy of rankings data. This absence of checks and balances, together with an undue focus on rankings, enabled such misreporting.
The Jones Day review found that the Fox School reported inaccurate data to U.S. News for multiple years. In some instances, the misreporting was intentional; in other instances, the Fox School misreported information based on incorrect interpretations of survey questions.
Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne A. Epps rolled out a variety of measures at Fox, all other schools and colleges, and other university offices that are responsible for data submissions, to ensure the highest degree of data integrity at Temple University.
President Englert and Executive Vice President and Provost Epps appointed Ronald C. Anderson as interim dean of the Fox School of Business. A respected member of the Fox School faculty, Anderson has served as professor and chair of the Department of Finance since joining Temple in July 2012. He is also interim dean of Temple’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and is expected to serve for approximately two years. A national search for a permanent dean is expected to be conducted during the 2019–2020 academic year.
President Englert and Executive Vice President and Provost Epps announced that misreporting similar to that involving the Online MBA also occurred with respect to the Executive MBA, Global MBA, Part-Time MBA, Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Master of Science in Digital Innovation in Marketing.
These programs all had issues related to the reporting of one or more metrics, including the number of new entrants providing GRE/GMAT scores, student indebtedness and applicants’ undergraduate GPAs. For the Online Bachelor of Business Administration, misreporting related to student indebtedness was found. As a result, Temple University reported to U.S. News that it cannot verify data related to these programs, and that Temple would not participate in business school surveys at that time.
In a related update, U.S. News asked Temple to provide a letter verifying the accuracy of its data submissions for the 2018 and 2019 Best Colleges rankings. The university conducted a painstaking review of the voluminous data contained in these submissions. On July 20, Temple provided U.S. News with the requested letter, in which the accuracy of its submissions were verified for both the 2018 and 2019 rankings. University administration also made three corrections: one inadvertent transposition and two typographical errors. Additionally, Temple updated originally reported endowment information to ensure consistency in survey responses. U.S. News also had requested information on additional programs, and that review is underway.
In addition to verifying the data provided to U.S. News, the university is responding to ongoing inquiries from the U.S. Department of Education and the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.
Since the initial discovery and self-reporting of inaccurate data earlier this year, Temple has received requests from regulators, accreditors and ranking agencies to supply information about data reported by the Fox School of Business and, in some cases, other areas of the university. Some of that progress is outlined below.
U.S. News & World Report
Temple verified the accuracy of submissions for both the 2018 and 2019 Best Colleges rankings and subsequently responded a U.S. News inquiry about data specific to the Fox School.
In addition, U.S. News asked the university to verify data for professional and graduate programs that have most recently submitted survey information, namely, the College of Engineering, the College of Education, the James E. Beasley School of Law and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. That work has been completed and, though errors were found in two of the reports, the errors were few in number and there was no indication of deliberate misreporting. This information has been reported to U.S. News.
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
AACSB contacted Temple July 10, 2018, asking for details regarding the misreporting of data and remediation efforts. The university has responded to this request and has also been providing regular updates to AACSB about remediation and corrective measures. The AACSB has moved up its re-accreditation review for the Fox School from spring 2020 to early 2019.
Other Ranking and Rating Surveys
The university is also in the process of reviewing Fox survey responses to other ranking and rating agencies, including the Princeton Review. Today Temple notified the Princeton Review that a review of data submitted to it shows that at least one inaccurate data point reported to U.S. News was also used in reports to the Princeton Review.
The university continues to keep the U.S. Department of Education updated on its progress in analyzing past Fox School reports and the procedures that are being put into place to ensure greater data integrity. In addition, Temple is working with the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office to provide the information that it is seeking.
Temple University continues to diligently pursue the review of rankings data and will share updates as they become available.
In response to Temple’s update regarding data integrity, the Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com published an article at 4:30 p.m. under the headline “Temple finds data errors at two more schools for U.S. News rankings.” The first line of that article read, “The rankings scandal at Temple University spread beyond the Fox School of Business on Friday...”
We completely disagree with both the implication of the headline and the explicit substance of the lead sentence.
First, as was clear in our announcement, the data errors found in the two U.S. News surveys are not comparable to the previously disclosed issues in submissions from the Fox School.
Second, what we have reported today is precisely the opposite of the “spread” of the “rankings scandal.” Rather, it is confirmation that the issues in Fox have not appeared in any other school or college at Temple.
Third, the story includes: “The information Temple shared with U.S. News 'did not have an impact on its 2019 Best Graduate Schools rankings,' Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, said in a statement.”
This statement stands in stark contrast to the tone and language of the story.
We have made this point clear to the Inquirer and sincerely hope they will address it by revising the article to be consistent with the facts.
To the Fox community,
As you know, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has been among the agencies to request information regarding Fox School of Business data, stemming from the discovery that data was misreported to U.S. News and other rankings organizations.
Since July, we have provided information in response to AACSB’s requests. On Sept. 17, representatives from Temple and AACSB met on campus. At that time, we described how we have implemented rigorous data integrity processes and procedures to ensure that data is accurate moving forward.
Today, AACSB announced to its educational members that the Fox School remains accredited. At the same time, AACSB has placed our school into a multiyear monitoring process to ensure our compliance with their ethical standards and the effectiveness of our internal controls related to data integrity. The leadership of AACSB, including its Board of Directors, takes this matter very seriously. So do we. I have confidence that everyone at the school will cooperate and work earnestly to ensure the success of our efforts.
In the last several months, President Richard M. Englert, Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne A. Epps, and I—supported by a dedicated team of faculty and staff—have been working to move the school forward. Because of these efforts, we can clearly illustrate that the Fox School’s research, faculty and programs remain as strong as ever. We also continue to be extraordinarily proud of the accomplishments of our students and alumni.
I take pride in the incredible resilience the Fox community has shown in recent months. I also reaffirm our commitment to abiding by the highest standards in the future.
Ronald C. Anderson
Fox School of Business
School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management
Board of Trustees Chair Patrick J. O’Connor, President Englert and Provost Epps provided a fourth update reiterating the university’s apology for data misreporting, outlining the wide array of measures to fix the problem, and announcing that Temple has retained an outside auditing firm to review rankings submissions and to ensure the effectiveness of these new measures. The university is also conducting a search for a compliance officer to enhance its ethics and compliance program, as well as internal reporting structures.
President Richard M. Englert announced that an agreement has been reached to resolve the claims of Fox School of Business students. The agreement has been submitted to the court for its review and approval. The press release linked below offers details on the settlement.
March 6, 2019: Leadership reaffirms apology for misreporting of data, updates on efforts to ensure accurate reporting
President Richard M. Englert, Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne A. Epps, and Interim Fox School Dean Ronald C. Anderson sent a letter to the Fox School community reaffirming the apology for the misreporting of data to U.S. News and World Report. The letter also included several steps that have been taken to ensure rigor in data reporting.
Dec. 12, 2019: Agreement over data integrity issues
Temple University has entered into an agreement—known as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance—with the Pennsylvania Attorney General resolving the Attorney General’s investigation of the Fox School of Business rankings matter. The resolution agreement was made public this morning.
The agreement requires Temple to maintain certain internal controls, which have been largely put into place, and to create and fund five $5,000 scholarships per year for 10 years for Fox School students in the affected programs.
This is an important step in enabling the Fox School and Temple to move forward and return ever more of our focus to providing the best possible education for our students.
The Office of the Attorney General has issued a statement to the media. The university has issued a statement in response to press inquiries regarding the agreement. If you receive any contacts from the media, please refer them to Kevin Feeley (firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-893-4285).
Richard M. Englert
JoAnne A. Epps
Executive Vice President and Provost