New processes for data submission

On Monday, President Richard M. Englert announced the results of the Jones Day review of the Fox School of Business. As a result of the issues uncovered by this review, it is clear that the university needs to implement new processes to ensure the highest degree of data integrity. Therefore, the university is implementing a variety of measures at Fox, all other schools and colleges, and other university offices that are responsible for data submissions.

Fox School of Business initiatives
The following is an outline of actions that have been initiated by the Fox School of Business to ensure data integrity.

Fox created a new performance analytics unit reporting to Senior Associate Dean Aubrey Kent. The executive director of the new unit is Barbara Manaka, previously Fox’s director of curriculum management, assessment, teaching and learning. As the executive director of performance analytics, Manaka now has responsibility for rankings (including data assurance, student surveys, and coordination with internal and external ranking entities), AACSB accreditation and academic quality. In this role, Manaka will continue to work directly with Senior Associate Dean Kent and with Senior Vice Dean Debbie Campbell on completing survey responses using a team approach.

Fox intends that the workflow for the new performance analytics unit entail:

Step 1 – Data Aggregation: The following four elements will be aggregated, collected and organized by Manaka with the aid of an assistant director.

  • Program, graduate and faculty data, and financial services or debt dataEnrollment and cohort data
  • Job data from the Center for Student Professional Development and the placement team
  • Other required information not specifically captured above

Step 2 – Data Inspection: Manaka will verify the accuracy of the data, with input and assistance from relevant program directors and Fox School staff.

Step 3 – Data Verification: Manaka will review the data with Kent and Campbell.

Step 4 – Data Submission: Following approval by Institutional Research and Assessment (IRA), Manaka will submit the data and be the liaison with external publications.

Where possible, a copy of the submission will be provided to the dean for post-submission review.

In addition, through IRA, the Office of the Provost will assist the Fox School in developing processes for data compilation, aggregation, inspection, verification and submission processes to ensure reliability and veracity.

As noted in the president’s memorandum yesterday, Temple University is looking to appoint an interim dean of the Fox School. Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne A. Epps will work with the interim dean to identify structural or leadership changes as needed. 
School and college initiatives
In addition to the above, the Office of the Provost will require the dean of every school and college and applicable unit heads to submit a report that:

  • Describes the data collection, verification and submission process in the school/college/unit, and
  • Proposes any process changes going forward. At a minimum, procedures going forward should include:
    • Identification of definitive sources of data;
    • Individuals, by name and title, with responsibility for gathering data;
    • Individuals, by name and title, with responsibility for reviewing and verifying data;
    • The process for ensuring the accuracy of the submitted data;
    • The certification of data accuracy by the dean or applicable unit head;
    • Procedures for maintaining an audit trail of backup data for all submissions; and
    • Procedures for identifying and notifying IRA of anticipated or actual significant changes in rankings.

University-wide initiatives
Additionally, working with the university, the Office of the Provost will:

  • Hire at least two new staff members in IRA to assist the schools and colleges with appropriate data processes and practices. One of these new staff members will be dedicated to working with Fox. 
  • Work on identifying reliable communication among existing data systems, and pursue the implementation of new systems as appropriate.
  • Assist in designing and implementing appropriate policies specific to external data reporting by schools, colleges and applicable units. These policies will include:
    • Temple’s commitment to ethics and compliance, including the integrity and accuracy of all the information it maintains and shares;
    • Standards for collecting and verifying all data;
    • Standards for verifying and cross-checking all data;
    • Procedures for submitting all data, including required reviews and approvals;
    • Certification by deans, or applicable unit heads, of integrity and accuracy of all data, both prior to and after submission; and
    • Mechanisms for questioning or raising concerns, directly or anonymously, about the integrity or accuracy of data.
  • Assist in designing and implementing training for all employees, and the supervisors of employees, involved in collecting and submitting rankings data to ensure a clear understanding of the importance of integrity, accuracy and accountability.
  • Require each school, college and applicable unit to create a data repository for archiving and retaining an auditable backup for all data submitted externally.
  • Retain an external auditor for at least 3 years to review all Fox rankings submissions and spot-check those of other schools, colleges and applicable units. Thereafter, the Office of the Provost will ensure the inclusion of rankings survey data on the regular internal audit schedule.

The above actions represent a substantial commitment of effort and resources. As an institution, Temple must continually test established practices and implement additional measures in the future as appropriate.

Temple is an exceptional university. In a world of ever-expanding data, the university’s challenge is to facilitate the creation, recording and reporting of that data, so the university is always accurately and honestly represented to the outside world.