Posted August 10, 2018

FAQ: Fox School of Business MBA rankings

Posted Feb. 2, 2018
Updated Sept. 4, 2018

 
What happened?
In January 2018, the Fox School of Business reported it had submitted inaccurate data to U.S. News & World Report for the 2018 Best Online MBA Programs rankings. Temple retained the nationally respected law firm Jones Day to perform a comprehensive review of data and processes within Fox. The review found misreporting for the OMBA Program over multiple years. In some instances, the misreporting was intentional; in other instances, the Fox School misreported information based on incorrect interpretations of survey questions.
 
How did Temple respond?
On July 9, 2018, President Richard M. Englert and Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne A. Epps met with Fox School of Business Dean Moshe Porat. Porat is no longer dean of the Fox School and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management.
 
The university has issued regular updates and announcements regarding the review of Fox data misreporting, as well as actions it is taking to ensure that data is treated with the highest integrity in the future.
 
More information can be found here at Temple’s data integrity website.

What else is Temple doing in response to the misreporting and what is planned going forward?
On July 11, Temple announced the implementation of a variety of measures at Fox. These measures include the creation of a new performance analytics unit responsible for accreditation and rankings; the implementation of a new workflow for data aggregation, inspection, verification and submission; and the coordination between Fox and the University’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment to develop and implement these steps to ensure data integrity.

The university also has taken measures to ensure accurate reporting across the University, including at Fox. Specifically:

  • All schools and colleges are required to develop reports outlining prior and proposed processes for data collection, verification and submission processes.
  • The Office of Institutional Research is hiring two additional staff members to assist the schools and colleges with appropriate data processes and practices.  That search is ongoing.
  • The office of Information Technology Services will identify interface gaps among existing data systems and pursue the implementation of new systems where appropriate.
  • Temple is developing policies to address:
    • Temple's commitment to ethics and compliance, including the integrity and accuracy of the information it maintains and shares;
    • standards for collecting and verifying data;
    • standards for verifying and cross-checking data;
    • procedures for submitting data, including required reviews and approvals;
    • certification by deans and applicable unit heads of integrity and accuracy of data, both prior to and after submission; and
    • mechanisms for questioning or raising concerns, directly or anonymously, about the integrity or accuracy of data.
  • Temple has engaged an external auditing firm to ensure the effectiveness of new measures on data integrity.  We will retain the auditor for at least three years to ensure data practices are appropriately implemented and followed.
  • The university launched a data integrity website that contains information about Temple’s commitment to promoting data integrity, all announcements by the university on the subject of data integrity, an FAQ and additional information.

Since being appointed, Dean Anderson has undertaken purposeful and comprehensive measures to improve internal controls, ensure accuracy in data reporting and create an atmosphere that honors transparency and accountability. Specifically, Dean Anderson has:

  • publicly acknowledged the Fox School’s past reporting errors and issued apologies to stakeholders;
  • restructured key administrative functions (i.e., enrollment management and marketing, finance and human resources);
  • examined and adjusted responsibilities of management personnel;
  • appointed a business/finance manager and is preparing to appoint a director of human resources;
  • met and will continue to meet with various stakeholders, including students, faculty and staff, to address concerns and answer questions; and
  • committed to continuing conversations with faculty and staff to establish a positive culture that focuses on outcomes for Fox students.

We continue to develop our remediation efforts and will update the answer to this question with further actions and progress.  

Are there problems with other programs at Fox?
Further investigation by Temple identified similar misreporting for multiple years. Although the review is ongoing, we have concluded 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.  

More information can be found here: https://www.temple.edu/about/data-integrity
 
Who is leading the Fox School of Business and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management?
President Englert and Provost Epps appointed Ronald C. Anderson as interim dean of the Fox School and STHM. 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 expected to hold this position for approximately two years. A national search for a permanent dean is expected during the 2019-2020 academic year.  
 
Do the problems with data reporting change the quality of a Fox education?
No. Fox graduate and undergraduate programs remain excellent. The school’s focus remains on the delivery of high-quality programs and student services. In no way is the misreporting of data a reflection of the school’s outstanding academic research, its award-winning faculty, its highly accomplished students, the success of its alumni or its world-class programs.
  
Does this affect the Fox School’s accreditation?
The Fox School is accredited by AACSB, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction held by fewer than 5 percent of the world’s business schools and one that the Fox School has maintained continuously since 1934. The AACSB has moved up its re-accreditation review for the Fox School from Spring 2020 to early 2019. The university has responded to AACSB requests for information and has been providing regular updates to the organization about remediation and correction measures.

What did Temple report to AACSB?
We have been providing regular updates to AACSB. Our latest report to AACSB on Aug. 10, 2018 includes our finding that the flawed data provided to U.S. News was not copied into the AACSB’s Business School Questionnaire (BSQ) for 2017-18. We did note, though, that in the most recent BSQ provided to AACSB, there were minor variations between currently calculated numbers and the then-reported numbers. These errors appear to be largely attributable to the challenges of replication due to data being compiled at different points in time during a single term, survey question interpretation and human error. 

On Aug. 10, Temple also reported to AACSB on its remedial and corrective actions to date.

What does AACSB consider when accrediting or reviewing a business school?
Click here for AACSB’s Eligibility Procedures and Accreditation for Business Accreditation.  

What is Fox’s U.S. News ranking now?
Following Fox’s report to U.S. News last January that it had submitted inaccurate data, U.S. News removed the Online MBA program’s No. 1 national ranking and moved the program to the “unranked” category. In light of the data issue with the Online MBA program, the Fox School asked to be withdrawn from consideration in the then-upcoming rankings for U.S. News’ full-time and part-time MBA programs.
 
What will happen to other Fox School rankings?
Temple is committed to determining if other incorrect data was reported by Fox, and to establishing policies and procedures that will guard against something similar occurring in the future.

Does the misreporting for Fox’s OMBA program impact other Fox programs or other university rankings?
In July, U.S. News & World Report asked that we certify the accuracy of the following submissions:  

  • 2017 data collected for the 2018 Best Colleges rankings, 
  • 2018 data collected for the 2019 Best Colleges rankings 
  • 2017 data collected for the following online program rankings:
    • Bachelor’s 
    • Business Non-MBA 
    • Business MBA 
    • Engineering 
  • 2017/18 data collected for the graduate program rankings for 2019 
    • Business 
    • Education 
    • Engineering 
    • Law 
    • Medicine (Primary and Research) 
    • Nursing (Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master’s)

A comprehensive review of each of these submissions was performed, involving the review of voluminous data. As we have been able to complete portions of the work, we have advised U.S. News of the results.  On July 20, Temple verified the accuracy of submissions for both the 2018 and 2019 Best Colleges rankings with three corrections noted—one inadvertent transposition and two typographical errors. Additionally, we updated originally reported endowment information to ensure consistency in survey responses. 

On July 25, Temple notified U.S. News that we could not certify the accuracy of data for the Fox business programs noted above. (See answer to “Are there problems with other programs at Fox?”).
 
On Aug. 10, we certified the accuracy of the remaining programs, as follows: 

  • College of Education: Data verified with the following exceptions: underreported the number of students receiving grants and or scholarships; mistakenly included students graduating from Temple’s Japan campus in its graduating class of master’s students; and entered the amount of fees as per credit rather than per semester.
  • College of Engineering: Data verified.
  • Beasley School of Law: Data verified.
  • Lewis Katz School of Medicine: Data verified with the following exceptions: underreported the number of minorities; underreported the number applicants interviewed; corrected full-time and part-time faculty figures.
  • Nursing: Advised U.S. News that Temple did not enroll students for fall 2017 in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and therefore did not submit data. 

Was data misreported to other rankings agencies?
We have reviewed Fox survey responses to other rankings agencies, including Princeton Review. To date, we have determined that at least one inaccurate data point reported to U.S. News also was misreported to the Princeton Review Best Business Schools rating survey. The review is ongoing.
 
Where does Fox stand with Princeton Review?
On July 27, Temple notified Princeton Review that we would not be submitting the 2017-18 survey and will refrain from doing so pending review of internal systems for ensuring accuracy of data submitted by Fox.  

Should I transfer out of the Fox School?
There is every good reason to remain at Fox. The Fox School has a distinguished tradition of preparing business leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs for successful careers. It is the largest, most comprehensive business school in Greater Philadelphia—Fox is home to 16 undergraduate majors, 14 specialized master's programs, four MBA programs, and two doctoral programs. Throughout its history, Fox has produced graduates with a strong work ethic, advanced the world of business and transformed lives through education. A robust network of alumni mentors advise and hire Fox students. If you are seeking to transfer, contact the school you’re interested in and find out their admissions deadlines and transfer policies.
 
Can I get my money back?
Temple is committed to being open and fair with students. This is a complex situation and we continue to consider how best to provide options to incoming students as well as those already enrolled.
 
Why should a prospective student consider going to the Fox School?
The Fox graduate and undergraduate programs have not changed. The school’s focus remains on the delivery of high-quality programs and student services. In no way are the problems with data reporting in the past a reflection of the school’s outstanding academic research, its award-winning faculty, its highly accomplished students, its world class programs, or the successes and networks of its alumni.
 
Where do I go if I have additional questions?
For greater detail and ongoing updates, go to Temple’s data integrity page. If your questions remain unanswered, please contact Interim Dean Anderson at fox.STHM.Dean@temple.edu or Provost Epps at provost@temple.edu.

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