Columbia University will not participate in the next U.S. News & World Report ranking of colleges across the country after a Columbia math professor questioned the accuracy of the data that took its No. 2 spot in the impressive ranking, the university announced Thursday night. .
The deadline for submitting data for the rankings is Friday, and a university spokesman said officials needed more time to analyze the data and address criticisms raised by Professor Michael Thaddeus.
In a scathing 21-page critique posted on his website in February, he not only challenged the data behind the ratings, but also fueled the debate about whether the college’s rankings – among millions of prospective college students and their parents – Used by the father – valuable or even accurate.
“Colombia’s leaders take these questions seriously, and we immediately began reviewing our data collection and submission process,” said Columbia’s provost, Mary C. Boyce said in the announcement.
At the time, Columbia stood by its data, but Dr. Boyce said the university is “now closely reviewing our procedures in light of the questions raised.”
“The ongoing review is a matter of integrity,” she continued. “We won’t take any shortcuts in fixing this.”
A Colombian spokesman, Ben Chang, said he did not want to speculate about when Colombia would return to the rankings.
For an Ivy League school like Columbia, dropping from the rankings, even temporarily, is a blow to their reputation and could prompt other universities to reconsider their involvement. Many college presidents complain that rankings force them to insist on statistics that oversee everything they do to find a good match between a student and a school.
Dr. Thaddeus said on Thursday night that the move raised many questions that Colombia has yet to answer.
“Is the university itself expressing disapproval of the US News Rankings?” He wrote in an email. “Will it withdraw in future years as well? Why can’t the work be completed? What was it about the questions I raised that, apparently, derailed the process?
The university “has not given any substantive response to the concrete issues raised by me,” he said.
In his criticism of Dr. Thaddeus, he cited evidence he had collected that suggested Columbia made its undergraduate classes smaller, its instructional costs more visible and its professors more educated.
Officials said the next edition of the rankings is due in September. To help potential students navigate without it, Dr. Boyce said Columbia plans to publish a common data set, a loosely standardized set of data used by higher educational institutions. It said it would include the same information that is included in the US News profile.
Dr. Thaddeus said he understands that Colombia has produced such data sets for its internal use in the past, but has not made them public.
“The point is that they have documents that would shed light on their previous submissions to US News – and may even suggest whether their misrepresentations were intentional or unintentional – but they refuse to make them public. denies, even after an overwhelming majority of the faculty who voted. asked them to do so,” he said.
Mr. Chang, the spokesman, declined to comment on Dr. Thaddeus’s comments about the Common Data Set, but noted Columbia’s pledge to publish the data set this fall. “The university has long done what it considered a complete process,” he said. “Our goal is maximum accuracy and transparency.”
Critics have said that the US News formula rewards schools on the basis of wealth and prestige.
In his analysis, Dr. Thaddeus, who specializes in algebraic geometry, found that the key supporting data presented by Columbia was “inaccurate, ambiguous or highly misleading”.
This year, Colombia moved up one place to the second position in the rankings; The university was surpassed only by Princeton and was associated with Harvard and MIT.
Dr. Thaddeus noted that Colombia was ranked 18th in 1988, the increase he suggested was remarkable. “Why has Colombia’s fortunes improved so dramatically?” he asked in his analysis.
Colombia is not the first university whose ranking data has been questioned.
This year the University of Southern California dropped its school of education from US news rankings due to inaccuracies in data from five years ago. And a former dean of Temple University’s business school was found guilty last year of using bogus data between 2014 and 2018 to improve the school’s national rankings and increase revenue. The school’s online MBA program was ranked the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report in years when it reported inaccurate data.
Over the years, other schools such as Iona College, Claremont McKenna College and Emory University have been found to falsify or manipulate data.