Columbia Won’t Participate in the Next U.S. News Rankings

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U.S.|Columbia Won’t Participate successful the Next U.S. News Rankings

The university, which had climbed to No. 2 successful the influential rankings, said it needed much clip to code questions astir its data, which were raised by a Columbia mathematics professor.

Michael Thaddeus, a mathematics prof  astatine  Columbia University, wrote a 21-page critique of the school’s information  connected  his website.
Credit...David Payr for The New York Times

Anemona Hartocollis

June 30, 2022, 8:38 p.m. ET

Columbia University volition not enactment successful the adjacent U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges crossed the country, aft a Columbia mathematics prof questioned the accuracy of the information that secured its No. 2 spot successful the influential rankings, the assemblage announced connected Thursday night.

The deadline to taxable information for the rankings is Friday, and a assemblage spokesperson said officials needed much clip to analyse the information and code the criticisms raised by the professor, Michael Thaddeus.

In a 21-page stinging critique Dr. Thaddeus posted connected his website successful February, helium not lone challenged the information down the standing but added substance to the statement implicit whether assemblage rankings — utilized by millions of prospective assemblage students and their parents — are invaluable oregon adjacent accurate.

“Columbia leaders instrumentality these questions seriously, and we instantly embarked connected a reappraisal of our information postulation and submissions process,” Columbia’s provost, Mary C. Boyce, said successful the announcement.

At the time, Columbia stood by its data, but Dr. Boyce said the assemblage was “now intimately reviewing our processes successful airy of the questions raised.”

“The ongoing reappraisal is simply a substance of integrity,” she continued. “We volition instrumentality nary shortcuts successful getting it right.”

A spokesperson for Columbia, Ben Chang, said helium did not privation to speculate astir erstwhile Columbia would again enactment successful the rankings.

For an Ivy League schoolhouse similar Columbia to retreat from the rankings, adjacent temporarily, is simply a stroke to their estimation and could spur different universities to reconsider their information arsenic well. Many assemblage presidents kick that the rankings unit them to stress statistic that oversimplify what it takes to find a bully lucifer betwixt a pupil and a school.

Dr. Thaddeus said connected Thursday nighttime that the determination raised a big of questions that Columbia had not yet answered.

“Is the assemblage expressing its disapproval of the U.S. News rankings themselves?” helium wrote successful an email. “Will it retreat successful aboriginal years arsenic well? Why can’t the enactment beryllium completed? What was it astir the questions I raised that, apparently, derailed the process?”

The assemblage had not made “any substantive responses to the factual issues I brought up,” helium added.

In Dr. Thaddeus’s critique, helium cited grounds helium gathered that suggested Columbia had made its undergraduate classes look smaller, its acquisition spending look greater and its professors look much highly educated.

The adjacent variation of the rankings is scheduled to travel retired successful September, officials said. To assistance prospective students navigate without it, Dr. Boyce said Columbia planned successful the autumn to people a Common Data Set, a loosely standardized acceptable of statistic utilized by higher acquisition institutions. She said it would see overmuch of the aforesaid accusation that is included successful the U.S. News profiles.

Dr. Thaddeus said helium understood that Columbia had prepared specified information sets successful the past for its ain interior usage but did not marque them public.

“The constituent is that they person documents that would shed airy connected their past submissions to U.S. News — and mightiness adjacent uncover whether their misrepresentations were intentional oregon unintentional — but they garbage to marque them public, adjacent aft an overwhelming bulk of the module who voted asked them to bash so,” helium said.

Mr. Chang, the spokesman, declined to remark connected Dr. Thaddeus’s remarks astir the Common Data Set but noted Columbia’s pledge to people a information acceptable this fall. “The assemblage has agelong conducted what it believed to beryllium a thorough process,” helium said. “Our extremity is maximum accuracy and transparency.”

Critics person said that the U.S. News look tends to reward schools based connected wealthiness and reputation.

In his analysis, Dr. Thaddeus, who specializes successful algebraic geometry, recovered that cardinal supporting information submitted by Columbia was “inaccurate, dubious oregon highly misleading.”

This year, Columbia roseate 1 spot successful the rankings to No. 2; the assemblage was surpassed lone by Princeton and tied with Harvard and M.I.T.

Dr. Thaddeus noted that Columbia was ranked 18th successful 1988, a emergence that helium suggested was remarkable. “Why person Columbia’s fortunes improved truthful dramatically?” helium asked successful his analysis.

Columbia is not the archetypal assemblage to person its rankings information questioned.

This twelvemonth the University of Southern California pulled its acquisition school retired of the U.S. News rankings due to the fact that of inaccuracies successful information that went backmost 5 years. And a erstwhile dean of Temple University’s concern schoolhouse was found blameworthy past twelvemonth of utilizing fraudulent data betwixt 2014 and 2018 to amended the school’s nationalist rankings and summation revenue. The school’s online M.B.A. programme was ranked champion successful the state by U.S. News & World Report successful the years that helium falsified data.

Over the years, different schools similar Iona College, Claremont McKenna College and Emory University person been recovered to person falsified oregon manipulated data.

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