Fox School of Business dean asked to resign after school falsifies student data

Temple University President Richard Englert announced that Moshe Porat would leave the university, after leading the Fox School since 1996.

Fox School of Business’s Online MBA program lost its No. 1 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report on Jan. 25. The national recognition still appeared on signage, like this advertisement in Alter Hall, on Jan. 29. | ALYSSA BIEDERMAN / FILE PHOTO

UPDATE at 12:35 p.m. on July 11

U.S. News & World Report requested that all of Temple University’s submissions be verified, after the Fox School of Business falsified years of data for its Online MBA program.

Dean of the Fox School of Business Moshe Porat was asked to resign Monday after an investigation found the school, under his leadership, falsified data for at least one ranking to the U.S. News & World Report every year since 2014.

U.S. News & World Report sent a letter to Englert on Tuesday asking the school to certify data for several of the university’s other rankings, including Best Colleges, Best Online Program and Best Graduate Schools reported in 2017 and 2018.

According to the letter, “the scope and duration of the misreporting at Fox calls into question all of Temple University’s submissions to U.S. News.”

“It appears that additional misreporting by Fox Temple (whether intentional or otherwise) extends beyond the submission by Fox Temple for the Online MBA Rankings,” U.S. News & World Report Editor and Chief Content Officer Brian Kelly wrote in the letter.

All verification is to be provided by July 20.

Englert and Provost JoAnne Epps asked Porat to step down Monday after more than 20 years of leadership at the university.

Jones Day, an international law firm hired by the university, began an independent investigation of Fox’s Online MBA rankings in late January after U.S. News & World Report stripped Fox of its 2018 ranking. It found that the school overstated the number of students in the program who provided graduate standardized test scores, the undergraduate GPA of students, its number of offers to applicants and student debt.

The school was ranked No. 1 for its Online MBA program for four consecutive years, before losing its rank in 2018.

Problems first began to arise after Porat knowingly “disbanded” a committee that oversaw the accuracy of the program’s data, according to the report. This, along with an environment focused on high rankings, contributed to the school’s conscious decision to report false data, Jones Day found.

“This absence of checks and balances, together with an undue focus on rankings, enabled such misreporting,” Englert wrote in a statement released Monday afternoon.

Other Fox leadership and employees were also found responsible for rampant misreporting over several years at the school, but no other leaders or employees are identified in the report.

The university said it was taking all appropriate steps but would not comment on further personnel actions “out of respect for the privacy of our employees,” university spokesman Ray Betzner said in a statement.

Porat could not be immediately reached for comment.

An interim dean will step into the position while the university conducts a national search for a permanent dean, Englert added.

Students in the MBA program filed a class action lawsuit against the school and Temple, citing their degrees will diminish in value following the rankings scandal.

“While we are committed to determining the nature and extent of possible incorrect data reporting regarding other academic programs at Fox, one thing is clear: This is contrary to the fundamental value of integrity that is at the heart of our academic mission,” Englert added.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a statement by U.S. News & World Report.

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