- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri-Kansas City’s business school knowingly submitted false data when applying for rankings, although there’s no reason to believe the misinformation led to undeserved accolades, a new report and analysis have found.

The report, conducted by international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers for the University of Missouri system, was released Friday, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1EWgKvi ) reports. Gov. Jay Nixon sought the review after The Star last year investigated the validity of claims made by the Henry W. Bloch School of Management.

A 2011 study by the Journal of Product Innovation Management said the Henry W. Bloch School of Management was first in the world, above MIT and Stanford. But the new report found that the academic journal article was edited in part by the former head of the Bloch School department receiving the top ranking. The auditors noted that the work was not subject to the same rigid standards as top academic papers.

The Princeton Review has ranked the school’s graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in its top 25 every year since 2011. But the latest report found problems with data that was submitted, including an apparent effort to inflate the number of clubs and organizations specifically open to entrepreneurship students. The man responsible for submitting rankings applications told auditors that a “wish list” of clubs was assembled and that a graduate student was instructed to post those clubs on the university’s website. The report also found that the number of mentorship programs was inflated and that UMKC included non-degree-seeking students when it answered Princeton Review questions that were aimed at students seeking degrees.

Accompanying the PricewaterhouseCoopers report was an analysis by a professor of business hired by the curators to review and comment on the report. Robert D. Hisrich, a professor emeritus of entrepreneurship at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, acknowledged the inaccuracies in the Princeton Review applications but said he couldn’t conclude “that the inaccurate information made a material difference in UMKC’s rankings.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers asked the Princeton Review, which is not affiliated with Princeton University, to recalculate the rankings with accurate data, but it declined. UMKC officials said Hisrich’s independent analysis of the report “validated” UMKC’s top ranking in the article published in the Journal of Product Innovation Management.

“I take seriously the report’s conclusions on the three areas of flawed data in the Princeton Review application,” Chancellor Leo Morton said in a statement.

The Bloch School’s current dean, David Donnelly, has appointed a special faculty committee to oversee future rankings data submissions.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com


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