In the 1941 film, The Married Bachelor, Robert Young plays a con man trying to convince a mobster that said mobster can trust a professor to keep quiet about their scheming efforts. Young offers about the professor, “He’s honest!” And the mobster replied, “I don’t know about this. He’s educated.”
Sometimes it is the heavily degreed who pull the wool over our eyes.
Columbia had been ranked as #2 on the magazine’s top universities. However, when U.S. News & World Report learned of questions about Columbia’s data in March 2022, it requested that Columbia provide the data to substantiate what it had submitted for ranking purposes. By July, with no “satisfactory responses” to its requests forthcoming, U.S. News & World Report unranked the school. Columbia went from #2 to “appearing nowhere on this list.”
Columbia Professor of Mathematics, Michael Thaddeus, explained why the numbers submitted were not accurate in an executive summary of his analysis that he put on his website in March 2022. Professor Thaddeus said that he began his investigation into the Columbia data when he realized how quickly Columbia had climbed to the #2 slot. .http://www.math.columbia.edu/~thaddeus/ranking/investigation.html
Professor Thaddeus has described in his analysis what education can do when responding to simple questions. There was some serious gaming by Columbia when it came to class size, the number of full-time faculty members, and the number of faculty with advanced degrees. And one more thing. Let’s just say that any time you have two budgets — one that goes to the Department of Education and one that goes to U.S. News & World Report you may have crossed a few ethical lines. The big difference? Amount spent on educational instruction. Much higher for rankings purposes than in reports to government bureaucrats. The DOE budget is the accurate one — those penalties for submitting false information to the government can be stiff
Harvard and MIT have one less competitor in the #2 slot they shared with the now deranked Columbia. Yale stands alone at #1. If I were an administrator at any of these three schools, I’d be checking with the math department for a little analytical help to determine if and how there has been any gaming.