M. Moshe Porat, dean of the Fox School of Business at Temple University, was asked to resign from his position effective immediately after an investigation determined that the school knowingly provided false information to at least one rankings organization about its online MBA program.
On July 9, Temple President Richard M. Englert and Provost JoAnne A. Epps asked Porat to step down.
The school hired international law firm Jones Day to conduct an investigation into Fox in late January after the school reported it had submitted inaccurate data to U.S. News and World Report for the 2018 Best Online MBA Programs rankings. The review found that the Fox School reported inaccurate data to U.S. News since 2014.
The misreported information included the number of entrants submitting GMAT scores, number of admission offers, student debt and mean undergraduate GPA figures.
Per a January U.S. News article, the school originally reported that all 255 new entrants of the class submitted GMAT scores. The school later informed U.S. News the count of new entrants submitting GMAT scores was actually 50 students, or 19.6 percent.
The school was moved from its fourth-consecutive No. 1 ranking to the “unranked” category.
Porat could not be reached for comment.
In addition to stating “pressure to improve and maintain rankings contributed to the reporting of inaccurate information,” the Jones Day report implicated other Fox leadership and employees in contributing the misreported data — though it did not name them.
The university said it will take all appropriate steps, but “out of respect for the privacy of our employees, we will not discuss specific employment actions,” Associate Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications Ray Betzner said.
Porat, who also stepped down from his position as dean of Temple’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, had “disbanded” a longstanding committee that oversaw the accuracy of rankings data, per a statement Englert released late July 9.
“This absence of checks and balances, together with an undue focus on rankings, enabled such misreporting,” Englert wrote in an email to the community.
An interim dean will step in for Porat while the university starts a national search for a permanent dean.
Betzner noted Porat retains a teaching appointment at the university.
Englert said the provost will be sharing a new university-wide policy “regarding rankings, more robust checks and balances for rankings data collection and reporting and new data analytics staff.” They are also sharing information with the U.S. Department of Education.
Betzner pointed to reinstating the committee Porat disbanded and said the policies being planned will be the responsibility of the interim dean and the new dean.
“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 wrote.
Porat, who received his undergraduate degree and MBA from Tel Aviv University and his doctorate from Temple, is involved in several local Jewish organizations.
In his Temple bio, he is listed as a board member of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce. In June 2016, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia honored Porat for his campus leadership and advocacy for Israel.
He has been with Temple for nearly 40 years and, in his time as dean of the business school, he helped restructure Fox’s MBA program to incorporate international immersion trips, including those to Israel.
In a 2016 interview with the Jewish Exponent ahead of the Hillel ceremony, Porat said his answer to Israel detractors was to “tell the truth.”
“That’s what I do. I’m trying to encourage everybody with the facts,” he said.