Bloch School review includes validation, criticism

Independent review upholds No. 1 research ranking

The University of Missouri System Board of Curators today released the findings of an independent review of the academic rankings of the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Board of Curators commissioned the review in response to a request from Gov. Jay Nixon after questions were raised regarding rankings of the Bloch School of Management. The review was conducted by Robert D. Hisrich, Ph.D., who retired as of Jan. 1 as Garvin Professor of Global Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Global Entrepreneurship at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz. Dr. Hisrich was aided by work conducted by the global audit and accounting firm PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Among the conclusions reached by Dr. Hisrich in the report released today:

  • The journal article that led to the Bloch School’s top ranking in innovation management research was consistent with generally acceptable professional practices.
  • The $32 million gift from Henry Bloch for a new building was not motivated by past and future rankings but by enrollment growth.
  • Information provided to the Princeton Review Board for certain years was inaccurate in three subject areas, but he couldn’t conclude that the information made a material difference in UMKC’s rankings.

“I am pleased to have the Bloch School’s No. 1 ranking in innovation management research validated, but I take seriously the report’s conclusions on the three areas of flawed data in the Princeton Review application. We have already implemented changes and will continue to seek ways to improve our data collection,” Morton said.

In reaction to the news about the inaccurate data, the Princeton Review withdrew the Bloch School’s 2014 ranking. Chancellor Morton said he understood the Princeton Review’s actions, and further requested that the rankings for the years in which flawed data was actually submitted – 2011, 2012 and 2013 – be withdrawn as well. (Full statement from the Chancellor is below.)

On the ranking in the Journal of Product Innovation Management, the Hisrich report found that the journal article that yielded the No. l rankings in product innovation management – for UMKC as an institution, and for Prof. Michael Song as an individual – was “consistent with generally acceptable professional practices.”

The review by Hisrich found no basis for the charge that the school sought to artificially inflate rankings in order to persuade philanthropist Henry W. Bloch to donate $32 million for construction of the new Bloch School building that opened in August 2014. According to the review, the decision to donate the funds was made by Mr. Bloch in the spring of 2011, many months before the publication of the JPIM article.

The Hisrich review questioned flawed data reported to the Princeton Review Board including the number of student clubs cited by the Bloch School, the way mentor programs were counted and how certain enrollment numbers were calculated. The Bloch School’s undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship programs have ranked among the top 25 in the nation five different times.

Chancellor Morton said Bloch School Dean David Donnelly has already made changes to the way the data was collected and reported this year. In addition, Morton said the Bloch School has appointed a special faculty committee to oversee the processes involved in any rankings submissions going forward.

Hisrich stated in his report that he could not determine whether the incorrect data would have affected the overall final ranking for UMKC.  Information from the Princeton Review stated that “a shift in one data point, even going from 100% to 0%, would not change the overall outcome of the 2014 ranking of UMKC’s program.”

Hisrich noted that the Princeton Review considers 40 separate data points in its rankings, most of which were unquestioned, and further added that “Recent submissions of UMKC using more conservative data has resulted in UMKC remaining in the top 25 universities in the Princeton Review rankings.”

The Bloch School’s benefactor, Henry Bloch, expressed appreciation for the thoroughness of the independent review.

“I am grateful to Gov. Nixon for insisting that an independent expert be brought in to bring the truth to light. Dr. Hisrich’s credentials and credibility are such that this report should put this matter to rest once and for all,” Henry Bloch said in a statement. “It’s time to get back to the important work of building on the successes of the Bloch School and continuing the fine work they’ve been doing to meet the needs of its students and Kansas City’s business community.”

Statement from Chancellor Leo E. Morton regarding the Princeton Review:

A detailed review of the rankings of our Henry W. Bloch School of Management, performed at the request of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, revealed flaws in how we reported some statistics to The Princeton Review, which has ranked the Bloch School’s undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship programs among the Top 25 in the nation.

According to that review, our applications to The Princeton Review for consideration of rankings in 2011, 2012 and 2013 included inaccurate information submitted in three of 40 subject areas The Review considers for its rankings.  The incorrect data provided included the number of student clubs, the number of mentoring programs and select enrollment numbers.  Two members of the Bloch School faculty submitted inflated statistics in those three categories.

As a result of that finding, The Princeton Review informed us today that it is withdrawing the Bloch School’s ranking for 2014.  While Bloch had revised its application process in 2014 and has great confidence in that year’s rankings submission, we understand why the Princeton Review has taken this step. Even one inaccurate data point is one too many, and our integrity is paramount.  With that in mind, we have requested that The Princeton Review withdraw our rankings from 2011, 2012 and 2013, based on the inaccurate information provided for those years.

The Bloch School will continue a journey that began more than a year ago to ensure that our rankings submissions follow best practices.  Over the past twelve months, the Bloch School has implemented significant changes in our ranking applications procedures, including oversight of the process under a new leader of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and, as Bloch School Dean Dave Donnelly announced last week, he has also appointed a special faculty committee to oversee the process.

UMKC and the Bloch School are committed to ensuring that the academic integrity of this institution is maintained and strengthened and we are confident that the months ahead will reveal just that.

For the Hisrich report in its entirety, please visit:

For the PwC report in its entirety, please visit:

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