University of Missouri Accused of Using Flawed Data for Cuts

Jan 30, 2018

Credit KBIA

The task force that recommended closing nearly 30 graduate programs and consolidating others at the University of Missouri's flagship campus used information from a flawed source criticized as unreliable and inadequate, a faculty group said.

Members of the university's chapter of the American Association of University Professors released their statement Sunday. The statement focused on the data from Academic Analytics, a North Carolina-based company that compiles data on faculty productivity, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

The Task Force on Academic Program Analysis, Enhancement, and Opportunities cited low enrollment and low research output as reasons for some of the recommended program cuts. The task force targeted graduate programs because a study of undergraduate programs requires "a more extensive review that solicits a broader array of information and input than we have access to at this time," the report stated.

The faculty statement said the task force's report released last week deserves respect but missed differences between academic disciplines while pursuing a "one size fits all measurement" to determine the future of some programs.

"Research and scholarship that contributes to the state, society and the world are not assembly line products," the statement read.

The faculty group has asked the university to release all the data used by the task force, including individual faculty profiles produced by Academic Analytics, and to review all the data for accuracy. Georgetown University stopped using the company in 2016, citing errors in data for similarly named academics, under-counting of research papers and failing to include private grants in the data, according to Robert Groves, the school's provost.

University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said last week that the task force's report completes the first phase of the review. He said the recommendations won't be implemented without further study.