A Salute to a Columbia Math Professor

Ivy Coach salutes the Columbia University mathematics professor whose whisleblowing exposed a college rankings reporting scandal (photo credit: Andrew Chen).

Columbia University’s historic slide down the US News & World Report annual college rankings — from it’s plum #2 position to a tie for #18 — was the result of one of the school’s own math professors shining a spotlight on innacurate data that the school presented to the publication with respect to student-to-factulty ratios, graduation outcomes, and average class sizes. Today, we salute that Columbia math professor, Michael Thaddeus, for his whistleblowing that ultimately led to a cataclysmic shift in this year’s annual US News ranking. And it seems we’re not alone in giving props to Professor Thaddeus.

The Harvard Crimson‘s Editorial Board recently published an op-ed entitled “College Rankings and the Cynicism of American Higher Education” in which the editors voice their appreciation to Professor Thaddeus. As they write, “In identifying and publicly rebuking Columbia’s behavior, Thaddeus embodied the highest ideals of integrity and scholarship. Academics are tasked with the search for truth; when academic institutions disseminate inaccuracies — particularly when said inaccuracies are so conspicuously aligned with their own institutional incentives — they fail their mission. Thaddeus put the search for truth above his personal interests, antagonizing his institution, and we commend him for it.”

We at Ivy Coach salute Professor Thaddeus for all of the aforementioned reasons, for daring to speak out even if doing so did not serve his institution’s — or his own — interests. His is a profile in courage. Columbia’s motto reads, “In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen.” In Thy light shall we see light.

 
 

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