Gov. Nixon calls for review of UMKC rankings

Friday, August 1, 2014 | 2:06 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon is calling for a review of how the University of Missouri-Kansas City's business school achieved top rankings in surveys, one national and the other international.

The governor announced his request Thursday during a meeting of the Kansas City Star Editorial Board. He said he wrote a letter to Don Downing, chairman of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, asking for an independent review.

Nixon's request was in reaction to The Kansas City Star's recent investigation of the validity of claims made by the Henry W. Bloch School of Management that may have led to the rankings, the newspaper reported.

"When I picked up the paper Sunday morning, it was the first time I knew that anybody was even looking at that stuff," Nixon said. "So that's the first time I had any knowledge of it. So we kind of looked at it ourselves."

In his letter, he said the Star's findings raised some troubling questions about the university's integrity, reputation and academic programs.

A 2011 study by the Journal of Product Innovation Management said the Henry W. Bloch School of Management was first in the world, above MIT and Stanford. The school also received a top-25 ranking in Princeton Review for its Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The Star determined there were conflicts of interest among the Journal of Product Innovation Management study's authors. It also found distorted data in UMKC's application for the Princeton Review rankings.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City denied the allegations made by the Star's investigation. It responded Thursday with a statement saying UMKC welcomes the review.

"We have not violated the public trust; we say this with confidence, based on multiple reviews of these issues conducted in academic circles long before the Kansas City Star became involved — reviews that found these criticisms to be without merit," the university said in its statement.

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