Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Something is Rank

I've been meaning to update you on the reaction from The Old Main Propaganda Shop on Penn State plummeting from 7th place last year to 35th place this year in the Washington Monthly National University Ranking.

First, let's go back to 2007 when Penn State finished fifth in the ranking due to the erroneously high Pell Grant percentage used by the magazine for Penn State. Here's the reaction.
"It's something that Penn Staters should be proud of," Penn State [Bullshit Artist] Geoff Rushton said. "It uses scientific criteria that measures how universities impact the nation, and Penn State has done very well. "
Geoff had to know that the Pell Grant percentage was off by just shy of a factor of two , yet he was counseling pride on the part of Penn Staters. I'll cut him some slack since empty pride is the Penn State way and even empty pride can be used to separate gullible alumni from their money.

Now, let's compare this to the reaction this year.
"I have to say that rankings as a whole are something that we don't take too seriously," [Penn State Bullshit Artist Annemarie] Mountz said. "We don't look for ways to rise in the rankings."
Not too seriously, Annemarie? Why does Penn State maintain a Web site Where We Stand:Current Rankings?  The site,which  was updated last month,  still has the 2009 Washington Monthly ranking and not the 2010 ranking. Why is that? You and Graham  have to know that the 2009 ranking, like all of that magazine rankings before this year, is based on a too high Pell Grant percentage for  Penn State. It's a lie to leave it up.

By the way, a couple of  years ago I pointed out that Penn State slams the Princeton Review rankings as not being scientific whenever its party school ranking draws unwelcome attention to the University (Rushton's quote above is a not too subtle dig at Princeton Review), yet Penn State listed other Princeton Review rankings on the site which made the University look good. Shortly thereafter, The Old Main Propaganda Shop scrubbed the Princeton Review rankings from the site. Guess what?  Princeton Review is listed again this year. I guess they figured no one was paying attention anymore....don't even begin to think about erasing anything this time, Annemarie, I've notarized the site.

The fascinating claim by Annemarie is, "We don't look for ways to rise in the rankings."  No, of course not, Annemarie.
Dickinson School of Law (DSL) is being offered a $60-plus million new home on the Penn State campus in State College if the university's board of governors agrees to forsake Carlisle.
Board approval is the only thing that stands in the way of the proposed relocation by fall 2008.
An agreement made when the law school and the state-affiliated university were merged in 1997 says the 169-year-old school will remain in the Carlisle in perpetuity unless the governors vote to go to another site.
In a 28-page memo marked "Confidential For DSL Board Members Only" in preparation for a Nov. 21-22 board meeting, law school Dean Phil McConnaughay tells the board that the university "is prepared to assume the entire cost of a new facility without any repayment" if the law school "completes the design of a new facility within the next 12 months."
The crux of the dean's argument favoring an exodus from the borough is strongly rooted in U.S. News and World Report magazine's third-tier ranking of the school and "a languishing reputation" that caused "DSL grads" in one firm to inform McConnaughay about "their law firm's decision not to hire any longer from our law school because of our low rank."
Penn State was willing to spend $60 million to boost DSL's US News and World Report ranking and ultimately it spent an unknown amount in a legal fees and a pr campaign to abrogate the original merger agreement and to win the right to build a second campus at University Park at the cost of having to renovate the Carlisle facility. That construction cost $100 million.

What's a little fiddling with the way it reports its Pell Grant percentage to boost its Washington Monthly ranking in comparison to that?