Dear Rossier Community,
I am writing to provide an update regarding the Rossier School’s withdrawal from this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s graduate school rankings. As you know, we engaged an outside law firm, Jones Day, to conduct an independent review. Their work is complete, and as President Folt and I pledged last month, we have made their full report available at change.usc.edu.
As many have pointed out, no external ranking can fully and accurately capture the unique strengths, breadth and impact of a school’s academic programs, student outcomes, research, and community service. Because there is no one objective way to measure quality, many surveys rely on anonymous peer assessments and opaque “one-size-fits-all” methodologies, which do not account for legitimate differences between schools, and shift over time. Indeed, the various rankings out there – which invariably arrive at very different results – may say more about the ranking organization than the schools being ranked.
Nevertheless, when a university or individual school chooses to participate in a rankings survey, it is imperative to abide by all of the survey’s definitions and rules. President Folt and I have discussed this matter at length with Dean Noguera. We were grateful when he raised this issue to us at the end of last year, so that we could all act quickly to withdraw from this year’s graduate education school rankings, notify our accreditors, conduct a thorough review of the matter, and now share the results, consistent with President Folt’s commitment to openness.
Although the misreporting began in 2013 or earlier, well before his arrival at USC, Dean Noguera has embraced his leadership accountability in this matter, and will be writing to you separately. Since joining USC in July 2020, in the midst of the pandemic lockdown, Dean Noguera has accomplished a great deal, and he enjoys widespread support from Rossier faculty and staff. President Folt and I have confidence that he will move the school forward with integrity and vision.
We appreciate the time and effort of the many individuals who participated in the Jones Day review. Dean Noguera and I will work to implement new oversight functions to ensure that the school always meets the highest standards of excellence and integrity.
The Rossier School is known for its spirit of continuous education, innovation and improvement. Its mission of educating tomorrow’s teachers and leaders has never been more important, and our faith in your success is unwavering.
Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs