Ronald C. Anderson, who stepped in to lead Temple University’s Fox School of Business after a rankings scandal unfolded in 2018, will step down next June, the university announced Tuesday.
Anderson, who had been a professor and chair of the finance department, was appointed interim dean in July 2018 after the firing of then-dean Moshe Porat, who was subsequently sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for his role in submitting incorrect information to US News and World Report. Anderson, who also heads the school of sport, tourism, and hospitality, got the permanent post in 2019.
“The school was in need of a calm, steadying voice to lead it forward,” Provost Gregory Mandel said in an email to the campus community. “Ron was able to provide all of that and more. Over the past four years, he has helped guide the school through unprecedented challenges and uncertainty and worked to regain the trust of peers and rebuild the school’s reputation. “
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The school is planning a national search for a new dean, Mandel said.
Reached by phone shortly after the announcement, Anderson, 63, said he had told faculty and staff at the beginning that he only intended to serve one term, and it had been quite a challenging one. First the school had to recover from the scandal, and then it, like the rest of higher education, was upended by the pandemic.
Temple is facing a 1,500-student drop in undergraduates this fall, and Fox will see its share of that, Anderson said.
“The timing is right,” he said. “Fox is past the worst of the rankings issue. I’m pretty good at crisis management. I think it’s time to bring in a fresh voice and at least a partially new vision for the school. “
Anderson, who came to Fox in 2012, previously worked for more than a decade at American University and before that, in business. An expert in internal control systems, corporate governance and executive compensation, he will remain a professor after his term concludes.
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He began the job when the school – which enrolls about 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students and employs about 500 faculty and staff – was awash in controversy. Its online MBA program had ranked No. 1 for four consecutive years in US News and World Report before the school reported it had been submitting inaccurate information and a subsequent investigation found the school was doing so “knowingly.”
Government and criminal investigations ensued, costing Temple millions in legal settlements with state and federal investigators and former students who sued, saying their degrees had been devalued.
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Under Anderson, Fox overhauled how it collects and submits rankings data, with reviewers inside and outside of Fox checking its accuracy. The school de-emphasized rankings during his tenure, and during an interview last December after Porat was convicted by a jury, Anderson told The Inquirer that the school’s focus is on the students and educational innovation, research, and an inclusive culture.
“Rankings are nice and it’s great to be ranked well, but it’s not the goal,” Anderson said at the time. “It should be a byproduct.”
He also led the school through its reaccreditation process and oversaw the school’s launching of an MBA-level course in virtual reality and the opening of the Center for Ethics, Diversity and Workplace Culture. He said he’s also proud to have restored a strong sense of faculty governance to the school.