“He said he had been radicalized by the experience of being chair of the math department”


Violating my resolution to never click through to NYT higher education coverage, I went and read a report on the scandal over Columbia’s US News rankings. That rankings are “reactive” is not exactly breaking news (see Espeland and Sauder and Fourcade), but the article is worth it for two reasons. The first is the line in my title, which describes Michael Thaddeus, the Columbia math professor whose analysis is the basis for the story. The second reason is the link to the analysis itself, a highly entertaining exercise in checking Columbia management’s dodgy data. I recommend the analysis as an education in the value of looking things up in IPEDS, the Common Data Set, audited financial statements, and other public data sources. And as a reminder that there are many paths to radicalism, including those that go via algebraic geometry.