February 1, 2012
Iona College is referenced in national media pieces covering the revelation that another college overstated SAT data. Iona recognizes that comparisons to our situation will be attempted and we felt it important to provide a clarifying statement and summary.
Once we learned of the reported data discrepancies in August of 2011, we immediately verified the inaccuracies, notified relevant agencies of the issue, communicated regularly and openly with internal and external stakeholders, and launched an extensive investigation and independent audit. The results of the audit were publicly shared in town hall meetings, written communications to faculty, students, parents, and alumni, and on our college website.
While it is important to note that our status is still under review with many external reporting agencies, we remain fully engaged in productive dialogue with many of these organizations and continue to cooperate with their examination of the matter.
The Iona College community has learned valuable, yet humbling, lessons.Those lessons, described below, will help us go forward with a renewed commitment to the values of the College, particularly to be ethical problem solvers dedicated to leadership, service to others and civic responsibility:
Extensive self-disclosure and transparency with internal and external bodies is critical in keeping stakeholders vested in necessary corrections,
Full cooperation and communication with external agencies is vital for informed and effective correction,
The creation of an internal Integrity In Reporting Committee representative of all the college’s key constituencies provides a process to manage and oversee needed policy changes and communications, and
Establishment of a formal office of institutional research and effectiveness is vital to ensure data are collected and reported in a manner consistent with best practices.
We have been encouraged in this process by the United States Department of Education, which has endorsed our efforts as “thorough,” “diligent” and “exemplary”.
We understand our process is evolving and, consequently, the College continues to work hard in advancing the success of our students and alumni and to implement all initiatives necessary to ensure the highest levels of integrity consistent with our mission and values as an institution of higher learning. As Iona President Nyre reminds us, the measure of our character is not that we have problems, but in how we respond to challenges.
Brian Nickerson, PhD
Chair, Integrity in Reporting Committee