What’s especially interesting is the flattery that Gee has boosted Vanderbilt’s “academic standing.” Just what does that mean? That students are learning more than they used to? No one knows because colleges and universities don’t do anything to assess the extent to which they add educational value. Rather, the meaning is that Gee has spent lots of money in ways to magnify the school’s inputs such as “star” faculty members — inputs that US News uses in its rankings.
It’s rather like saying a CEO had boosted his firm, not by earning higher profits, but by gilding the executive suite.