Following a probe into falsified claims about a doctoral degree, Penn has placed Vice Dean of the Graduate School of Education Doug Lynch on administrative leave, the University announced late Wednesday.
On his resumé, Lynch claims that he received a doctor of philosophy, economics and education from Columbia University in 2007. However, The Daily Pennsylvanian confirmed with the University Registrar’s Office at Columbia Thursday that Lynch is still currently enrolled in the doctoral program at Columbia, having received an extension until the end of the spring 2012 semester to complete his studies.
Additionally, despite Lynch’s claims that he received a master’s degree from Columbia in 2005, the school’s Registrar’s Office confirmed that he did not receive a master’s there until 2010.
“Doug Lynch has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation,” Vice President for University Communications Stephen MacCarthy said in a one-line statement Wednesday.
Penn became aware of Lynch’s misrepresentation a few months ago, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which first broke the news of Lynch’s degree. Rather than remove Lynch from his current role, however, the University decided to take unspecified “appropriate sanctions.”
Lynch declined to comment when contacted by the Inquirer.
GSE spokesperson Kat Stein said that Lynch had “mistakenly believed that [his degree] was complete.”
In her conversation with the Inquirer earlier in the day Wednesday, though, Stein made no reference to the fact that Lynch was being put on leave.
“We feel this has been resolved to our satisfaction,” she said at the time.
Afterwards, however, MacCarthy confirmed with the newspaper the University’s decision. He said in his statement that he “would not expect the investigation to require a great deal of time.”
Regardless of the investigation’s findings, Lynch’s lack of a doctoral degree may have far-reaching consequences for GSE and the University as a whole.
The Inquirer quoted an anonymous University staff member as saying that “many are shocked that the Provost and others have not demanded he be fired.” Others have expressed concern that Lynch has served on dissertation committees, which are usually made up solely of those who have already received doctoral degrees.
At Penn, Lynch has been closely involved with doctoral students, having created the first joint doctoral program in work-based learning with the Wharton School.
He also works closely with doctoral students in his role on the steering committee for GSE’s Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.
While the current version of Lynch’s personal web page makes no reference to any doctoral degrees from Columbia, there are several other Penn websites — for example, Lynch’s biography on the Fels Institute of Government’s page, where he serves as a senior fellow — that, as of press time, say he has received his Ph.D. and refer to him as “Dr.”
“There are often inaccuracies on the website in a number of different areas and we work as hard as we can to rectify them when we find them,” Stein told the Inquirer.
Prior to coming to Penn, Lynch — who has stirred up controversy through his support of entrepreneurial education and his staunch endorsement of programs like Teach for America — worked for New York University and the College Board, among other places.
He also currently serves on a large number of high-profile University committees, including the Wharton Social Impact Advisory Board and the Penn Medicine Global Health Advisory Board, among others.Comments powered by Disqus
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