Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dean of M.I.T. resigning because of false credentials

A rather noteworthy story of false credentials.

Dean at M.I.T. Resigns, Ending a 28-Year Lie

Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became well known for urging stressed-out students competing for elite colleges to calm down and stop trying to be perfect. Yesterday she admitted that she had fabricated her own educational credentials, and resigned after nearly three decades at M.I.T. Officials of the institute said she did not have even an undergraduate degree.

“I misrepresented my academic degrees when I first applied to M.I.T. 28 years ago and did not have the courage to correct my résumé when I applied for my current job or at any time since,” Ms. Jones said in a statement posted on the institute’s Web site. “I am deeply sorry for this and for disappointing so many in the M.I.T. community and beyond who supported me, believed in me, and who have given me extraordinary opportunities.”

Ms. Jones said that she would not make any other public comment “at this personally difficult time” and that she hoped her privacy would be respected.

Ms. Jones, 55, originally from Albany, had on various occasions represented herself as having degrees from three upstate New York institutions: Albany Medical College, Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In fact, she had no degrees from any of those places, or anywhere else, M.I.T. officials said.

First of all, it's of course completely unacceptable for anyone to present false credentials, especially in an educational settings, where there is so much focus on plagiarism and cheating among students.

Having said that, by all accounts it seems that Ms. Jones did a splendid job in her position, and it's tragic that she had to lie to get her job. I can't say that I can think of any sollutions to the problem of getting such well-qualified people into the right jobs, without requiring a certain level of education.
Not that this necessarily would have helped in this case - she did lie about her level of education when applying for her first job, which apparently didn't require any college level education.

And the prize for most irony, goes to this part of her book (quoted in the article)

“Holding integrity is sometimes very hard to do because the temptation may be to cheat or cut corners,” it says. “But just remember that ‘what goes around comes around,’ meaning that life has a funny way of giving back what you put out.”


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