Flutterby™! : Marilee Jones & MIT

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Marilee Jones & MIT

2007-04-30 16:12:42.007981+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

I heard about this situation from Rafe, who pointed out the irony of MIT admissions dean Marilee Jones, who's successfully served in that post for 28 years, losing her job for lying on her résumé way back then. I was going to write something about the necessity of a woman who has since proved in a big way that she's fully capable of the job needing to pad her résumé to get a job at MIT, however Columbine has said most of what I wanted to say about Marilee Jones, but phrased it better than I could.

[ related topics: Education ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2007-04-30 19:54:17.336549+00 by: ebradway

Columbine's rant focuses on "discrimination" about degrees. I find this debate funny because the only place I've ever really been told "gee, we'd love to hire you, but you don't have a degree" was a University. I also find it funny because I've since gone back and am pursuing the degree thing to the Nth degree and am now a few years away from a PhD.

My advisor is an ivory-tower academe. She's a wonderful person and is very creative. But she has a strong bias against professional experience of any kind. We got into a pretty good arguments about the software architecture behind our research project. I was planning to implement a web-based interface. She freaked out because the last project she used a "distributed architecture" with (in 1997) almost failed because they couldn't work out the bugs in the interface. She also has trouble thinking of MySQL as a way to store data. In her mind it's a relational database and everything has to be perfectly normalized, etc., etc. It can't just be a big box to throw our data into in an organized manner that's easy to get the data back out of in interesting ways. This person can probably give you a detailed academic explanation of SQL, RDBMS, etc., but has never typed the letters S-E-L-E-C-T into an SQL prompt.

I had another interesting discussion when I got a chance to see the CVs of the people the department was considering for an open GIS-oriented faculty position. Not a single minute of professional experience listed in the nine CVs. Everyone had PhDs. Everyone had multiple grants, publications, post-doc projects, etc. I asked my advisor about it and she said "Why does that surprise you?" It also made me realize, again, that I'll never get a tenure-track position in a Reseach One institution - afterall, I've actually worked on software that's resulted in real products that could be purchased at Electronic's Boutique!

I actually see it as a personal challenge to provide an education for my students that's both rooted in theory but grounded in application. Depending on the school I end up teaching at, it might be more theory or more application. I here colleagues complain about teaching at Community Colleges - but it always boils down to the fact that they have trouble teaching application. At the CC leveled, I'd pretty much teach a push-button class that, if the student was somewhat awake, might get some basic theory out of - but even if they weren't awake, they'd be able to do basic operations in GIS software.