Great moments in Higher Education

And in what may be the most satisfying irony to come our way in many years, the Dean of Admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology– the very person responsible for assessing academic credentials and, in fact, the author of a book of advice for college-bound students–confessed in 2007 that each of her advanced degrees was strictly imaginary.

19 comments on “Great moments in Higher Education

  1. I think that was probably a good thing. Getting into American universities is mostly self-promotion and so lends itself to the most blatant out right fraud.

    Takes one to spot one.

  2. I can’t remember anyone in Britain asking to see evidence that I have the degrees I claim. Foreign immigration services have, and have then complained that two of the certificates are in Latin. But they’ve been perfectly happy with the translations effected by …. me. Very droll.

  3. It amazes me that more people don’t do it.

    OK, if you do medicine or engineering, you’re going to get caught out, but I’ve met self-taught programmers that can outperform those with degrees in Comp Sci (because there isn’t actually that much programming in some degrees). And it’s not like your degree in Miley Cyrus Studies from the University of Tipton is ever going to be put to the test.

  4. The Stigler – “And it’s not like your degree in Miley Cyrus Studies from the University of Tipton is ever going to be put to the test.”

    What if you get a job with a demolition company?

  5. You are unlikely to get caught quickly in medicine. At least two fakes have been Doctors for 20+ years before being found out.

  6. It amazes me that more people don’t do it.

    Indeed. I’ve argued at work before that if you can’t tell if a colleague you are working along side has a qualification, the qualification is self evidently meaningless.

  7. I’ve always been asked to see my degree certificates. I cannot understand why a prestigious place like MIT didn’t follow up on her academic credentials. Surely she would have been asked to provide academic referees for an academic post?

  8. “… for an academic post”: but did she have an academic post? It sounds more like a pen-pusher’s post.

  9. Surely academic referees (if such were requested or needed for Dean of Admissions) would concentrate on her research and publishing history rather than on some, by then probably elderly, parchments?

    This is probably true of anything beyond the immediate post-doc slit and for prestigious organisations, even then.

  10. My degree in Miley Cyrus Studies from Tipton U is my proudest life achievement. It came into my life like a wrecking ball.

  11. “Was she any good, though?”

    I meant the Dean of Admissions, not Miley Cyrus.

    How could you tell?

  12. I think that claiming invented qualifications is utterly despicable!

    J Arthur Pogo, DPhil, MSc, MA, LLB, MBA, MD, BCh, FRS, FCA, TTFN.

  13. I’ve had employers who have asked to see my certificates and transcripts. I’ve had employers who have actually checked with the universities, too. And I have had employers who have not checked anything. I can see how people can get away with lying, but you are taking a big risk by lying about it.

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