details, details, details. tsk tsk. MIT Admissions Dean Lied On RÃ©sumÃ© in 1979, Quits By KEITH J. WINSTEIN and DANIEL GOLDEN April 27, 2007 The dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was forced to resign today after the school confirmed an anonymous tip that she had lied about graduating from college herself. The dean, Marilee Jones, is prominent in higher-education circles as an author and outspoken advocate of reducing the stress of college admissions. At MIT, she redesigned the school's application to include fewer lines for extracurricular activities, saying that too many students were puffing up their credentials to fill the space. (Read MIT's and Jones's statements.) But as the university learned last week, Ms. Jones had embellished her own credentials. She attended college for one year, as a part-time student at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1974, but never received the bachelor's or master's degrees that she claimed from RPI. Nor did she receive a degree she claimed from Albany Medical College, the university found. Registrars at RPI and Albany confirmed that Ms. Jones didn't receive degrees there. "It's amazing that she only spent that much time in college. She's really smart," said Michael Behnke, the admissions dean at the University of Chicago and Ms. Jones's predecessor at MIT. "She's really been a leader in the profession. She was a leader when she worked for me. Very creative. Obviously, too creative," he said. Ms. Jones, who is 55 years old, is described as a "scientist by training" on an MIT Web site for applicants, and her nonexistent degrees are listed on her publisher's site. In a statement released by the university, Ms. Jones said she first fudged her rÃ©sumÃ© in 1979 when she was hired in a junior position in the MIT admissions office. When she was promoted to the deanship in 1997, she "did not have the courage to correct my rÃ©sumÃ©," she wrote. Ms. Jones didn't respond to messages left on her home and cell phones. "This is a very sad situation, both for the institute and for Marilee," MIT Chancellor Phillip Clay said in an interview. "We take integrity very seriously, and it was on that basis that as soon as we determined that these facts were not true we dismissed her even though she has done a great job." QUESTION OF THE DAY â¢ Have you ever misstated anything on your resume? RELATED STORY â¢ No Easy Solution for Lies on a RÃ©sumÃ© MIT officials said that Daniel Hastings, dean for undergraduate education and Ms. Jones's boss, received the anonymous tip about her rÃ©sumÃ© last week, setting off an internal investigation. School officials aren't saying whether they have since learned the source's identity. Ms. Jones's sudden resignation comes at an inopportune time for MIT because Tuesday is the deadline for students admitted for this fall's freshman class to decide where to enroll. It's also another blow to the image of higher education, which is suffering a crisis of trust in its financial-aid offices amid state and federal investigations. Recently, financial-aid directors at elite schools, including Columbia University and Johns Hopkins, have been placed on leave because of revelations that they accepted payments from a lender they recommended to their students. At many colleges -- though not MIT -- admissions deans also oversee financial aid. "It certainly has been a bad year for higher education," Mr. Behnke said. "Obviously our profession is built on trust. It's an inexcusable thing." Bruce Poch, the dean of admissions at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., said the financial-aid scandals and revelations about Ms. Jones's falsified degrees will likely prompt MIT and other universities to check rÃ©sumÃ©s more closely. Such scrutiny can be "fairly casual" in academia, he said, particularly in lower-level jobs such as the one in which Ms. Jones began her MIT career. Ms. Jones was a dominant presence at MIT. She sometimes signed letters to incoming students as "your mom away from mom." After joining the admissions office in 1979, she focused on increasing female enrollment at the historically male-dominated engineering school. As at other top colleges, the number of women at the school has surged, from 17% of undergraduates in 1979 to 45% this year. In 1997, Ms. Jones was promoted to dean of admissions and launched a national career as a spokeswoman for easing the stress of college admission. With a Philadelphia pediatrician, she is the co-author of a 2006 book, "Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions and Beyond." In a statement, the book's publisher, the American Academy of Pediatrics, said it "continues to stand behind the information and positive messages presented in the book." Ms. Jones also served on numerous higher-education boards, including a regional council of the College Board and the National Association for College Admission Counseling's commission on standardized testing. Mr. Poch said Ms. Jones was "one of the people who was trying to bring sanity back to the whole admissions world. She's spoken persuasively and thoughtfully both to parents and admissions deans about restoring the humanity to this process and taking some pressure off kids. She'd been unbelievably well received." Reflecting Ms. Jones's prominence, MIT was scheduled to co-host an institute in June to train college admissions staff from around the country to serve as the next generation of deans and leaders in the field. Lloyd Thacker, director of the nonprofit Education Conservancy, the other host of the event, said he isn't sure whether it will go on as planned. Ms. Jones is the latest of several leaders in academia and business who have been caught embellishing their credentials. In 2001, for example, Mount Holyoke College suspended Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis for a year without pay for falsely telling students that he had fought in the Vietnam War. Last year, David Edmondson resigned as chief executive of RadioShack after it was disclosed that he had lied about having a college degree. In 2000, Jeffrey Papows quit as president of IBM's Lotus unit after discrepancies emerged regarding his military and educational record. And last month, motivational speaker Denis Waitley was forced off the board of Usana Health Sciences after a private investigator discovered that he hadn't received a degree he had claimed. In her statement, Ms. Jones apologized, saying she was "deeply sorry for this and for disappointing so many in the MIT community and beyond who supported me, believed in me, and who have given me extraordinary opportunities." The university said that it will begin a search for Ms. Jones's successor and has appointed an interim dean, Stuart Schmill. MIT said that its "process of admitting the incoming class continues without disruption." In a recent interview for a Wall Street Journal article on colleges checking applicants' credentials, Ms. Jones bemoaned what she described as frequent exaggeration of credentials by applicants. "The way the whole college application system is set up now, it really does encourage cheating and lying," she said. -- John Hechinger and Jon Weinbach contributed to this article. Write to Keith J. Winstein at firstname.lastname@example.org and Daniel Golden at email@example.com Maybe a future with one of the big Investment Banks. 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