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Old 10-21-2009, 05:54 PM   #60
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: "Discrimination".

Keith Larman wrote: View Post
But it just isn't that simple, Mike. Universities look at a whole range of things and each one carries some degree of weight. I understand what you're saying about "secret" criterion and things like that, but my experience was there simply weren't 'secret' criterion.
Actually, you may need to research a lot of articles, some of which have made the news, Keith. There are certainly secret criteria and some have been challenged in court because they attempt to circumvent federal law.
Universities do have to consider all sorts of other things, many of which are at best nebulous attributes. Leadership qualities. Positive attitude. Etc. And the biases of the selection committee will *necessarily* be involved here.
Nebulous but subject criteria? Ones that are not legally mandated, for instance? Can you give an example? As I said, you may be behind the curve on this one. There are more recent decisions than what you mentioned.
Mike, I consider you a great guy, we've met, and I'm sure we agree on a ton of things. I respect your opinions as well even if I may not agree with all of them just like any two people normally will. I'm sure we could have beers and be great friends. But if we sat down in a room with 20 diverse people but had to select only 3 we would disagree on at least one selection. Maybe I don't want that one Asian guy with the super high scores (I'll be the bad guy this time -- ) because I found his writing sample trite. Maybe I felt his interview showed a "book smart" kid with attitude but no real creative spark or spirit. You, however, maybe see that with his super high scores he would be perfect for that last spot in the Engineering School. So we disagree. Honestly, of the 20 people we are choosing from *all* of them are qualified. All of them. They couldn't have gotten that far if they weren't. What's left is the selection committee's views on society, culture, the role of education, and maybe even ideas as to likelihood of success due to different predictive factors of personality. We can and will disagree. We will all disagree. But that *is* what these decisions end up riding on.
Ummmmm.... I'd prefer that arguments not introduce the "you" and "we" aspect, Keith, although I see that you didn't let it get out of hand. Ultimately, think of it as hiring someone who can take money from a customer and return change... no matter what the personality, many businesses can devolve to such a simple description. If, ultimately, you want a successful business, you need to hire the guy who can take the money and return the correct change. All the stuff about the personality is fine, but it's secondary. If the world's best money-taker is not the goal, but the guy who can take some money but makes mistakes with the change is hired, ultimately the business can fail. Essentially, the argument you're making is that it's OK for the business to fail as long as subjective (but undefined) criteria are met. Read the original article and tell me what the undefined criteria art. Oh... you can't? Again I ask... doesn't it bother you that you don't know what the undefined criteria are before you begin defending them????
One experience I had....[snip]
OK, but I don't want the discussion to hinge upon your personal anecdotes, Keith... even as much as I like you.


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