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New Director of Admissions Jones Appointed at Year End

Indranath Neogy - The Tech
Marilee Jones was named Dean of Admissions on Jan. 1.

By Susan Buchman
Staff Reporter

The beginning of the new year also marks the changing of the guard in the MITAdmissions Office. On New Years Day the office's interim director, Marilee Jones, stepped up to her new position as Director of Admissions for MIT. The search to fill the job began in late last spring when former director Michael Behnke left to become dean of admissions at the University of Chicago.

One of the first challenges Jones faced was a significant increase in the number of early action applications. The number of students applying for early action grew about 10 percent this year to 2,084.

There were 2,084 early applications, compared to 1,900 in 1997, 1,751 in 1996, 1,669 in 1995, and 1,247 in 1994. 514 were admitted early this year; 214 of those were female and 78 were traditionally underrepresented minorities.

Associate Director of Admissions Elizabeth S. Johnson says that the increase in applications is probably due to a nationwide feeling among high school students that "they need to make their choice [of a school] early or they won't get in," although she adds that this is not true of MIT. MIT does not admit any international students early action.

Veteran Jones Retains Head Job

Jones was chosen for the position because of the work she had put into improving the admissions office during her time as interim director.

"I feel confident that I can speak for the committee in saying that in Marilee Jones we have gained for MIT the best Dean of Admissions in the country," said Associate Dean of Engineering John Vander Sande who headed the search committee.

During her time at MIT, Jones has worked with transfer admissions, international admissions, and the recruitment of women. She has also been involved in the Women in Engineering Programs Administrators Network and the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors.

Her energy, knowledge, and long range goals for MIT, paired with her experience at MIT, convinced the committee that she was the best candidate for the position, Vander Sande said.

She began her career in the admissions office in 1979. Since that time, she has been witness to many changes, most notably the soaring female enrollment at the Institute.

When she arrives the student body was only 17 percent female. It has now climbed to 39 percent. The mean SAT scores in both categories of admitted students have risen, as has the percentage of freshmen who were valedictorians, hitting 42 percent for this year's freshman class.

Director faced stiff competition

A total of 64 applications were submitted for the position Vander Sande said.

The committee was looking for candidates "who had demonstrated success in undergraduate admissions, were knowledgeable of the admissions process, had strong records of managing a large office, and who were capable of conceptualizing and articulating a dynamic vision for admissions at MIT and nationally," Vander Sande said.

The committee was comprised of Vander Sande, Professor Harold Abelson PhD '73, Professor Lawrence S. Bacow SB '72, Professor Evelynn M. Hammonds SM '80, Dean of the School of Science Robert J. Birgeneau, Tony Chao '99, Michael Wong G and a three member search support team.

Jones first came to the Institute in 1978 as a graduate resident tutor. She has an SB and an SMin biology from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute.