The Disappearing Degree (K-12/ Higher Ed)

The Disappearing Degree

As head of a foundation that funds arts programs in a southern city, Connie helps initiate a program to bring artists-in-residence into the middle schools. Her seven-member committee has received numerous applications, including one from Hamilton Craft, perhaps the best-known painter in the region. His national reputation and amiable personality make him a natural for Connie’s program—and he lets it be known around the city that he was applying. Reviewing the applications, Connie has little doubt he would be selected.

On the resume submitted with his application, Craft has listed a Ph.D. in art history, received from an east coast university in the late 1960s.  Connie’s assistant, doing routine background checks on the artists, is astonished to discover that the university has no record of such a degree. Craft had indeed enrolled in a doctoral program, but never completed it. He does not hold a Ph.D., his resume plainly misstates the facts.

Connie tells the committee and then confronts Craft. Cordial as ever, he explains that just as he was completing the work for his doctorate, he had been drafted into the army. What he had meant to write on the resume, he explains, is, “Course work completed for Ph.D.”—a phrase often used in resumes to indicate that the candidate never completed the writing of the dissertation. But somehow that phrase got shortened simply to “Ph.D.”

Then, turning surprisingly tough, Craft warns her that if the committee refuses him on this technicality—an issue that surely had little bearing on his ability to work with a classroom of middle schoolers—he would sue them for mishandling his application and potentially defaming his character.

Chairing the committee, Connie watches it deadlock in a three-to-three vote. It falls to her to break the tie. What should she do?

81 Comments

81 thoughts on “The Disappearing Degree (K-12/ Higher Ed)

  1. Connie should table the vote and gather additional information. She should do this for three reasons. First, unless the job description specifically requires a Ph.D., Craft is qualified for the position based on his other education, experience, and regional renown. Second, his omission is more than a technicality; it speaks to his integrity, despite his reputation and plausible explanation. Third, greater harm could come to the foundation and subsequent middle schools, if this matter is not handled effectively.
    Craft applied for a job teaching in a middle school. Typical requirements for such positions do not require a Ph.D. Despite the circumstances of his omission, his other education, which may include bachelor’s and master’s degrees, should provide sufficient education to qualify him this position. His experience in painting is known throughout the region. This local acclaim could reflect positively on the foundation and the middle schools.
    The issue at hand is not whether Craft is qualified for the position; but more an issue of whether he has integrity. With that in mind, Connie needs to gather more information before voting. This dilemma does not state whether reference checks were conducted in combination with the background checks. Employers, oftentimes, conduct reference checks to verify information about an applicant’s work history, trustworthiness, and rehire status. Connie can conduct reference checks on the final applicants, including Craft. In doing so, the actions of committee and Connie are fair, consistent with common hiring practices, and respects the rights of the applicants.
    The committee and Connie have a deontological responsibility to hire the best person for the job. The hiring process must be ethical, reasonable, and legal. Any impropriety or mishandling of this process can reflect poorly on the foundation, applicants, and the community. Craft stated that he would sue if his application was mishandled or if he was not selected based on his omission. His unveiled threat should force the committee or Connie to make a hasty decision, which could have future ramifications for all stakeholders. Again, conducting the reference check provides a fair method for gathering information from all applicants. Due diligence should be exercised in the process. The questions asked should be legal, and asked of all references for the final applicants. Preferably, a neutral third party should conduct the reference checks and document the conversations, well. The information from the reference checks will facilitate the committee and Connie making an informed decision. More importantly, the documentation will provide support for their decision and allay any fallout should Craft not get selected.
    In summary, Connie should not vote for any applicant without gather further information. She will need to check the applicant references, verify the educational requirements for the position, and not feel pressured to select Craft based on his threat.

    • Well said Tammara. I think you are absolutely right that Connie should gather more information about the job requirement and should not make hasty decision based on Craft’s threat to sue. However, I’m very disturbed by Craft’s threat. From what I read he appeared to be a person who full of himself. Will he be a team player once he’s hired? Can he work well with others? Will he treat to sue again if things don’t go his way in the future? I think the first thing Connie and other committee members should ask Craft to resubmit a revised correct resume. His application has not “mishandled” as he claimed. Either intentionally or not there’s an error made by him not by the committee. I don’t think he has any base to sue there is clearly a mistake and a misrepresentation in his resume. I think his action is disturbing and raise a big red flag for me

  2. It is admirable that Connie actually initiated a program to work within the school system instead of establishing something else to clog up an already overloaded educational system. Ideally, a quality that I like to see in an employee is discretion. Obviously, Craft doesn’t have any discretion but he could have just been excited about the initiative as he applied for the position and told the world about it. I believe that it shows poor character to try force himself into a position after misrepresenting himself. However, I believe his critical error was threatening the school system, Connie, her staff and the committee, after the misrepresentation of his truly having a Ph.D. degree. If Connie succumbs to his week attempt at threatening her, she will lose all control over her program, the staff and the school itself. What type of school or school program will be in place if people get what they want by acting and/or conducting themselves in an immoral fashion. This is what Craft is doing. I believe that she should vote to not hire Mr. Craft. When asked by anyone…. her response should be that “we do not discuss personnel or hiring decisions except to the people directly involved in them.” Mr. Craft will not have leg to stand on and if he pursues it legally, his “mistake” would then become public record. (Eugene Christmas)

    • Eugene, you make an interesting point about the threatening to the sue the school. But at the same time, Connie has to consider the consequences of her actions. Her import of her decision is far reaching. It is more than just a hiring decision. It has the potential to have legal consequences, as well as, impact her stakeholder base. A law suit founded or unfounded is costly to defend. In the process, the lawsuit could disenchant the middle schools and future donors. Additionally, she has a legal requirement to treat all applicants equally. Tabling her decision until more information is collected provides her out, as well as, give her ammunition for defending her stance in a legal battle.

    • Hi Eugene,
      I agree with your thought process to be taken by Connie. Oftentimes, people with fame and a good reputation does always get what they want, howver, I do believe that because we are role models for our students, the best candidate should be one who is honest and plays by the rules. Threatening to get what one wants is a bad sign for both Mr. Craft as a teacher and th school. Well said.

  3. Without even pausing for consideration, the answer is “No”. I would vote no for the following reasons.
    1) As a grant writer and part of the Grant Professional Association, there is a code of ethnics that must be followed, which includes “integrity, honesty, and truthfulness”. Go to http://grantprofessionals.org/about/ethics to see list of ethics. He violated these when he left off information I believe intentionally. I believe this due to his response. His intentions seemed very apparent when he used underlining threatening language with the following statement, “He would sue them for mishandling his application and potentially defaming his character.”
    2) Okay, now to the “sue them for mishandling his application”, I admit I rolled my eyes when I read this. You can appeal a grant application process but “sue”…please! There is a process for an appeal but suing is not a common practice over a grant application.
    3) Finally, his response was a form of bullying and in my mind these types of partners must be avoided. Intimidation is not acceptable in partnerships. The grant application process is the easy phase, it gets much more intense during the grant implementation phase. The fact that he can’t play nice now, speaks volumes on his ability to be a good partner.

    • I very much agree with Sarah’s position on #1. He absolutely violated ethical standards and committed academic dishonesty when he stated on his resume that he had a Ph.D. and failed to include any reference to him being “ABD” or not having completed all of the requirements for his degree. The act was intentional and highly unethical.

      With regards to #2, I disagree. In our litigious society, an individual can sue another individual for almost any reason. As long as they have legal standing to do so (which he appears to have), an individual can sue, That does not mean that he/she would win, but it does mean that they have the ability to bring the suit forward — however frivolous it is. That being said, I do not think that he would win…and I also do not think that it should in any way deter the right decision, which in this case would be not awarding him the opportunity.

      I also agree with Sarah’s position #3 with regards to bullying and intimidation. It is clear that not only is he willing to engage in this behavior, but he is comfortable with it. We need exceptional role models in our schools, and this behavior proves that he is not that role model. This should be used as grounds for voting no on its own right.

      • Ressel I completely agree with you. I cannot say it better. I think Craft has been dishonest in his resume and he tried to bully his way in. As I said in my prior commend to Tammara. His statement raise a big red flag for me. I would not feel comfortable working with such a person.

  4. Sarah:
    My initial reaction to the situation was to vote No for the same reasons you mentioned. But in circumspect, I do not like to feel pressured to make decisions. Oftentimes, people feel compelled to make a decision on the spot. However, sometimes it is better to wait and think about the situation before making a hasty decision on limited information. This situation is presented as an ethical dilemma. Underlying any ethical dilemma are issues of morality and legality. Connie has a moral obligation to do what is best for the foundation, the middle schools, and the stakeholders. Not hiring Craft may or may not be the best thing.

    Additionally, The idle threat expressed by Craft may be the tip of an iceberg. But, the real issue at hand is not whether Craft is qualified for the position; but more an issue of whether he has integrity, which you point out, as well.. With that in mind, Connie needs to gather more information before voting. This dilemma does not state whether reference checks were conducted in combination with the background checks. Employers, oftentimes, conduct reference checks to verify information about an applicant’s work history, trustworthiness, and rehire status. Connie can conduct reference checks on the final applicants, including Craft. In doing so, the actions of committee and Connie are fair, consistent with common hiring practices, and respects the rights of the applicants. More importantly, she will address any legal concerns in the process.

    • Good points Tammara,

      I initially read the post that this was a grant funded program reviewing applications to distribute funding. If it is a hiring process, then there are protocols that need to be followed. So I amended my response based on the perspective of selection during the hiring process. (See response below). I was reading it from the grant writer point of view. Thanks for your comments, it helped me see if from another perspective.
      Sarah

  5. Paternalism and Popularity

    From an ethics stand point the hiring of faculty person should not be a public decision. Vetting a candidate even if it is a candidate that has a strong public presence is the job of the hiring committee. In this instance because of the divided vote this decision falls to one person. However, the pressure of public opinion should not factor into Connie’s final decision. Hiring committees exist to avoid paternalism in education: to review the candidate as both a good fit and qualified candidate. The details provided in this scenario indicate that Hamilton Craft is well known in the community but many not meet the threshold of a good fit or a qualified candidate.

    Qualified

    As Sarah discussed in her post a foundation parameters can require a leader with a certain level of education (such as completed PhD) as a funding requisite. The argument made by Hamilton is that he is qualified to “work with middle school students.” The discussed goal of the program is introducing art to middle school students but that does not mean that assessment, evaluation and research will not be another element of the job. A PhD is important to ensure that the artist can fulfill all the needs of the foundation. Although educational level is a reasonable reason to deny this person the job, the decision justification does not need to be shared publicly.

    Intimidation

    Choosing to confer with Hamilton about his resumes misinformation was the right thing to do. The artist’s response to Connie’s reasonable inquiry to me is a strong reason to shred his application and not even consider him as a potential employee. It is not a ”defamation of character” to not hire someone for a job. If I were in the position of the chairperson the intended intimidation by this candidate would be a good reason to deny him the job. If a local male artist gave me an ultimatum when I confronted them with fraudulent claims this would be a clear sign of poor character and someone I could not have a professional relationship with.

    • Chris,
      Yes, I totally agree. The strong language used such as “suing and defamation of character” sent up major red flags for me. No matter if he is in the right, he signaled to me that he doesn’t understand the concept of building partnerships and trust. If I was in his shoes and it was a honest mistake, I would have begged forgiveness and asked if I could amend my application. A natural response to a mistake like that is being embarrassed not being aggressive.

      • “Red flags” — I strongly agree with this assessment. 3 scenarios: 1) A reasonable person who had made such a mistake would be horrified and apologetic. Although he would be disappointed and very angry with himself, he would understand if the committee chose not to hire him. He would consider it an unfortunate life lesson. He would not want the situation to go public, and would certainly not be the person to make it public (through an ongoing conflict or a lawsuit). 2) From what I have seen in similar situations, most people caught in a lie will call it a “mistake” and apologize as if it is one–behaving similarly to the authentically sorry person in the first scenario. The difference is that the person in scenario 2 isn’t sorry he falsified his application…he’s sorry he got caught. This is a very common scenario, sadly. 3) Craft is a different type of person. He has been caught in a significant lie, and instead of being (or at least appearing) apologetic, he rationalizes and deflects blame. He turns the situation around so that he is the victim and Connie is the bad guy. He threatens to sue a charitable organization that serves children; just responding to this lawsuit could be financially devastating for the foundation. When I really think about how far outside of the usual responses (such as scenarios 1 & 2) this applicant is, I would strongly recommend against hiring him. Don’t invite the drama into your organization.

      • I feel that the real issue is less around Craft and his “mistake” and more around Connie and her mishandling of hiring protocols as an administrator. She should have never brought this up with Craft in the first place as this is a highly questionable practice to discuss any part of the hiring process or information from the hiring process including paperwork outside of the hiring committee. Technically she has jeopardized the entire hiring process here and should not only remove herself from the committee, but should reopen the job.

    • I agree 100% about the intimidation. This makes me question his larger intent. Several postings above, there was mention made that given the sate of art in the school system, he should have been altruistic and genuinely pleased to be selected or even considered. He should less selfish and less self motivated HOWEVER, in today’s society, far too many are about self promotion and self interest. It is sad. I wouldn’t cave to his demands. A bully is a bully and it is clear that he has been allowed by others to continue this behavior.

      • Dana, you make a good point. It does seem like Craft is more interested in self-promotion. His reaction and threats to sue also reveal his notions of self-importance. He is obviously used to being admired and getting his way. Also, because he was caught in being dishonest on his resume, he resorted to intimidation by threatening to sue. His character leaves much to be desired.

        Considering his renown as an artist, he more than qualifies for the position, but because he submitted dishonest information on his resume and then threatens to sue the board, these actions should disqualify him as a candidate. In a society where lack of morality and ethics is an ever-growing concern, school districts are implementing programs like “Six Pillars of Character” and “PBIS” to address this issue. In hiring Craft and giving in to his demands, what message would the board and Connie be sending to students and the community?

  6. Clarification…..

    When I read this post, I understood it to be a grant funded program distributing funds. This program reminds me of the Arts in Residence Program where applications are submitted for review. From this perspective, my vote is still a strong “No”. His grant application is denied due to technical reasons. Period, no exceptions. Grant applications have been denied for lesser things.

    However….my answer will slightly change if this is a hiring process. I see people are answering it from that perspective. So humor me as I slightly amend my response…

    If this is hiring process for a faculty position, then I would contact my HR department to follow their recommendations. I would consult with the HR department to follow hiring procedure guidelines and protocols. Based on his threatening response, I would not like him representing the organization in the community and so my vote would still be “No”.

    • That’s a good point, Sarah. I also looked at this from the position of a grantor providing a grant. The hiring process is much more legally complicated, and as such seeking advice of both HR professionals and legal counsel is a wise move. The result would likely be the same, but the method and what is communicated might be different.

  7. Sarah,

    Even though you recanted some of your initial post, I think some of your initial statements are still true. This is a foundation job and hiring for a foundation job can be different than a teacher. In any event there is a educational threshold it can’t be ignored.

    I think we are on the same page about even reading about threatening a potential colleague.

    I am a contingent faculty member and I get a lot of calls from my peers if they are not rehired. At the CSU level if the school can demonstrate a candidate was given “careful consideration” than they can be let go or not renewed. It is not defamation to choose not to hire those people. It is not grounds for a lawsuit unless someone was not given consideration. Even after he was proven to not have a doctorate Hamilton still was reviewed by the committee which means he was given careful consideration.

    One instance of how someone “might sue” is discussed by Eugene. However, in the case of a smaller grant.foundation hiring there might not be an Human Resources department to contact. it would be up to the hiring committee. Even though we might need more information to make sure all contract laws are carefully considered the ethics issue of this applicant is a bully.

  8. I agree that we are all on a similar tone or strand. Legally, he does not have a leg to stand on. Having worked in human resources in a prior position and dealt with similar situations, the only recourse that he has would be to appeal to the committee for reconsideration. Defamation, in terms of a lawsuit basically means that someone intentionally misrepresented information to others that ultimately caused a loss of income or potential income. The fact that he did not finish his Ph.D. program is the truth and factual, thus it does not meet the standard of defamation. However, the application process has the potential to create legal problems if the reason for not hiring him was given to the public and then, if that happened, he would have a case to pursue. Thus it does create a political pickle for Connie. However, integrity and fidelity, as Sarah mentioned, has to be paramount and at the forefront of the hiring process in my opinion. You can never higher people that bully or threaten you and think that you will have a collaborative environment. I think not hiring is the correct decision.

    • I agree with your position and appreciate the legal definition of “defamation of character ” which clearly states that someone intentionally misrepresented information to others…” In this scenario, Craft simply got caught and should have apologizing for the oversight/mistake. In the end, he turned out to be a big bully and not trustworthy at all. Integrity is one of the most important values/virtues that defines one’s character and others will judge you accordingly. I would vote “no,” but work closely with the district HR personnel to make sure that all procedures were taken to ensure that everyone had an fair and opportunity to be reviewed by the full committee members. Finally, I think it would be very challenging to have someone in your organization that others may be questioning “why did we hire this person, knowing that he /she lied about their credentials.

      • This is a big issue and a hard one to really think about but I do agree with the fact Craft got caught in not telling the whole truth. He should have changed his resume before turned it in for the job. Yes the committee needed to talk about this situation, continue with the interview and then made a chose among themselves of what to do. I feel that Connie should not have confronted Craft the way she did because now he will know why they did not hire him, but on the other hand it gave her a clear picture of a possible bully and do not want that. This was a hard one because now a days people are always talking about law suits.

  9. As I read the initial prompt, I had many of the same impressions as most of you listed. However, I have been in this type of situation, both as an applicant, and as a member of the hiring committee. When an individual submits the initial application, it often includes a statement just above the required signature, that “all information submitted on the application, under penalty of law, is accurate and true”. I know we have that clause in all our contracts for the city of Visalia. In addition, as someone who is being hired to work with minors, he/she must also go through the finger printing process. The individual must also express a desire and show skill in working with a particular age group. Our interview questions are carefully crafted to ask how they might handle particular situation if they were to arise. We chose situations that commonly occur. We never let that person know how they did via their application or interview. The ending statement is, “We’ll be reviewing all information and you’ll receive a phone call or letter in a few days letting you know our decision. Even when we hire, we’re very careful in how we word the acceptance and the subsequent contract. The candidates that weren’t chosen receive a letter thanking them for their interest, but another candidate was selected.

    Even after we hire an individual, we let them know there is a probationary period, and their services may be terminated at any time if we feel they cannot fulfill their contracted duties successfully. Another aspect is that a non-credentialed person cannot work alone with students during the school day. A credentialed teacher must be in the classroom if the interaction is during the regular school day. An after school program is somewhat different, in that a non-credentialed individual can work, but under the auspices of the after school program.

    Even with all those procedures, we have still encountered some problems, which have required immediate termination of services. In many of the same ways an IRB becomes much more complicated if minors are involved, so is it with hiring someone who is outside of the district to work with youth.

    This is a long response to explain why “Craft” would not make it through our hiring process, regardless of his reputation. The very fact that his application was inaccurate would end his changes of making it through the initial “vetting” process. The fact that he made threats could hold him criminally accountable. The hiring process is confidential, and no one can divulge information about any information or action. If anyone outside of the hiring committee knows why he wasn’t chosen, it would be because he chose to tell.

    We are very clear in our process and that helps to prevent such a situation from occurring. While somewhat long, it does help keep everything on a civil note. The only thing I would have done differently than Cathy would not directly confronted Craft about the inaccurate information. He would have received a friendly letter, thanking him for his interest, but that another had filled the position. He wouldn’t know why unless he were to inquire, which would be after the decision had been made.

  10. I think my first reaction was to say No-way, next please. After I thought about it and reread the scenario I would have Craft resubmit a new resume that it is corrected. I doubt it was a mistake but I would give the benefit of the doubt. The point has been made.

    Its a great opportunity for the everyone involved and the publicity from having the best local person participate in the program is sure to get some attention. Craft will be sure to not make the “mistake” again.

    • I agree Brandon. Resubmitting the application gives the benefit of the doubt.

      That being said, I agree with most the comments posted above. Craft has already shown his true colors, and my experience with human resources and personnel is that it is MUCH easier to not hire someone, than to remove someone who is a district employee. Since the 7th vote has the benefit of seeing that Craft is “sue happy,” threatening, and full of himself, he should not be allowed into the district.

      Follow proper hiring procedures, interview multiple candidates, ask the same series of questions, have multiple interviewers in the interview, and then make a decision to hire someone else who was “a better fit for the position.”

    • I think what would concern me would be not knowing if this was a mistake in the first place and whether this “mistake” has been repeated numerous times. I personally would be willing to compromise on the “fame” over the possibility of exposing the middle school kids to someone who lack integrity.

      What would you do if a student submitted fabricated work?

  11. I agree that Craft’s behavior makes him a very poor candidate for the position. He lied to Cathy and tried to bully her. I am uncertain why 3 of the committee members have voted to hire someone who has already threatened the organization. My guess is that they were either intimidated by his threats or decided that his reputation made him so valuable that his deception could be overlooked. Either way, hiring him is a bad, bad idea.

    Cathy should vote no. From a deontological perspective, Craft’s lie cannot be overlooked or tolerated. He has violated the ethical priniciple of veracity, which requires individuals to tell the truth. His threats to sue violate the principle of non-maleficence; he is willing to damage a foundation that serves children. Hiring Craft even though he falsified his application would violate the principle of justice, which requires that parties be treated fairly. Why were the other candidates expected to tell the truth if Craft didn’t have to? From a utilitarian perspective, Cathy should also vote no. Achieving the greatest good also includes avoiding the greatest harm. If Craft is hired, he will be working directly with middle schoolers; the committee needs to consider their obligations to the children that the foundation serves. Is Craft an acceptable role model? Did he misrepresent any other information on his application? Importantly, what is the liability to the foundation if they knowingly hire a person of questionable integrity to work with school children? He has already lied, bullied, become defensive and angry under pressure, and failed to accept responsibility for his behavior.

    The committee should run the opposite direction from hiring Craft for the good of the foundation and the children they serve. The only problem is that sometimes doing the right thing is difficult. Doing the right thing can be stressful, lonely, and is not without risk. As long as you have your ducks in a row, sometimes you just have to make the tough decision and say, “Bring it on.”

    • Debbie, I completely agree with your post. Making the “right”, but unpopular decision is necessary. This is a true reflection of his character, and more than likely, issues may arise because of what is at his core.

    • I agree with Debbie that the committee should not hire him because Craft showed his true colors. He lied, got caught and intimidated the committee. These three major issues warrant a “a no vote” for me too. In my experience serving on faculty hiring committees it is critical to make sure that everything that is submitted to a committee needs to be clear and without any hesitation be truthful and upfront with one’s credentials.

  12. Debbie,
    I love how well you analyze and word issues. “Deontological” is such a wonderfully diverse and descriptive word. He defies all that is ethical in substance, if not origin. Our egos can work against us in such subtle, yet blatant ways. When our id overrides our super-ego, that needs to be a red flag for us all. To employ the lens of doing what is best for the kids, and to have the proper procedures in place, as cumbersome and annoying they may appear, prevents many instances of malfeasance from occurring.

  13. Interesting case. It reminds me of a situation I was recently in. Given the fact that this site is public, I’m not sure how much I can share. However, I can be general enough to say that half way through the hiring process, I discovered that the candidate had withheld some information. The candidate had disclosed something concerning but did not provide the true details. The hiring committee felt that the candidate should get a chance to explain his/her self in an interview. Given what was disclosed on the application, I was almost convinced to at least give the candidate a chance to interview.

    However, after conducting some further research, I discovered the situation to be much more complex and serious. Some of the issues would have a direct impact on the candidate’s work with minors and working independently. Given this discovery, I had to have the committee chair speak to Human Resources to determine if would be breaking any laws by excluding this particular candidate. The resolution was that the reason to exclude the candidate was justifiable given the candidate’s history and work with a sensitive population.

    Although the situation in the case above is not as dire as what I experienced, I think Connie should get some legal advice before making any decisions regarding Craft. Although Craft may call it a “technicality” I wonder how he would react if some copied his art and forgot to give him credit and then explained it as a mistake. If Connie can justify that hiring Craft opens up the possibilities of exposing the middle school kids to an inappropriate role model, she may avoid legal issues.

  14. Connie is in a tough predicament, but she must act with ethical decisiveness; blast him out! When you follow the rules, it is easy to take a stand. The more and more that I live in grey areas within my context, the more I understand that taking a stand on the side of correctness is the most appropriate and easy to defend; rules are rules. Craft is showing his true colors by threatening retaliation. Eventually, he would not be a good fit and a good role model for others to follow.

  15. Craft is a dangerous man and should be dealt with in the most ethical and professional way that Connie can provide. She is in a tough position. However, she has to send a message that allows for her peers and potential employees to witness. If I were me had this decision to make I would consider very carefully the treats and lies that craft has already given to the predicament. Recognize them as red flags, and be swift with a response that displays the rules and regulations that come along with a crisis such as this one.

  16. I don’t envy Connie. In my line of work, I hear similar threats but they typically involve “I’ll cancel my donation to X scholarship and alert the press.” It is typically my line to not deal with threats or people who are threatening. It is a bulling tactic which only creates “more of the same in the future”. I also think it sets a bad example if it appears that the board “caves” in to his demands (completely). I would probably try to negotiate a middle ground which to me would be to correct the CV with an ABD or something along those lines so that it is 100% transparent and make sure that the degree (in the PhD form) isn’t used further by the group. I also think there may be a pride issue (and a saving face thing) going on for Craft so there are ways to down play this issue but still maintain honesty and integrity which is critical for the long term health of the overall organization.

  17. This situation puts Connie into a no win situation. If she selects Craft she is going to make some on the committee upset, but if she denies his opportunity she could be sued and chastised by individuals who thought he was the most qualified. My personal issue with Craft is he lied on a resume and then threatened to sue if called on it. Regardless of the job, individuals will always seek a higher solution (higher authority/lawsuit/etc) whenever a verdict doesn’t fit their own expectations. Connie must be cognizant of remaining consistent in this situation. What is past protocol? Has someone ever lied on a resume before? She should not worry about possible lawsuits or the ramifications for hiring or not hiring Craft, but identify what is best for the middle school students.

    If I was in Connie’s seat, I would NOT hire Craft. I value transparency and the fact that Craft lied on his resume and once questioned on the evidence threatened to sue. If I can’t trust this individual on a resume, how could I trust him with middle school students. Despite having the best credentials around, this deficiency quickly outweighs any benefits he had over the competition. The fact the panel voted 3-3 and left Connie up to decided the outcome says that others were not sold on him as well. I think Connie has ever right to deny Craft.

  18. It appears, based upon the activities of Connie’s assistant, that the foundation has a set of criteria and a process used to evaluate candidates (regardless of whether this is a grant application, a hiring process, etc.). The extent of the criteria and process is not known.

    If the selection criteria require particular terminal degrees then Craft would have been eliminated earlier. However, given the later statement about a deadlock on the selection committee it appears that this was not stated in the criteria.

    If the selection criteria include validated background checks this would also eliminated Craft. The criteria could also include principles required by the program or attributes of the candidate including integrity, trustworthiness, etc. – after all this candidate will work with children. It is assumed based upon the conversation between Connie and Craft that some such criteria existed. However, based upon the later vote the criteria appear to be either non-binding or allow the candidate to continue through the process.

    Connie is correct in confronting Craft regarding the inconsistency of Craft’s claim to the Ph. D. and the facts. Trustworthiness of a candidate who works with children is critical. Craft, rather than being apologetic, becomes belligerent. What will happen with subsequent encounters with children or with interactions with the foundation?

    Connie should have asked the selection committee to put aside this candidate based upon the values of the foundation rather than let it get to a vote. It would become an opportunity to strengthen the values, improve upon the selection process, or tighten up the selection criteria.
    Connie should not be afraid of intimidation by Craft. As a steward of the organization, she should assess the risks of a suit and the risks to the foundations reputation. She should either 1) table the decision on this candidate due to the deadlock and recommend the committee improve their process and criteria for subsequent selections or 2) vote against this candidate directly on the basis of ethics, avoid turning this into a personal attack, and advise the committee on what will be the communication plan with the public. She should also document the conversations and rationale for the decision in case Craft files a nuisance suit. She may want to send a carefully crafted letter to Craft explaining the decision if this is part of the normal process. At a minimum she will need to be ahead of the messaging campaign to reduce potential damage to the organization and its cause.

  19. Looks like my original post didn’t take – I think the right thing for Connie to do is not hire Craft. The error on the resume is too significant to be explained away as an oversight, and that combined with Craft’s threat speaks to his character.

    Connie would be better off handling any immediate issues that arose from removing Craft from consideration than dealing with whatever greater consequences may come from hiring Craft. If Craft were hired, Connie would take the chance that someone else would find out about Craft’s lack of credentials, and Craft could possibly continue to threaten and bully people in the organization. Not only could Connie’s reputation be damaged by hiring Craft, but the organization’s reputation could be damaged as well.

  20. This ethics decision was easier for me to make than I had originally anticipated-black and white. I would not cower down to the weak threat of a lawsuit by Craft. Craft already has two strikes against him. First, is the question as to whether or not he intentionally put “Ph. D” on the resume hoping that they would not check? Or did he unintentionally omit the “Course work completed for”. Neither of these can be proven. Regardless of whether it was an accident or not, the point remains that he did in fact have an error on this resume. If his resume (which should be perfection) has an error, is this conducive to his work as an artist and professional? Additionally, his attitude and threat towards to committee says quite a bit about his character. For someone in a job interview he is very assertive and unrespect full. Bottom line: I do not care how talented this artist is, I would not want him working for me, nor would I want anyone to have to deal with him and work with him. Furthermore, I do not think that the character attributes he has demonstrated during the short interview process will set a standard for the students. It states that many other applicants applied for the position. I am sure another candidate exists that is more prepared with an error free resume as well as a respectful attitude and demeanor.

    • That is correct Nicole!…Character flaw got the best of this guy! He may be an most excellent painter, but he is not a most excellent and noble man! He may go off full throttle on those highly verbal middle schoolers! LOL

    • I agree Nicole, I think that if he has lied on his resume, which I do think was intentional, and then he threatened the committee what other horrible things will he do next. A person can only be defamed of their character if what was said is not true. Because he does not have a Ph. D. and if one person on the committee states publically that he doesn’t have one is not defaming his character. He put him self in this position and if I was Connie I would vote to not hire him. Just because a person is good at what they do and might be able to handle the middle school students does not mean he is the best candidate nor does it mean you have to hire him just because he applied.

  21. If Connie enjoys the idea of being blackmailed, threatened and belittled for any other future decisions she or the board might have regarding Mr. Arsty-Fartsy, I mean Mr. Hamilton Craft, then she should go ahead and approve of his teaching position. The fact that he lied about his credentials is a huge character flaw. It does not matter if he is a well-known, popular or influential artiste, all of those qualities are based on a fickle and unreliable public opinion. The fact is, he does not have the Ph.D he boldly claims to have.

    Another character flaw of Mr. Craft is his confrontational and out of order reaction to Connie. He goes from “cordial” to threatening and litigious. Doesn’t his knee-jerk reaction and overblown temper alarm Connie about how Mr. Carft might react to working with MIDDLE SCHOOL children???? Middle schoolers are notoriously mercurial and moody and emotional and unpredictable. Doesn’t this display of irrational temper foreshadow Mr. Craft’s classroom management skills? Imagine the lawsuits that the school will receive if Mr. Craft threatens every student who disobeys his diva-like demands.

    Make no mistake that Mr. Craft is a snake in the grass type of personality. He is untrustworthy, and his ability to parley his “talent” into commercial success in NO indication that he would be the best teacher for this position. Would he be a better “guest speaker” or “special lecturer/ local celebrity artist”?–Absolutely.

    Connie is the head of this art program and her vote is the tie-breaker. Perhaps “confronting” Mr. Craft was not the best public-relations move on her part, and perhaps she needed to appeal to his ego and offered him another type of accolade-type public adoring position (that Mr. Craft clearly craves) to assuage his hurt feelings. However, she is in a position of power and instead of trying to make Mr. Craft fit her mold, perhaps she needs to cast the net wider to find the best qualified person for the job.

  22. First of all..Kudos to my “course work for an Ed D” peeps, Nicole and Chai ,on calling it the way it is in this nasty little scenario! I would like to break it down as there are a few things that seem to be missing in this scenario, that make the decision easy peasy!

    “On the resume submitted with his application, Craft has listed a Ph.D. in art history, received from an east coast university in the late 1960s. Connie’s assistant, doing routine background checks on the artists, is astonished to discover that the university has no record of such a degree. Craft had indeed enrolled in a doctoral program, but never completed it. He does not hold a Ph.D., his resume plainly misstates the facts.”

    Lisa: # 1- yay for background checks! #2 The university has no record of such a degree. Does this mean: they do not have a PhD in Art History degree OR he enrolled in some doctoral program, but called it art history cause his is an artist? Either way- strike one!! he didn’t complete IT. doesn’t even say up to the dissertation!

    “Connie tells the committee and then confronts Craft. Cordial as ever, he explains that just as he was completing the work for his doctorate, he had been drafted into the army. What he had meant to write on the resume, he explains, is, “Course work completed for Ph.D.”—a phrase often used in resumes to indicate that the candidate never completed the writing of the dissertation. But somehow that phrase got shortened simply to “Ph.D.” ”

    Lisa: First of all she has the right to tell the committee, they are making important decisions involving an impact on children. Secondly, as Nicole pointed out, he should have submitted a ‘perfect’ resume. It is a job for goodness sake!

    “Then, turning surprisingly tough, Craft warns her that if the committee refuses him on this technicality—an issue that surely had little bearing on his ability to work with a classroom of middle schoolers—he would sue them for mishandling his application and potentially defaming his character.”

    Lisa: Seriously, talk about narcissistic! Who threatens a person who might give you an opportunity at a job, with children?? Seems a little unstable to me!

    “Chairing the committee, Connie watches it deadlock in a three-to-three vote. It falls to her to break the tie. What should she do?”

    Lisa: Easy peasy (yes, redundant: much like research..lol) She simply puts the safety of the students first and say sorry, but votes against. What might he do if a middle schooler, who is brutally honest makes the ‘wrong’ comment to him? He just threatened an adult with a lawsuit and all she did was let her committee know that his resume was incorrect. Hmmm I do not think that if she is of sound mind she would allow him the opportunity to work with children.
    There is nothing illegal about it. She could easily make her decision, based on his threatening tone and statements.
    Stand firm Connie, stand firm on behalf of the children!!

  23. My perspective is fairly simple – when Mr. Craft submitted his application, he gave consent to a background check, gambling that his reputation as an artist would keep one from being performed. When he was found out, he went on the offense with threats. It appears to me that Mr. Craft has much to lose from information regarding his inaccurate resume, and he had many, many opportunities to correct the errors, but chose not to do so. It appears to be a part of the façade he has built to become successful in the fickle art world. (I can say that, I’m a fickle art collector.) I don’t understand why Connie is even conflicted about this – from a legal standpoint, Craft has no position. The information regarding his lack of credentials and failure to correct errors on his resume is not defamatory, libelous or slanderous, because it is true. If I were Connie, I would consult with human resources regarding the conduct of the background investigation to ensure that established routines were followed, and also with legal counsel to ensure that my position was correct. I would then respond to Mr. Craft with the facts. Litigation is threatened every day, and as a leader, she cannot bow to his efforts at intimidation. Mr. Craft’s actions in this incident tell her more about his character than any resume or reputation as an artist ever could. However talented he is as an artist, he has not demonstrated the moral fortitude that we expect of educators and should not be placed in a classroom. As a leader, Connie is going to have to demonstrate the intestinal fortitude to follow through and do what’s right. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm.”

    • Well said! Kate. Connie has work to do and must remain strong with her leadership skills. This candidate seems like he can threaten and bully his way into anything. Why would anyone want this added stress from a new hired person?

  24. Nicole and Chai are correct on this Craft man’s character. There is no way in heck I would hire him based on his threat of suing for something he lied about. It baffles me how so many people think when doing something wrong they can try to find a way to be the victim. Connie knows he is a liar and a potential liability if he was hired on. It really is a no brainer decision. If I were Connie I would not hire him and for personal pleasure I would seek out other documents that he might have omitted his fancy wording to the claim of his Ph.D. just so that I can have proof that this was not a mistake or an oversight.

  25. I agree with Chris above. If Connie had done her work thoroughly following all protocol for hiring then this may not be a mess. As an applicant it’s important to know all requirements prior to applying for the position. It is the applicant’s responsibility to review and edit all facts listed on the resume not the panel’s.
    When an applicant threatens with a law suit it’s a red flag to not hire him/her. It would place the employer in a weak situation. There would not be any productivity but fear to comply with applicant rather than provide directions of employment. There should be no fear of not hiring this applicant with the panel. The panel is at a tie and should consider the possible problems this applicant can cause than explain the “PhD” issue.
    Finally, the panel should not fear the outcome of not hiring rather feel blessed to been threaten by a law suit then have one to face. An applicant must be hired with clear standings or all information up front not through discovery. Why is there a vote 3 to 3 is a surprise. Does the applicant know any of the panel members is unknown. If the panel is strong then there should be no concern of hiring but denying any possible position. It is unknown what the candidate pool looks like. There may not have been strong candidates with all requirements. This applicant might be the best choice for right now for the three panel members who are in favor of hiring this applicant. However, there should be not reason to hesitate denying this applicant and seeking else where to full this position.

  26. I know I posted on here Saturday but somehow it disappeared. I agree with both Nichole and Chai in that if Connie breaks the tie by hiring this Mr. Craft guy she will regret it later. Personally I don’t think he forgot to add the extra words before or after the Ph. D. I think he is giving himself his Ph. D. because of the work he has done and he is a well known artist. I’m glad it was brought to his attention but now I just feel bad for Connie to have to deal with such threats he has made to her. I think because of the embarrassment it caused him he immediately became defensive and that is why the threat to sue. A doctorate degree takes a lot of hard work and dedication. You have to put in the time, money and complete everything needed for that degree. i think it’s unfair for someone like Mr. Craft to misrepresent himself. I laugh at the fact Mr. Craft states he will sue for defamation of character. In order for someone to be sued under this condition the allegations must be false. In this case Mr. Craft omitted the words that would tell people he did not have a degree. If it were me I would do more digging around to see if he actually does this often and if so maybe he should be the one sued for false advertising. I have no doubt a man like this should not be hired because of his reputation as a famous artist but rather should not be hired because of his false application.

  27. Regardless of Mr. Crafts reputation and personality Connie needs to stand up for what is right. the committee does not have to select Mr. Craft. “Craft has listed a Ph.D. in art history, received from an east coast university in the late 1960s”. Regardless of what Mr. Crafts accomplishments are his blatant lying about his Ph.D. makes him unsuitable for this position. Being threaten by Craft only makes this issue even easier to decide upon. Ultimately the program has the right to refuse and hire who they want regardless of their accomplishments. In my opinion I would not hire him. The committee is deadlock, there should be a discussion in private as to why each person decided their vote the way they did. Connie needs to decide if his intimidation will continue and will be worth the trouble later on. Ethically she needs to do what she feels is right and not give in to his threats.

  28. I agree with some of the other comments regarding Craft’s threatening reaction and short-temper. It is not acceptable to act like this ever, especially when you are still a “potential candidate” trying to prove you are the right person for the job. This should be a red flag and a good enough reason for not hiring Craft. But, why is it not that easy? Well, Connie still has 3 committee members who think Craft should be hired, and Connie needs to take this into consideration when making a decision.
    Additionally, I would like to have known what was indicated on the application as far as education and degrees obtained. Maybe Craft forgot to update his resume, and the last time he did so he was sure he would have obtained his degree, not realizing he was going to be drafted to the army. Then maybe, he just got really excited to apply for this position and either missed this error and truly was accidental. It’s easy to say this error was intentional, but we really can’t prove this. Craft was “cordial” when “confronted” by Connie. I’m curious to know about Connie’s confrontation and how it might have caused Craft to feel like he needs to threaten to sue her if he is not chosen due to this technicality of not noting “coursework completed for Ph.D”.
    If I were Connie, I would hope there is a probationary period in place for this organization. If there is such policy, then Connie should just hire Craft if he is “fit” for the job, and if it does not work out, keep good documentation! If there isn’t, then Connie needs to do what is right for the organization, and not what is best for “her”. I think that Connie’s negative experience with Craft and maybe not liking Craft or vice-versa, is not a good enough reason to assume he is not a good fit. There are a lot of people that I personally do not like, but others do and overall they do their job, and that to me is what is more important.

  29. There are many reasons, personal and knowledge of topic, to hire Craft or not to hire Craft. When someone is looking at hiring a teacher or instructor, there has to be a set of minimum qualification. If it is listed that a PhD is required, then he is not eligible. But, if it states that experience can replace education then he is eligible for employment. Rather than making it the decision of a board, it needs to be decided by the standards of the school, district, etc.

    Also need to look at the time of when he went to school and the external factors that played in him not finishing his education. Since education was done so long ago a college might request him to re-do some of the classes. There are so many different ways to look at this, but I do believe that there needs to be requirements and they need to be met

  30. Cari, I agree there are reasons to hire and not hire Craft. I only see three reasons to hire him, though. The scenario describes him as the best-known painter in the region, with a national reputation and amiable personality. And these are certainly attributes that would be important when considering candidates to fill an artist-in-residence position at a school.

    However, when reading the scenario, there are too many red flags that indicate to me Craft is not an ethically sound choice for an individual to be hired to work with middle school students. First, he lied about his Ph.D. and then made excuses as to why the information on his resume was false. He did not own the fact he lied, but hid it behind the guise of a mistake. Honestly, he’d have been better leaving PhD off his resume if he truly had the reputation he had – typically teachers/consultants do not need such an advanced degree to work in the K-12 system; a portfolio, recommendation letters, and a sound interview should be fine. And for such a position, I even wonder if a bachelor’s/masters would be necessary…

    Beyond that, Craft threatens Connie/the committee, which is inexcusable and not particularly amiable. If he takes that stance with the committee, then there’s no telling what he might do in a classroom full of teenagers. His actions may not have much bearing on his ability to work in a classroom, but his faulty character does.

  31. This is a difficult situation, but one that could easily face an educational leader – to hire someone who seems to be well qualified, but who may have personal issues (lying, threatening behavior, etc) that could have a great negative impact on both students and staff.

    This is a difficult decision to make just based on this scenario. There isn’t much information given about the artist. If I was the educational leader, I would probably dig a little deeper before making my decision. One indicator of potential performance is past performance. So I would try to look at his past performance at similar jobs. I got the impression that the artist had not had a teaching job before, but surely he worked somewhere. I would contact as many of his previous employers and/or co-workers as possible. They could help to paint a picture of the artist’s true character. Perhaps he was telling the truth and the omission on the resume was an honest mistake by an otherwise ethical man. If his previous describe someone who is ethical and a conscientious worker, then I might vote to let him pass.

    If, on the other hand, the co-workers have also experienced unethical behavior and/or threatening behavior, I might vote not to hire him. At the same time, of course, I would contact my lawyers (the district’s lawyers) to put them on alert that there might be a sticky situation to deal with soon.

  32. Although this can be seen as a sticky situation, I have little to no hesitation about voting to not hire Mr.Craft, but would propose to check with the district’s legal team to get their input and make sure we acted with due dilligence.
    While Craft may possess the technical skills necessary to work with students, he has not acted ethically, or professionally during the application process. In my opinion, this is a glimpse of his character. As an educational leader, I would choose not to hire him. It is important that the district hire individuals who are honest and act with integrity. These are the type of adults we want working with our students, not adults who misrepresent themselves and become litigious when inquiries are made. If a conflict arose between Mr.Craft and a student, what kind of faith would the district have that Mr. Craft acted ethically or responsibly?
    If it was a simple matter of an error on the application, he might still be worth consideration, however the threat to sue the district at this stage is not characteristic of someone I would feel comfortable hiring to work as a team player.
    The scenario indicates that there are ‘numerous applicants’ so in this case I would vote to proceed with hiring someone other than Mr. Craft.

    • I’m with Chantel on this matter. To me it is not a difficult decision at all, but I suspect my rational differs from some of the other responses, while also revealing some flaws in my own character. Personal flaw number one — I’m exceptionally gullible. If confronted with this situation, I likely would have believed the inaccuracy in his resume was a genuine mistake. If Craft was willing to correct the error, and I believed he was the best candidate for the position, I would probably vote in favor of hiring him. But the fact that he threatened litigation if he did not get the position changes everything, and also reveals another personality flaw — I have no tolerance for bullies. Because I am so sensitive to bulling behavior my decision-making ability in this situation would be undoubtably clouded, but it makes this an easy decision to make. Craft would not get my vote. And unlike some of the other responses, I honestly would not consult with the foundation’s legal team before voting. In my opinion, his treat is empty. If the foundation decided to hire another candidate, I assume no one from the board would disclose why the decision was made or reveal the issue with Craft’s resume (if they did, then Craft would have grounds for litigation.) So in that case, for Craft to move forward with a lawsuit against the foundation would mean revealing himself to have lied on his resume. It makes no logical sense for him to voluntarily open himself to that level of scrutiny.

    • Chantel, I agree with you on the matter that at this stage if he is already threatening to sue the district, it would be in the best interest of the district to NOT hire him. I believe that in the long run, he will sue the district for whatever little he feels has been done wrong to him. An employee such as Mr. Craft will be more problematic than beneficial to the district, currently and long-term. I will vote to not hire him as well. Most importantly, this really shows his character and possibly even past employment history, which is not a very pleasant sight to see – let alone put the district and employees through.

  33. Connie is presented with a dilemma, as she now holds the vote to hire or dismiss Craft’s application but fears retaliation as Craft threatened to “sue them for mishandling his application and potentially defaming his character”. Connie should consider her position as the head of the foundation to further determine whether Craft is an appropriate candidate for the position, as she knows the needs of her students. Aside from measuring his level of experience and education, Connie should question Craft’s qualities. Such as, level of attention to detail (submitted resume/application without reviewing it), ability to handle discrepancies in a professional manner, his level of integrity, interpersonal skills, professional conduct, and Craft’s impulsiveness to intimidate others (character). Connie could decide to table her decision to accept or dismiss Craft’s application by gathering additional information (contact Craft’s recommendations, past employers, etc). Having been a part of a hiring committee, we were to follow a code of ethics and policies. It is my understanding that when an application or resume is submitted to an educational/state/federal employer it states, all information submitted on the application, under penalty of law, is accurate and true. Could Connie not dismiss this application based on mere violation of the above statement?

  34. Kathleen,
    I absolutely agree with your statement, “if Craft was willing to correct the error, and I believed he was the best candidate for the position.” The fact of the matter is that Craft was, as you characterized him, being a bully. Though he is identified as being the best-known painter in the region, with a national reputation and amiable personality, his level of professionalism is questionable.

    Since the hiring committee is currently a three-to-three vote, would Craft have a case that justifies “mishandling his application and potentially defaming his character” if those three who voted against Craft did not have knowledge of his misrepresented degree?” More so, could the hiring committee conduct a panel of second interviews to gather more information and/or take into consideration other candidates that best fit the position?

    • Kathleen and Rosie, I agree. I don’t think the misrepresentation on the resume should be considered fatal – it could have been an honest mistake. It is what he did after the mistake was caught that is a concern. His behavior seems like an extreme reaction to the situation, which makes it seem more likely to me that he was actually hiding something. My biggest concern would be working with someone who becomes so conflict-oriented when a problem arises. That would be too much to deal with on a regular basis. Why would you want someone in your organization who throws a fit like a two year old child whenever he doesn’t get his way?
      But I can also predict that maybe the board would be willing to look past his faults because he is such a respected artist. They would maybe be willing to put up with some pettiness if he could provide an outstanding experience for the kids. But that also brings up another concern. Would he be able to treat the students professionally and fairly? Or would his personality flaws impact the students’ experience with him? I don’t necessarily have answers for this, but these would all be concerns that are no really related to the missing degree but are absolutely related to his difficult personality.

  35. For those who hinted to this being clear cut, I agree. Craft should not be hired. In my current position as school principal, I review applications for employment often. Any form of deception on an application is a cause to reject it. In this scenario, Craft listed that he had earned a Ph. D. when in fact he did not. This is, what I would call, a dramatic and purposeful deception meant to mislead anyone reading his resume. The fact that Connie was willing to talk with Craft and give him a chance to correct his error is benevolent. However, Craft went the opposite direction when he decided to be combative and eventually threating. This speaks to his character, or lack thereof. The mere fact that the university does not have his degree on file and that he wants to still claim that he has “earned” his degree is disturbing. As for the legality of bringing this up to the hiring committee or making a decision as to not hire, it is on a strong legal footing. Courts and legal professionals have supported this, saying that any of the below would be reason for dismal, let alone employment rejection:
    • Having been terminated for cause from a former position and failing to disclose or admit to it
    • Not putting a former employer on a resume
    • Making false statements about education, experience or holding professional licenses
    • Concealing or failing to reveal a former felony conviction, and
    • Making up a college degree during an interview.

    Given his resistance to correct it and his willingness to mislead, it is my conclusion that Connie vote to not hire Craft.

  36. I am in agreement with the last several posts. If Mr. Craft had handled Connie’s request for clarification about his Ph.D. in a more candid and professional manner, without threatening legal recourse, I would have perhaps continued to consider offering him the position. It is the fact that he jumped to threatening the hiring committee with a lawsuit that was the determining factor in my putting forth a ‘no’ vote. In my experience, working as leader in a variety of other capacities over the years, there are two factors I have noticed become issues when evaluating employees. The first is talent or skill or ability. This is something that is important because we want to provide the best service/product possible to consumers (aka students). The second factor is the employee’s ability to work as a team-player – this entails their ability to communicate, give and receive constructive criticism, problem solve, collaborate, their work ethic, their attitude, etc. In my experience, it is the latter attributes that are more important than the first. Mr. Craft may be an individual who is very talented at his art, but is clearly someone who may pose a challenge working with others, especially when teamwork and collaboration are involved in the task.
    Something that I have not yet mentioned, or seen mentioned in other posts, would be asking the other committee members who voted to proceed with hiring Mr. Craft what their thought processes were and if they had any reservations about his character based on his actions following the inquiry about his error/misrepresentation on the application.

  37. This situation seems clear, however, you do not really know if Craft truly did forget to complete that section of his resume or if he had purposely falsified it. Obtaining more information about the candidate may help the decision making-process. Getting more background information will help narrow down if he did make an honest mistake on accident or if he intentionally did it.

    If legal services are interjected, Connie should make sure her team communicates with their legal team to get counsel. In addition, with Craft wanting to take legal actions, this does say a few things about his character and may not be the person to hire. First, a resume error should not be a big deal and taken into legal accounts. If an individual made a mistake on their resume, they should accept it and learn from it. Second, an individual who made an error on their resume should understand that since there were flaws on it, that they have a high chance of not being hired, and again, accept it, move on, and learn from it. With Craft’s attitude and actions, Connie should not hire Craft.

  38. Connie is in a situation that is quite difficult, but is not very hard to resolve, in my opinion. There is an applicant by the name of Mr. Hamilton Craft whose education degree is listed as an earned Ph.D. in art history from an east coast university in the last 1960’s, which cannot be confirmed with the background check agency. The hiring committee asks Connie to confront Mr. Craft, in which he explains that due to his draft for services to the country, his “course work completed for Ph.D.” was in fact coursework, but not an actual Ph.D. in the subject. In addition, Mr. Craft has threatened to sue the district for mishandling his application and potentially defaming his character. This is by far a real problem for the district to begin with. The issues identified are as follows:

    1. The degree listed cannot be confirmed with the background check agency. Mr. Craft does not hold a Ph.D. in art history. (This is already an invalid piece of information which is invalid and misleading. If Mr. Craft does not possess a Ph.D. degree, he should not state that in his application. This information could possibly go into a different section explaining his academic coursework rather than education received.)
    2. Explanation of “course work completed for Ph.D.” is shortened to Ph.D., which is misinforming on the application. (This is once again invalid and misleading information, and can be described completely, rather than shortening the description to just Ph.D. You cannot expect employers to know what you’re talking about.)
    3. Threats to sue the district if the committee refuses him after Connie confront him. (With this statement by Mr. Craft, it already shows that he will be a confrontational employee and will cost the district large amounts of financial stress.)

    I believe Connie and the committee should take precautionary measures to ensure that the information provided by Mr. Craft is in fact valid by doing background checks, not once but twice, and by asking him in person like what Connie did. In Dr. Mullooly’s class, reliability and validity are key components for measurement of any piece of information. This case proves to rely heavily on these two matters such that the district will want to hire reliable and valid employees rather than those who will cause issues and be dishonest.

    After the confrontation with Connie, Mr. Craft threats to sue the district. This is a red flag. I believe that in any district, employers don’t want to hire employees who they feel they will have to payout for potential issues. Mr. Craft’s case proves just that, that the district should not hire him because of long-term damages to the district and its creditability. If the district disregards the current issues, they will be advertising that false information can get anyone employed with the district. In addition, with the fact that Mr. Craft was agitated and made threats to the committee and district regarding his education creditability, he is not suitable for classroom management. It illustrates that he is self-centered and thinking about himself and not as a team member, which makes him unsuitable as an educational leader for the middle school students. I fear that he will not be able to handle the intensity of the classroom environment and demands, especially with students who voice their opinions.

    With the facts in place and fully considered, I recommend Connie and the hiring committee to dismiss Mr. Craft’s application to avoid future issues, court cases, and financial stress.

  39. Connie is in a difficult and unique situation. However, give the situation I believe that the individual lost all credibility by lying on his application. I believe that having a doctorate level education an individual would understand to double check their resume before submitting it for an employment opportunity. As an employer, I would be extremely reluctant to hire someone that technically lied on his application and resume. I understand that the Ph.D. may not be a requirement for the job that he has applied for; however, the fact that he lied to have an advantage over others leads me to believe that he cannot be trusted.
    As an employer, I would not give him an opportunity to work at my organization. If he wants to sue the organization he can, when an applicant submits applications for employment with an organization he/she is technically signing stating that “all information is true and correct” and therefore any misrepresentation of his/her abilities or education levels would be seen as a lie. The fact that this individual is threatening to sue the organization because of a “mistake” he made tells a lot about his character. I would be hesitant to have any further conversations with this individual without a person from my legal department present.

    • Robert,

      I agree with you that the situation is a difficult one. Although it does seem that a person who is seriously interested (and bragging within the community) in a job position would double check all application materials, I could understand if this was a mistake if it was due to errors beyond his control. For example, applications for positions with West Hills College are required to be submitted online in the form created specifically for West Hills. If this was an honest mistake, I think it would be unfair to disqualify the applicant based on an honest mistake.

      More importantly is how the applicant responded to the situation. The threats of legal action are very specific. Craft warns “if the committee refuses him on this technicality”. It is not stated if the position requires a doctoral degree, but if it does not, it sounds like the committee would have been in favor of Craft. In my opinion, this is not the technicality that made the committee wary, it is how he responded to the question about his credentials. Robert you said that you would be reluctant to hire somebody who lied on the application- I would be much more concerned with his entitlement and threats. I agree with you that Craft is showing his character by threatening legal action if the committee refuses him. I would be especially concerned with this individual working around children. What if the children do something he does not agree with? I agree with you in that I would not offer this individual employment. I think it would be unethical to hire somebody out of fear of legal retaliation, maybe there is someone who is more qualified, a better fit and more capable of handling confrontation that is better suited for the position that wouldn’t get hired due to fear.

      • Hi Tiffany,

        I completely agree with you. I believe I would hire based on Craft’s response to the situation. I would not like to work with someone with an inflated ego that believes they are entitled to the position. The scenario did mention that Craft’s personality is generally amiable. This leads me to believe that this could be a matter of miscommunication. If I was in Connie’s position, I would attempt to deflate the situation and turn it around. However, if Craft’s behavior showed signs of entitlement, hostility, or lack of integrity, after I attempted to pacify things I would not pursue hiring him.

      • Tiff
        I agree with you 100%! The threats to the employer are of serious concern and I believe this should be examined carefully as she is making a decision to hire. In reading your response you mentioned that his information on the Ph.D. could have been an honest mistake, and I agree with you but at the same time this is a serious concern to me. I have had similar experiences at my job, not with degrees as much, but wit individuals lying about skills. Most of them obtained the job in my learning area because of the skills they claimed to have. I usually give them an opportunity to show me what their skill set is, but if it is not what I am looking for I have to terminate the and re-open the position. This is expensive and frustrating. I have had one experience with an individual that claimed to have a degree from overseas and n doing the verification the degree was never obtained, he was also let go for lying.

        This is a very interesting ethical issue. Yes, people can make mistakes but at this level it is likely that the person purposely added false information to his resume to make it stand out.

  40. Connie is put in a difficult situation. However, there is no need for her to stress over the threats of this individual. The fact is that when someone submits an application for employment they sign stating that “the information is true and correct” and any misrepresentation of their skills, abilities, education levels should be treated as a lie. This individual was able to get an interview over other qualified individuals based on what he wrote on his application/resume. Whether this was done purposely or not, the fact that he did not take the opportunity to review his materials before submission makes him responsible for his actions.
    As an employer, I would drop him from the process of employment as soon as I would find out that he lied on his application. Understanding that this may not be a requirement for employment, I would base my decision on the fact that his educational levels may have given him an edge over other qualified applicants. Threatening to sue the organization does not help either. His actions speak to his character and I would definitely not want someone with this demeanor working around my kids. He is welcomed to sue the organization, I believe that having proof that he lied on his application would nullify his lawsuit.
    I believe this is a common thing that happens in organizations. This lack of ethics should not be tolerated and administrators should not be afraid of an individual that threatens to sue. As mentioned earlier, I believe that he has the right to sue, that does not mean he will win his case nor does it mean he should have a job because he is threating to sue the organization.

  41. Connie is put in a difficult situation. However, there is no need for her to stress over the threats of this individual. The fact is that when someone submits an application for employment they sign stating that “the information is true and correct” and any misrepresentation of their skills, abilities, education levels should be treated as a lie. This individual was able to get an interview over other qualified individuals based on what he wrote on his application/resume. Whether this was done purposely or not, the fact that he did not take the opportunity to review his materials before submission makes him responsible for his actions.
    As an employer, I would drop him from the process of employment as soon as I would find out that he lied on his application. Understanding that this may not be a requirement for employment, I would base my decision on the fact that his educational levels may have given him an edge over other qualified applicants. Threatening to sue the organization does not help either. His actions speak to his character and I would definitely not want someone with this demeanor working around my kids. He is welcomed to sue the organization, I believe that having proof that he lied on his application would nullify his lawsuit.
    I believe this is a common thing that happens in organizations. This lack of ethics should not be tolerated and administrators should not be afraid of an individual that threatens to sue. As mentioned earlier, I believe that he has the right to sue, that does not mean he will win his case nor does it mean he should have a job because he is threating to sue the organization.

    • Hi Robert,
      I can see how you would want to refrain from hiring such an individual. When I sit on hiring committees and find discrepancies on applications I question the applicants character. Higher education face suits all the time, and contacting district legal advisors is a smart decision. I would go that direction if Craft would pursue legal actions. Craft’s stance holds no merit, in my opinion. However, I think Craft has the expertise and knowledge to grow the program. The hiring person (Connie) would definitely be taking a risk, but it might prove to be worth it. If she sets up policies that would enforce appropriate conduct, she may be able to change the outcome of this situation. Regardless, I would ask him to please update his resume to reflect accuracy.

      • Jacquelyn
        You make a good point, he may have the expertise to grow the program, but as Tiffany mentioned earlier, his character may not be appropriate to work with children. I think that everyone sees an issue with his character. He blatantly lied on his application and then he lied that it was a mistake (in my opinion), and then he threatened to sue the company if they did not hire him. All around he is a risk, in my opinion.

  42. Connie is responsible for a foundation and she helps set up programs that benefits middle school students. It is her integrity that is at stake. Regardless of how famous the artist is, if Connie’s assistant found a discrepancy on his resume, it is a problem. Connie did the right thing by informing the committee and asking Craft directly about the resume. Connie is liable for any situation that may arise from accepting Craft’s application. Other artists may know or find out about the situation, and could sue the committee for not recognizing the misleading resume by Craft and mishandling the other applications just because Craft was more well-known and had a national reputation.

    Connie can do what she decides regarding the vote on refusing Craft. She has her own ethics and integrity to consider about and for the foundation as whole. Craft is liable for his own actions and he does have the right to sue the committee. Connie has to decide if her actions and response is worth the time.

    Personally, I think Connie should refuse the application by Craft and ask him to reapply again with the proper information, so that everyone can get equal basis when all artists applied. If Craft disagrees and proceed with the suit, Connie can have proof that she did offer him a chance to repair his mistakes and show what her assistant found, that Craft did not obtain a doctoral degree. Similarly, she also can give proof in where applicants signed a consent form in saying all of the information given is proved true and correct by the individual, and show the form as evidence that Craft acted dishonestly.

    • Hi Trisha,
      I understand your perspective. Normally hiring a person for educational settings in a middle school does not require a Ph.D. Craft may still be qualified for the position. If so, I’m wondering if Connie can follow through with asking him to interview in addition to updating his resume for program records to reflect his accurate educational level. In my opinion, if he is willing to do this, it may change the perspective of some on the committee. This is a tough situation, and many factors would have to be taken into account, to make the final decision. I would be weary of hiring someone who intentionally lied on their application.

    • Hi Trisha,
      I agree that Connie’s integrity is at stake as is the integrity of the foundation. I think Connie was generous in approaching Craft directly and asking him about the discrepancy. Would she have afforded the same consideration for other applicants? Had Craft apologized for the discrepancy and offered to submit a corrected resume, I don’t think it would have been an issue. Unfortunately, Craft tried to intimidate Connie instead.

      You are right in recommending that Connie refuse the application and ask Craft to reapply with the correct information. Other artists can definitely cause problems for the foundation if they discover an artist was hired under false pretenses.

  43. As a leader Connie has to ensure she picks a candidate that has both the expertise of the filed, and someone that fits the culture and integrity of the committee. Connie is faced with a tough decision when Hamilton Craft, an applicant that is undoubtedly an expert in the field has applied, but lied about obtaining a Ph.D. His character/integrity has been questioned for threatening to sue over his falsified information on his application when he was asked about it. A deadlock of a three to three member vote to recruit Craft can easily imply that half of her current committee believes his expertise is important, while the other half feel his recent actions go against the committee’s culture/integrity. Both are important aspects because Craft’s national reputation can catapult the program’s success and may provide the ability to network that would create great opportunities for the program. Access to grant funding, scholarships, or endowments may open up with such success. On the contrary, if a person, regardless of their expertise, is challenging to work with they can create barriers to such opportunities. The committee’s energy can be focused on trying to eliminate problems such an individual can create for the committee. Connie has to thoroughly weigh both options when considering approving Craft to become a committee member.
    The passage did not state how long the committee has been active. Normally, established committees have criteria and policy standards through operating agreements. If the criteria requires a Ph.D and Craft does not have one he is ineligible to apply. His suit will not have merit in this case. However, if it is not a requirement, he still has the right to apply. The committee has the unofficial right to question his ability to work well with them based on this situation though. If Connie, chooses not to accept him into the committee, it would be wise to save the application process and compile documentation on everyone’s decision. In this case, if Craft would like to sue, she has verification that she judiciously went through all applicants and made her final decision based on criteria and member votes.
    If Connie, decides to accept Craft as a committee member, I would caution her to establish clear operating agreements that include conduct policies. In addition, I would suggest that all committee members have a probationary period of a few months and incorporate a policy where members of the committee can vote to withdraw a committee member’s membership if they do not comply with policies. This gives the committee the opportunity to vote out a combative person. If such policies are not established Connie should hold the application process until these policies are established. It is beneficial to hold the “hiring” process to establish such policies rather than have to deal with situations after the fact.
    If I were in Connie’s position, I would opt to give Craft the opportunity to participate on the committee. I believe his expertise in the filed can create opportunities for the program. I say this with caution because of the situation that took place. Educational administration is known for its dark side of bureaucracy and Craft is one individual out of many that Connie will have to encounter in educational politics. In her situation, I would enforce the criteria process and document the entire selection process and archive documentation. In addition, I would ensure that the operating agreement allowed to vote out members and included information on conduct. I would then speak to the committee about the reasoning behind my choice, but ensure I am working to allow the option to remove craft if his character goes against the committees vision/culture. I would then speak to Craft about his potential to edify or limit the program with his conduct and hopefully come to a working arrangement based on the operating agreement. It would then be his choice to stay and grow with the program or act out of character and be voted out of the program.

  44. I examine this scenario through my lens as a school based speech language pathologist and behavior analyst. Craft’s behavior would clearly not be accepted by either of the primary governing associations that monitor professional practice in my field. Both of these organizations have clauses included in their code of ethics that prevent the misrepresentation of credentials. Should an applicant for a position engage in misrepresentation of their credentials when applying for a therapeutic position in either of my primary fields, they would lose their opportunity to practice and become licensed in the future. Whether the mistake was intentional or not, the burden is on the applicant to clearly and honestly present their credentials. Although Craft’s field may not have a clearly defined code of ethics that is governed by an oversight association, I feel that similar practices should hold true in this scenario as well. One would hope that Craft held personal values that would promote the presentation of reliable information within his resume.

    Craft’s reaction to Connie confronting him on his error is of even greater concern to me than the misrepresentation of his credentials. The threats Craft makes regarding suing the organization should he not be offered the position are unfounded. Rather than mishandling his application, the organization has done its due diligence and thoroughly examined its applicants to identify the best individual for the position. When one applies for a position, it is with the knowledge that references and histories will be checked in order to establish the applicant’s previous personal and professional experiences. Furthermore, nothing in the scenario suggests that the organization has publicized that Craft applied for this position. Craft himself spread the news that he would be applying for this job opportunity. Accordingly, no attempts at character defamation have been made by the organization.

    Beyond the groundless nature of Craft’s threats, the fact that he resorts to intimidating and coercive behavior in an attempt to get his way speaks to how poor of a candidate he would be for this position. This organization is focused on sending artists into the educational sector to work with middle school students. Based on his dishonesty and reactions to the hiring process, the organization should have significant qualms about allowing this individual to work with students. Craft’s actions are consistent with bullying; this is not the type of behavior that we should be modeling for students.

    In my opinion, Connie’s course of action is quite clear. She should not hesitate to discuss Craft’s statements with the rest of the committee and refrain from voting in support his appointment. It is concerning to me that three members of the committee continued to support Craft’s appointment after learning about his dishonest behavior. An open discussion regarding hiring practices should take place with all members of the committee. The committee should spend time clearly articulating not only the professional experiences they look for in potential artists in residence but also the personal dispositions applicants should hold. The dissension between the committee members suggests that a reaffirmation of the organization’s values may be needed.

    • Hi Brooke,
      I absolutely agree that the burden is on the applicant to clearly and honestly present their credentials. It is not the responsibility of the potential employer to approach each applicant and ask them to clarify any discrepancies on their resume. Clearly Craft does not hold personal values that would promote the presentation of reliable information within his resume.

      As for Craft trying to intimidate Connie, I doubt this is the first time he has tried to over-power a female in authority to get his way. If anything, she should welcome him to file suit so he can be exposed nationally. I very much doubt he would follow through with his threat. Again, it is an intimidation tactic.
      I agree that it is concerning that three members of the committee continued to support Craft’s appointment. Perhaps it may be in the best interest of the foundation for them to contract with an employment service, that has no interest in the organization, to conduct future hiring.

  45. As head of a foundation that funds arts programs, the onus is on Connie to ensure funds are not misused. As I am sure the committee intends to pay the artist-in-residence a salary commensurate with the experience and credentials noted on the selected applicant’s resume, paying someone based on false credentials would definitely be a mismanagement of funds. It is also her responsibility to inform the seven-member committee that she has knowledge that an applicant falsified their educational record on their resume. The fact that Craft enjoys a national reputation and amiable personality is irrelevant. What speaks to Craft’s character is the willingness to deceive in order to obtain employment. Furthermore, his application should be treated no different than others received. If all go through a rigorous background check, then any information revealed during that check can be used in the decision process.

    Clearly Craft was trying to intimidate her by warning her that if the committee refuses him on the technicality that he “meant” to state he completed course work toward his Ph.D., that he will sue them for mishandling his application and potentially defaming his character. Being the head of a foundation I’m assuming that Connie is somewhat familiar with employment law. Therefore, she should explain to Craft the potential legal ramifications that can result from falsifying one’s educational record. According to the laws of some states, it is illegal to use, or event claim to hold a post-secondary degree in order to obtain employment. If I recall correctly (my emphasis for my MBA was Human Resources), falsifying your educational record is a misdemeanor in some states and is punishable by up to $2000 and 6 months in prison. Furthermore, it is Craft that mishandled his application, and any shade thrown on his reputation as a result is a self-inflicted injury.

    The scenario also states that Connie informed the committee of Craft’s deception yet they still considered him for the position. This is very concerning and does not exactly speak well of the integrity of the foundation. Since Connie has the deciding vote, she should vote no and send Craft the same form letter other applicants that were not chosen will receive. She is not obligated to elaborate on the committee’s decision.

  46. Connie’s role is an important one. She must consider all aspects and possible outcomes of the decision. There seems to be two issues with the one applicant in this dilemma. 1.) Was the applicant attempting to purposefully embellish his credentials in order to appear more qualified and 2.) Is the threat of legal action a reason to hire or dismiss? Prior to the interview upon receipt of application materials it appears that Connie felt that Craft would be a welcomed addition to the program because of his reputation and “amiable” personality. After speaking with the applicant, it became much more complicated of a decision.

    On one hand it appears that Craft, the applicant that has caused the divide among the committee is seriously interested in the position. This is made clear by Craft’s mention of applying for the position among the community. One could argue that if Craft was serious about the position he would have made sure that his application materials were accurate prior to submitting. It is possible that the application materials were submitted correctly but were summarized due to reasons beyond Craft’s control. If this were the situation, it would be unreasonable to disqualify the applicant for reasons beyond his control. As Craft clarifies his experience in a Doctoral program, it would be difficult to assume he is at fault for the mishap.

    Having a Doctoral degree was not a requirement of the job description and on its own I don’t think it would have the committee divided. The bigger issue, Craft’s threats to take legal action in retaliation of disqualification, provided insight into a potential problematic entitlement they would be hiring. One of the traits that were mentioned that made Connie believe that Craft would be selected was his amiable personality. This threat was not only unprovoked, but far from the pleasant personality that the program needed.

    I would recommend that Connie consider the second dilemma much more as the position requires that Craft work with middle school children. If Craft were faced with a reality that he did not agree with, would he threaten to sue again? I believe that it would be unethical for Connie to hire Craft on the basis of fear of retaliation, especially if there were others who were qualified for the position and had more agreeable personalities. Craft’s threat was very specific. The warning came on the basis of refusal to hire due to the technicality related to his Doctoral degree. This is not the issue that caused the divide, it is rather his response to the confrontation (and entitlement to the position) that is causing the recommendation for refusal. If Craft does follow through with legal action, his behavior and threats during the interview can provide context to the reason he was refused.

    • Hello Tiffany,

      I agree with the recommendations you present in your analysis of this scenario. I found your response to be thorough, considerate, and well thought out. While the inaccuracy of the information Craft presented in his resume raises red flags, it is his response to being confronted about his actions that is truly concerning. Connie and the other committee measures should thoughtfully consider these actions when determining whom to hire for this position. Although Craft is a renowned artist in the region, this position requires more than just exemplary painting skills. The individual selected for this position will also serve as a role model to middle school students and must model respectful, considerate behavior. In my opinion, the sum of Craft’s actions is enough to demonstrate that he is not an appropriate match for the position. The scenario says that the committee has received multiple applications for this opening. I would strongly encourage the committee to examine other candidates to ensure that the individual selected for this position has not only the requisite professional skills but also the personal qualifications need to successfully execute the requirements of this job.

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