A notable case of an elite academic’s lack of academic integrity and intellectual honesty has been that of Leslie Berlowitz, former president and CEO of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, whose 17-year long reign ended in 2013 upon revelations of her untruthful resumes that falsely claimed a Ph.D. degree. I reviewed the case in a September 5, 2014 post titled, “The end of Leslie Berlowitz’s reign at American Academy of Arts and Sciences – about academic integrity, management style, and?”, on the Facebook community page, History, Culture and Politics:
“On July 31, 2013, Leslie Berlowitz, president and chief executive of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences, resigned following reports she had embellished her resume.
In June, The [Boston] Globe had reported that in at least two applications for federal grants over the past decade, Berlowitz had stated she received a doctorate in English from New York University in 1969. …
The nonexistent doctorate was also in a draft of an obituary the Academy prepared for use in the event of her death. The obituary praised her as “a scholar of American literature” who “received undergraduate and doctoral degrees from New York University”.
NYU spokesman James Devitt said the university had no record of Berlowitz receiving a doctorate or completing her dissertation. A resume on file at NYU from when Berlowitz worked there indicated she was still working on her doctorate in the late 1980s or early 1990s.”
(“The end of Leslie Berlowitz’s reign at American Academy of Arts and Sciences – about academic integrity, management style, and?”, September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
The non-existent Ph.D. was the official reason for Berlowitz’s resignation, as a leading academic explained that “academic integrity is what we hold most dearly”:
“Academics typically have little tolerance for people exaggerating their educational credentials. At other academic institutions, people who fabricate degrees have often faced severe consequences. Marilee Jones, a popular admissions dean at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, left in disgrace in 2007 after she admitted falsifying her degrees, and Doug Lynch, a vice dean at the University of Pennsylvania, resigned in 2012 after revelations that he had falsely claimed to have a doctorate from Columbia University.
“In most situations at a university, lying about a professional degree would be grounds for instantaneous dismissal”, said Ronald G. Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute. “In academia, academic integrity is what we hold most dearly.””
(September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
Without a doctoral degree, had Berlowitz cheated to get the top job at one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies and was then unexposed for a long 17 years?
It hadn’t been such a flagrant foul. Prior to the Academy, Berlowitz had been a vice president in charge of fundraising at her alma mater New York University, one of the world’s best private universities, although her untruthful Academy resume also made it appear she had been in charge of academics:
“The NYU record indicates a fast career launch and smooth rise for Berlowitz within NYU, on an administrative track: in 1970 as a graduate student she became an assistant to the Dean, and a year later was on the faculty and 2 years later Assistant Dean for Administration. From 1981 on, she was a university-level executive as Assistant Vice President, Associate Vice President, and Deputy Vice President for Academic Affairs, and in the 1990s prior to moving to the Academy she was Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
Others noticed that her Academy resume had identified herself as former NYU vice president for academic advancement – her most senior NYU position – when it was actually vice president for institutional advancement – management of fund-raising rather than academic programs.”
(September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
So Berlowitz was an elite academic administrator; but her lack of a doctoral degree suggests that she was not an elite scholar.
Reviewing the press coverage, I pointed out that the case involved more serious issues about Berlowitz’s management style:
“Berlowitz also came under fire for harshly treating staffers, micromanaging the Academy’s affairs, barring scholars from viewing the Academy’s historic archives, and receiving an outsized pay package—more than $598,000 in fiscal year 2012 alone for an organization with only a few dozen staffers, several times what her peers at other institutions were paid.
In 1997, the first year at the helm of the Academy, Berlowitz was almost fired because of her heavy-handed management style, according to a former member of the governance council. Robert Haselkorn, a professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology at the University of Chicago, told the press in 2003, “I have been trying to get rid of her for the past seven years.”
Then Academy president Dan Tosteson, a former dean of the Harvard Medical School, had hired Berlowitz in 1997 along with commissioning a strategic plan to transform the Academy into a broader, more diverse national organization. But by 2003 Tosteson and Dudley Herschbach, a Nobel Prize-winning Harvard Chemistry professor, “made a thorough investigation of her performance and found it to be very uneven”, Tosteson said. “Everyone told us the same story”, Herschbach said. “She was an incredibly nasty person who chewed people out in unacceptable ways. She kisses up and kicks down.””
(September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
Berlowitz “was an incredibly nasty person who chewed people out in unacceptable ways”, and “kisses up and kicks down”.
These are damning characterizations of her management style, but they also point to the reality that a rather stern hierarchy must have existed in Berlowitz’s domain of operation so that acting in such manners were useful, or at least meaningful for her.
That hierarchy seemed to be a pro-business one:
“In 2000, Roger Myerson, an Economics professor at the University of Chicago and vice president of the Academy’s Midwest Center, tried to get the council to move Berlowitz out of administration to concentrate on her forte, raising money. Myerson also opposed the appointment of Boston businessman Louis W. Cabot to the Academy’s vice presidency. According to Myerson, “The administration was not being monitored full time by somebody who really cares about scholarship”.”
(September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
So Berlowitz was initially hired for her ability to raise money, especially from the business community, and she then wrestled power toward the latter.
There were more controversial matters, as my post title’s question mark “and?” suggested, regarding Berlowitz’s rule at American Academy of Arts and Sciences, especially her role in the selection of Academy memberships.
Her own induction into the Academy without going through the normal election process, and her taking over the president title traditionally reserved for an honored scholar – an instance of her power grab – were controversial:
“… The 2004 election took place in the spring, but shortly before the October induction ceremony the 17-member governing council decided to add one more name of its own: Leslie Cohen Berlowitz.
The Academy then quietly inserted Berlowitz’s name into the original 6-month-old announcement, making it look as though she had been voted in by the around 4,000 members in the spring. “It was a terrible thing to do”, Stanford University History professor emeritus Peter Stansky, a former council member, said. “It’s a lie.”
An Academy spokesman noted that the council had the option of electing one candidate a year on its own (since increased to two) under the Academy’s bylaws, and that Louis W. Cabot nominated Berlowitz based on her service to the Academy.
In 2009, Louis W. Cabot became chairman of the governing council, and in 2010 Berlowitz consolidated control of the Academy by also taking over the title of president, a position previously reserved for an honored scholar from outside the administration, such as Dan Tosteson who had hired Berlowitz and then tried unsuccessfully to remove her.”
(September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
Berlowitz’s propensity to interfere with the selection and election of memberships was even more controversial, to the point that an Academy member called for a “complete inquiry” into her management:
“Still, some critics felt that Berlowitz had also become overly involved in the member-election process, acting as a gatekeeper for who gets in and who stays out based on her friendships or other reasons. Several former employees said she pushed committees to add or drop candidates, and demanded to see all the ballots before they were tallied by the membership office.
“There needs to be a complete inquiry into how the academy has been managed, across the board, including how the academy chooses fellows”, demanded Jean Strouse, a Biographer inducted into the Academy the same year as Berlowitz.”
(September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
The original press article from which I cited these troubling allegations had cited their sources as Academy members and former staff members, including Berlowitz’s former executive assistant Carla MacMillan:
“Some academy members and former staff members worry that Berlowitz has become overly involved in the process, acting as a gatekeeper for who gets in and who stays out based on her friendships or other reasons.
Several former employees said Berlowitz pushed committees to add or drop candidates. And Berlowitz demanded to see all the ballots before they were tallied by the membership office, recalls former executive assistant Carla MacMillan.”
(“Academy’s council added its chief to honoree list: 2004 selection, executive’s role in annual process draw criticism“, by Todd Wallack, June 18, 2013, Boston.com)
As quoted, Berlowitz acted as a gatekeeper deciding “who gets in and who stays out based on her friendships or other reasons”, and demanded to see all the ballots before they were officially tallied.
I hope she did not purposefully falsify or even destroy some ballots in order to enforce her decisions on “who gets in and who stays out”!
Under Berlowitz, the Academy grew increasingly fond of granting honors to wealthy business persons and corporate executives, often for their donations to the Academy:
“… She helped to energize a once-sleepy institution by stepping up fund-raising and launching new initiatives, such as modernizing the categories of fellows, including adding the fields of Computer Science and Philanthropy.
During that time, the number of business executives and philanthropists inducted annually rose from roughly 7 to 11, including philanthropist Teresa Heinz Kerry, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and former Liberty Mutual chief Edmund F. Kelly. In fact, for 5 of the Academy’s 6 biggest donors, accounting for more than 1/3 of the $39 million the Academy raised from 2006 to 2010, either they were inducted into the business and philanthropy category or their foundation heads were.
For example, Boston Scientific Corp. cofounder Peter Nicholas, who became a member in 1999, gave $2.4 million during the period. John Cogan, a Boston investment executive who joined the Academy in 2005, gave $1.9 million. And Gershon Kekst, who founded a prominent Wall Street communications firm and was elected in 2006, gave $1 million through his family’s foundation.
“Honoring the mere accumulation of wealth taints the honor of authentic achievements in the arts and sciences”, said James Miller, former editor of the Academy’s scholarly journal, Daedalus. “It’s supposed to be an academy, not a highfalutin club for the leisure class.”
An Academy spokesman, however, noted that the institution has always included business leaders. Ray Howell said that philanthropists and business leaders are typically among the most generous donors for nonprofits, but he declined to say who picked the executives to appear on the Academy’s ballot or what criteria they used. Several members said they did not know either.”
(September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
As quoted, a former editor of the Academy’s scholarly journal opined that the academy should not be a “highfalutin club for the leisure class”, but the Academy spokesman explained that business leaders had traditionally been included – that is, before the Philanthropy category (and also Computer Science) was added under Berlowitz.
Even so, the criteria for membership selection were not open, and as quoted earlier could be “based on her friendships or other reasons”.
The 2012 selection of a prominent wealthy businessman, Sanford “Sandy” Weill, drew scorching criticism from journalist Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief of Truthdig:
“In 2012, Hillary Clinton, Melinda Gates and Sanford “Sandy” Weill, a prominent New York businessman and corporate executive, were among the new members of the Academy.
Honorary Chairman of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, a nonprofit forum of CEOs and Chairpersons, Sanford Weill and his wife Joan had donated more than $800 million to non-profit organizations, especially for healthcare, including to Weill Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Noted political journalist Robert Scheer became really indignant about this one, writing:
“How evil is this? At a time when two-thirds of U.S. homeowners are drowning in mortgage debt and the American dream has crashed for tens of millions more, Sanford Weill, the banker most responsible for the nation’s economic collapse, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
So much for the academy’s proclaimed “230-plus year history of recognizing some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders.” George Washington, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Albert Einstein must be rolling in their graves at the news that Weill, “philanthropist and retired Citigroup Chairman,” has joined their ranks.
Weill is the Wall Street hustler who led the successful lobbying to reverse the Glass-Steagall law, which long had been a barrier between investment and commercial banks. That 1999 reversal permitted the merger of Travelers and Citibank, thereby creating Citigroup as the largest of the “too big to fail” banks eventually bailed out by taxpayers. Weill was instrumental in getting then-President Bill Clinton to sign off on the Republican-sponsored legislation that upended the sensible restraints on finance capital that had worked splendidly since the Great Depression.
Citigroup went on to be a major purveyor of toxic mortgage-based securities that required $45 billion in direct government investment and a $300 billion guarantee of its bad assets in order to avoid bankruptcy.”
(September 5, 2014, Facebook page History, Culture and Politics)
Scheer’s accusation that “Sandy” Weill was “the banker most responsible for the nation’s economic collapse” has been further reviewed in my September 2014 post. But that is a topic in the politics of business and economics, outside the focus of the current blog article on science, academia and related politics.
I note that, as in Part 2, as a student at the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1960s, Robert Scheer was a leftist political activist connected to mathematics professor Stephen Smale, Berkeley anti-Vietnam War movement leader and later my Ph.D. adviser.
In fact, Sheer was a member of the 1965 Vietnam Day Committee co-chaired by Smale and Jerry Rubin, and was the most ambitious in mainstream politics:
“VDC member Bob Scheer was contemplating a candidacy for Congress in the Democratic primary. Scheer was an intellectual journalist who had visited Vietnam in 1964. His monograph How the United States Got Involved in Vietnam was a VDC-recommended primer on the issues.”
(Steve Batterson, Stephen Smale: The Mathematician Who Broke the Dimension Barrier, January 2000, American Mathematical Society)
Scheer’s most widely-known journalist work is probably a 1976 Playboy magazine interview with then Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, in which Carter admitted to adultery in his heart:
“I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. This is something that God recognizes that I will do–and I have done it–and God forgives me for it.”
(“Hullabaloo Over Lust Lasts 20 Years”, by Robert Scheer, December 17, 1996, Los Angeles Times)
Carter then asserted that he would not be lying and cheating like Richard Nixon or Lyndon Johnson:
“I don’t think I would ever take on the same frame of mind that Nixon or Johnson did–lying, cheating and distorting the truth. . . I think that my religious beliefs alone would prevent that from happening to me.”
(Robert Scheer, December 17, 1996, Los Angeles Times)
As I write this blog post, 90-year-old President Carter, an American Academy of Arts and Sciences member since 1993, is undergoing treatments for skin cancer that has spread to his lever and his brain; but he remains in high spirits, asking God for strength and continuing work at his home church, at the Carter Center, at Emory University where he has been a Distinguished Professor, and at Habitat for Humanity.
(“Jimmy Carter’s cancer fight puts new meaning in familiar message at Sunday school”, by Kathleen Foody, August 23, 2015, U.S. News & World Report; “Jimmy Carter, Fresh Off First Cancer Treatments, Teaches Double Sunday School to Record Crowd”, by Sara Hammel, August 23, 2015, People; and, “American Academy of Arts and Sciences”, Office of the Provost, Emory University)
In the case of the induction of Sanford “Sandy” Weill into the Academy, no doubt Weill’s excellent philanthropy record was a positive factor. But since others have pointed out that Leslie Berlowitz used her friendships as grounds for selection, I would infer that Weill’s induction involved “friendship” that went back a long way.
Berlowitz’s daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Tuttleton, in 2000 married Joseph Richard Arron, son of the late Judith Arron, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall in New York City:
“Sarah Elizabeth Tuttleton, the daughter of Leslie Cohen Berlowitz of Cambridge, Mass., and the late Dr. James W. Tuttleton, was married on Friday to Joseph Richard Arron, a son of Ronald D. Arron of Chappaqua, N.Y., and the late Judith H. Arron. Justice Marjory D. Fields of State Supreme Court officiated in her chambers in New York. Yesterday, Rabbi Leonard Diller led a religious ceremony at the Century Club in New York.
The bride, 25, a cum laude graduate of Harvard University, and the bridegroom, 26, who graduated magna cum laude from Princeton, are in a joint M.D.-Ph.D. program of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Rockefeller University. They are also biomedical fellows…
The bridegroom’s mother was the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, and his father is a violist in the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera.”
(“WEDDINGS; Sarah Tuttleton, Joseph Arron”, July 2, 2000, The New York Times)
Weill Cornell Medical College where Sarah Tuttleton studied for her MD and Ph.D. had been named after Sanford Weill and his wife Joan.
(“Cornell Names Medical College in Honor of Joan and Sanford I. Weill”, April 30, 1998, New York-Presbyterian Hospital)
From 1995 till her cancer death in 1998, Berlowitz’s future late in-law Judith Arron ran a successful Carnegie Hall fundraising campaign under the watchful eyes of Sanford Weill, Carnegie Hall’s chairman:
The cause was breast cancer, Carnegie Hall officials said yesterday.
Ms. Arron presided over probably the most momentous years of Carnegie Hall since its rescue from the wrecking ball in 1960. The exhaustive $60 million renovation of the hall in 1986 happened on her watch, as well as the seasonlong and highly festive centennial celebration of 1990-91.
Ms. Arron used the refurbishment of Carnegie Hall’s smaller Weill Recital Hall as an opportunity to transform it from a rental space to an important venue for events produced by the Hall. …
Under Ms. Arron, the Hall promoted and extended educational programs, with workshops overseen by musicians like Robert Shaw and Pierre Boulez. In partnership with the Hall’s president, the violinist Isaac Stern, and its chairman, Sanford Weill, Ms. Arron began an endowment campaign in 1995 and had raised $87 million to date.”
(“Judith Arron, 56, Who Led Carnegie Hall’s Rebirth, Dies”, by Bernard Holland, December 21, 1998, The New York Times)
Weill has since retired from the Carnegie Hall board of trustees chairmanship in early 2015 and become its president, a title former held by the late legendary violinist Isaac Stern.
(“Perelman to Succeed Weill as Head of Carnegie Hall Board”, by Jennifer Smith, February 19, 2015, The Wall Street Journal)
Billionaire Ronald Perelman took over the chairman position and soon controversies engulfed the organization, over possible past mismanagement:
“But soon after taking the reins at Carnegie, Mr. Perelman began encountering problems. In the letter that he emailed to the board on Wednesday, he wrote that he had initially grown concerned over “an inability to obtain a full picture of Carnegie Hall’s financial operations, especially as it related to profits and losses involving performances,” according to a copy obtained by The New York Times. And he raised concerns about whether Carnegie was adequately vetting transactions with potential conflicts of interest.”
(“Ronald Perelman’s Bitter Departure Shocks Carnegie Hall Trustees”, by Michael Cooper, September 17, 2015, The New York Times)
Elite family networking was natural for Berlowitz, given her former vice-president fundraising role at NYU, located near Wall Street and the Financial District in Manhattan. In the context of Part 2, NYU has included the world famous Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, where in the 1950s the mathematician John Nash hung out and did research work suggested by Louis Nirenberg there, that contributed to the pair’s jointly receiving the 2015 Abel Prize awarded by the King of Norway – and unwittingly to the terrible deaths of Nash and wife Alicia in the devastating last leg of their return.
For me, a more personal case of the Academy’s membership selection that displayed management-centrism was the 2009 induction of Maria Klawe and others.
As mentioned in Part 1, in 2009 I was taken aback to learn that Klawe was appointed a board director of Microsoft Corporation, given the timing of the March 9 announcement – only about 40 days from my political blogging’s start on January 29.
The importance of my first blog article, in two parts, to my blogging has been far more than a start: it was from themes begun in that article that major themes of Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog article have arisen.
My second blog article, a multi-part one, had a significant start in its first Part, dated February 20, focusing on issues of ethics and conduct concerning former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, surrounding the Mulroney-Schreiber affair of 2007-2009 and the Airbus Affair that had become public in 1995. With reasoned arguments, I countered political attempts to brush off the old Airbus Affair and vindicate Mulroney, refuting the punditry of Peter MacKay, son of former Mulroney cabinet minister Elmer MacKay, and cabinet minister in 2009 under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
(“The myth of political vendetta in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Airbus Affair investigation, the politics of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, and some social undercurrents in Canada (Part 1)”, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)
As in Part 1, back in the early 2000s while working in Silicon Valley in California a Microsoft recruiter, Ken Button, had phoned to recruit me to work for Microsoft.
Long before that, in 1994 while in a political dispute with Klawe, then University of British Columbia computer science department head, and in political activism attempting to expose Brian Mulroney’s leadership misconduct, I approached Microsoft’s Vancouver office regarding possible employment and my UBC dispute was noted by Microsoft:
“To shift my focus, [probation officer] Fred Hitchcock introduced me to Nancy Carroll and Katherine Au who could help find volunteer work and employment, but I was more interested in a computer science job. On December 30 Hitchcock told me Microsoft was hiring in Vancouver.
So in the week prior to UBC Hospital’s January 13 final statement of denial of psychiatric oppression, I went to Microsoft Canada’s Vancouver office, left a resume and was later told that it would be kept on file and I would be contacted if the company was interested.
According to Vancouver Police record on January 11, 1994, from January 4 on I “attempted to gain access” to Microsoft office several times and was removed by security. The incident was then reported to police along with background info found from UBC, including: “let go under questionable circumstances”, “RCMP were called to assist in evicting”, and “institutionalized for a short term”. “Additional information” was referred to, but is not in the police report as in the personal-information disclosure.”
(“Team Canada female athletes disqualified from Commonwealth silver medal, jailed Chinese democracy activist awarded with Nobel peace prize, and others in between (Part 9) — when individual activism ranks at oblivion”, October 26, 2012, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
So in 2009 I had reasons to think that when Klawe was made a Microsoft board director in March, a senior level of the company was aware of my political blogging.
About 40 days later in April 2009, Maria Klawe was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
(“Distinguished Professor of Psychology Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences”, April 19, 2009, University of California, Riverside)
On October 9 – exactly 7 months after Microsoft’s announcement of Klawe’s joining its board – American Academy of Arts and Sciences officially announced its October 10 ceremony, with Maria Klawe among those featured in the press release:
“Pioneering research and scholarship, artistic achievement, and exemplary service to society will be celebrated here on Saturday, October 10, as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences officially welcomes its 229th class of new members.
As part of the Induction ceremony, five members of the new class will address their colleagues: ground-breaking mathematician and Fields Medal recipient Terence Tao; Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health Elizabeth Nabel; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California Ronald George; celebrated ballet dancer and choreographer Edward Villella; and former Northrop Grumman Corporation Chairman and CEO Kent Kresa.
The ceremony will also include actor James Earl Jones and singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris reading from the letters of John and Abigail Adams.
“The Induction ceremony celebrates the Academy’s mission and the accomplishments of its newly elected members,” said Chief Executive Officer Leslie Berlowitz. “Through three centuries of service, the Academy and its Fellows have been dedicated to intellectual leadership and constructive action in America and the world.”
The 212 new Fellows and 19 Foreign Honorary Members are leaders in research, scholarship, business, the arts, and public affairs. They come from 28 states and 11 countries and range in age from 33 to 83. They represent universities, museums, national laboratories, research institutes, businesses, and foundations. This year’s group includes Nobel laureates and recipients of the Pulitzer and Pritzker prizes, MacArthur Fellowships, Academy, Grammy, and Tony awards, and the National Medal of Arts.
Among this year’s inductees are geochemist Stein Bjørnar Jacobsen, who used radioisotopes to date the formation of the Earth’s core; U.S. Court of Appeals Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III; authors Gish Jen, Jamaica Kincaid, and James Salter; Civil War historian James McPherson; green technology investor and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Partner John Doerr; Exelon Corporation CEO John Rowe; and actor Dustin Hoffman.
Other new Fellows who will be inducted are mathematician and founder of modern complexity theory Michael Sipser; environmental policy expert Edward L. Miles; innovator in developmental economics Esther Duflo; and university presidents H. Kim Bottomly (Wellesley College), John Casteen III (University of Virginia), Ronald Daniels (John Hopkins University), James Wagner (Emory University) and Maria Klawe (Harvey Mudd College).
This year’s Foreign Honorary Members come from Europe, Canada, and Asia and include microbiologist Lelio Orci; ecologist Spencer Barrett; paleontologist Jennifer Clack; entomologist H. Charles Godfray; Professor of Psychology Claes von Hofsten; economist Mathias Dewatripont; and Hong Kong-based filmmaker Wong Kar Wai.
(“American Academy Inducts 229th Class of Scholars, Scientists, Artists, Civic, Corporate, and Philanthropic Leaders”, October 9, 2009, American Academy of Arts and Sciences)
Reading the announcement carefully, I find it an example of how Leslie Berlowitz gave her thought not only to “who is in and who stays out” in the name mentions, but also to their order in accordance with certain unspoken hierarchy understood by insiders.
Leading the names were 5 inductee speakers for the official ceremony. The first was mathematician Terrence Tao, a Field Medalist with the reputation of a rare math genius, professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and son of Hong Kong immigrants to Australia.
(“Terence Tao: the Mozart of maths”, by Stephanie Wood, March 7, 2015, The Age)
Despite Nobel laureates being among this new class of 212 fellows and 19 foreign honorary members, a Fields Medalist topped the announcement. The Fields Medal is the mathematics community’s highest honor, which my Ph.D. adviser Stephen Smale had received in 1966 as in Part 2. In 1967 Smale was also inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
(“Honors: Steve Smale”, Department of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley)
Of the 5 inductee speakers, Tao was followed by Elizabeth Nabel, a U.S. government research institute director, Ronald George, the chief justice of California, dancer-choreographer Edward Villella, and Kent Kresa, former chairman and CEO of a top U.S. aerospace and military technology company.
Berlowitz’s emphasis on honoring the management is evident: depending on how Nabel is counted, only 2 or 3 of the 5 were artists/scientists, whereas 3 of the 5 were senior management figures.
Elizabeth Nabel has been at several institutions of special interest for this blog article; she is or was:
1) a graduate of Weill Cornell Medical College, i.e., Bewlowitz daughter Sarah Tuttleton’s alma mater named after Sanford Weill;
2) a former professor at the University of Michigan, i.e., the university where Stephen Smale and William Ayers joined leftist student movements, as discussed in Part 2;
3) when inducted into the Academy in 2009, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, a leading U.S. government research institution and funding agency for medical research as quoted in Part 1; and
4) since January 2010, professor at Harvard Medical School and president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a center of the 2014 Haruko Obokata-Charles Vacanti scandal discussed in Part 1.
The last is especially pertinent because, as in Part 1, Japan’s RIKEN institute has conducted investigations, taken disciplinary actions and initiated reforms over its researcher Obokata’s role in the scandal, but Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have not taken any step regarding the conduct of Vacanti, a prominent scientific research leader there who mentored and collaborated with Obokata.
(“Board of Directors: Elizabeth Nabel: President, Brigham and Women’s Hospital”, Broad Institute)
Mentioned after the 5 inductee speakers were 2 entertainment stars who would perform at the ceremony.
The next group were the main samples of the inductees. Mentioned were a scientist, a judge, 3 authors, a historian, an investment firm partner, a corporation CEO, and an actor – 6 artists/scientists versus 3 senior management figures.
Maria Klawe was mentioned in the next group, as the last of 5 “university presidents”, of Wellesley College, University of Virginia, Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, and Harvey Mudd College – Harvey Mudd is not a university but Klawe was not alone as Wellesley College headed the 5.
Taking into consideration political, social and cultural factors, I can interpret the order of these 5 as an order of the 5 institutions: the elite private leading American women’s college, with Hillary Clinton among its alumni and located in New England as the Academy; followed by the public university founded by U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson, located in the Washington, D.C.-Virginia area; then by the elite private first research university in U.S. history, also located near the U.S. capital; then by the elite private academic home of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; and then by the elite private college headed by Klawe.
(“Life with Hillary: Portraits of a Wellesley Grad, 1969”, by Ben Cosgrove, February 15, 2014, Time; “Johns Hopkins Fact Book: Everything you wanted to know about America’s first research university”, March 2015, Johns Hopkins University; “America’s Top Colleges Ranking 2015”, by Caroline Howard, July 29, 2015, Forbes; and, “Short History of U. Va.: Founding of the University”, University of Virginia)
If such an inexplicit, pre-ordained hierarchy of the academic institutions had any significance to the Academy and Berlowitz – I would have to think it had – then America’s bright and industrious young minds would have been attracted to them accordingly, or young minds there would have been moulded industrious and bright accordingly.
That has been true for at least one famous case, Hillary Clinton, in 1969 new Wellesley graduate Hillary Diane Rodham, who was considered so phenomenal that she and 4 other new U.S. college graduates were featured in a June 20, 1969 Life magazine article – even more pre-destined for success than, as in Part 2, MIT professor John Nash at 30 featured by Fortune in 1958:
“Long before Yale Law, before Arkansas, before her marriage to Bill, before the Senate, the White House, her own (first?) run for the White House, the State Department, the “texts from Hillary” meme that just keeps on giving and so many other highlights (and lowlights) of her remarkable life, she was Hillary Diane Rodham, the older sister of two brothers and the over-achieving daughter of loving, politically conservative parents from suburban Park Ridge, Ill.
Intelligent, intensely curious and, from a young age, driven to find a way to somehow contribute to the world around her, Hillary Rodham enrolled at Wellesley College in the fall of 1965. It was there, in Massachusetts, that the moderate Republican underwent her transformation (she might characterize it as “an evolution”) to committed Democrat.
By the time she graduated from Wellesley in May 1969, Hillary Rodham was already such a notable figure that she was featured, along with four other speakers from four other schools — and excerpts from their commencement addresses — in the June 20, 1969, issue of LIFE, in an article titled, simply, “The Class of ’69.”
Her speech was, perhaps not surprisingly, less strident and confrontational than those of the other student speakers quoted in the issue; as early as 1969, Hillary was showing signs of that phenomenal ability to modulate her message — without diluting or compromising it — that helps explain so much of her success in public life. The other student speakers featured in that June 1969 issue included Yale’s William Thompson; Justin Simon at Brandeis; Mills College’s Stephanie Mills, now an author and fellow at the Post Carbon Institute; and Brown University’s Ira Magaziner — a high-profile student activist … Today, Magaziner works for the Clinton Foundation.”
(“LIFE With Hillary: Portraits of a Wellesley Grad”, by Ben Cosgrove, February 15, 2014, Life)
I can similarly interpret the order of the 5 schools as listed above that were featured in Life magazine in 1969, if only to make a point that the arrangement of names in American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ 2009 induction announcement wasn’t a freak and my interpretation of it isn’t a fluke. But sometimes something is better left unmentioned.
Nonetheless, I would point out that Ira Magaziner, the last of the 5 listed above, has been the CEO of and the brains behind the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
(““This Is Not Charity””, by Jonathan Rauch, October 2007, The Atlantic; and, “Top Clinton Foundation Official: “This Is Not Charity””, by Sean Davis, April 28, 2015, The Federalist)
The 5 “university presidents” in the Academy’s 2009 announcement was preceded in the same paragraph by 3 scientists, headed by Michael Sipser, “mathematician and founder of modern complexity theory”.
That to me is also intriguingly interesting, just like the mathematician Terrence Tao heading all names, because complexity theory is a part of theoretical computer science which Maria Klawe’s research has been in, intersecting mathematics.
But I am very perplexed that Sipser was called “founder of modern complexity theory”. Modern complexity theory has been around for well over a decade before Sisper. who studied for his UC Berkeley computer science Ph.D. under Manuel Blum – husband of Lenore Blum mentioned in Part 2 – whose 1964 MIT Ph.D. thesis already had a title in complexity theory, “A Machine-Independent Theory of the Complexity of Recursive Functions”, and whose “contributions to the foundations of computational complexity theory” was honored by the 1995 A. M. Turing Award – computer science’s highest honor – of the Association for Computing Machinery and by his induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that same year.
(“MANUEL BLUM”, A. M. Turing Award, Association for Computing Machinery; “Manuel Blum”, by William L. Hosch, Encyclopaedia Britannica; and, “Michael Fredric Sipser” and “Manuel Blum”, Mathematics Genealogy Project)
Three academics mentioned in Part 1, whom I knew, had done work in complexity theory, all considerably more senior than Sipser in their time in the field: my former UBC colleague David Kirkpatrick – husband of B.C. Supreme Court Justice Pamela Kirkpatrick who in November 1992 collaborated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to suppress my political activism as in Part 1 – Klawe’s husband and my former UBC colleague Nicholas Pippenger, and Richard “Dick” Karp, a friend of Klawe’s and a prominent computer science professor and mentor figure when I was at Berkeley.
Karp was the Turing Award winner and an inductee of the Academy in 1985 – 10 years ahead of Sipser’s adviser Manuel Blum.
(“Richard Manning Karp”, by William L. Hosch, Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Pippenger received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1973 – 7 years before Sipser from Berkeley – with a thesis title, “The Complexity Theory of Switching Networks”.
(“Nicholas John Pippenger”, Mathematics Genealogy Project)
The most junior of the three, Kirkpatrick, received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1975 with a thesis title, “Topics in the Complexity of Combinatorial Algorithms”.
(“David Galer Kirkpatrick”, Mathematics Genealogy Project)
So it is unlikely that Michael Sipser was “founder of modern complexity theory”.
Karp, Sipser and Pippenger co-wrote a paper in complexity theory that appeared in 1988 in Journal of Computer and System Sciences, titled “Expanders, randomness, or time versus space”.
(Sanguthevar Rajasekaran and John Reif, Handbook of Parallel Computing: Models, Algorithms and Applications, 2007, CRC Press)
An odd man out among these mentioned, and unlike even his wife inducted as a university president, Pippenger is not an Academy member – Kirkpatrick isn’t either but he is not of a leading status in the field – despite that he was a prestigious IBM fellow while working there, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Association for Computing Machinery, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and American Mathematical Society.
I recall a comment by Beresford Parlett, a UC Berkeley professor in mathematics and computer science, that on one occasion Pippenger and Klawe presented seminar talks at Berkeley and the faculty formed the impression that Pippenger was ‘two notches” above Klawe.
Having had some basic familiarity with the research and lecturing by each at UBC, I would have to agree that Pippenger’s work was considerably more substantial, in technical depth and in scientific relevance.
As previously quoted in Part 1, in 1980 while teaching at the University of Toronto, Klawe’s marrying Pippenger brought her into the corporate world, where she then rose in the management hierarchy:
“… When they announced their engagement, “IBM Research was so afraid of losing Nick that they made me an offer to join either Yorktown Heights or a new theory group in San Jose.” Klawe and Pippenger married in May 1980 and moved to California in July.
… In 1985, she was promoted to head all mathematical research within the computer science division at what became the IBM Almaden Research Centerr—leading what was regarded as one of the three best theoretical computer science research groups in the world …”
(“Maria M. Klawe: Welcoming the Excluded”, by Trudy E. Bell, Fall 2012, The Bent of Tau Beta Pi)
While at IBM Research in the 1980s, Pippenger and Klawe did some research together, including with my future UBC colleague David Kirkpatrick and with H. James Hoover, a University of Toronto Ph.D. student, later computing science professor and department chairman at the University of Alberta – Klawe’s alma mater as in Part 1.
(Raymond Greenlaw, H. James Hoover and Walter L. Ruzzo, Limits to Parallel Computation : P-Completeness Theory, 1995, Oxford University Press; “CURRICULUM VITAE: MARIA M. KLAWE”, February 7, 2014, Harvey Mudd College; and, “Department History”, Department of Computing Science, University of Alberta)
But now her academic management role has brought Klawe much farther ahead of her scientist husband in societal honor and media recognition: induction by American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, and Fortune magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders at No. 17 in 2014 as in Part 2.
The seeds for the great surge in honor and recognition for Klawe had been planted in Canada. Back in March 2009 when she was elevated to Microsoft’s board of directors, Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper noted that it was a transplanted Canadian with many honorary Canadian university degrees:
“The latest addition to Microsoft Corp.’s board of directors is a transplanted Canadian who was once dean of science at the University of British Columbia. … Ms. Klawe spent 14 years at UBC as a computer science professor and administrator. Ms. Klawe previously taught at the University of Toronto and holds honorary degrees from five Canadian universities.”
(“Microsoft names Canuck to its board of directors”, by Matt Hartley, March 12, 2009, The Globe and Mail)
I am not aware of any honorary degree for her scientist husband Pippenger.
As for Michael Sipser, currently MIT dean of science, he was head of the MIT mathematics department from 2004 to 2014 – the position once held by former Communist Party member Ted Martin, who in that role took part in suppressing John Nash’s political activism in 1959 as in Part 2.
(“Michael Sipser”, Department of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
As the Academy under Leslie Berlowitz gave great priority to honoring the management, it could be a reason that its 2009 induction announcement exaggeratedly described Sipser as “founder of modern complexity theory”, namely that his MIT department head position warranted the Academy’s consideration but was not senior enough to secure his entrance – unlike Klawe’s “university president” position.
In addition, MIT is located near Harvard, on the property ground of which the Academy has been housed, and thus closer to the Academy in both proximity and elite perspectives than even Wellesley College.
(Todd Wallack, June 18, 2013, Boston.com)
The Academy was originally founded during the American Revolution by John Adams and other Harvard graduates:
“… [American Academy of Arts and Sciences ] was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, John Hancock, and other Harvard College graduates as Boston’s answer to Benjamin Franklin’s American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.”
(“No record of academy head’s doctoral degree: Where deeds are honored, one is in doubt”, Todd Wallack, June 4, 2013, Boston.com)
I can further interpret the subgroup of names in the Academy announcement paragraph that included Sipser and the “university presidents”, as an expanded hierarchy including the 5 institutions represented by their presidents: starting with an MIT department head, followed by a senior professor – Edward L. Miles – of the University of Washington, the leading university of a state named for the founding U.S president and located where Microsoft Corporation is, then by a more junior MIT professor – Esther Duflo – and then by the order of the presidents of the 5 universities/colleges interpreted earlier.
With the math genius Terrence Tao of Hong Kong immigrant parental origin topping the 2009 announcement, in what looked like a balancing act the last of all the names – in the last group that was foreign honorary members – went to the only Hongkonger mentioned, “Hong Kong-based filmmaker Wong Kar Wai”.
The selection and placing of names in this Academy induction announcement formed a carefully thought out, socially “appropriate” yet highly preferential hierarchy, that overwhelmingly favored the management class: not counting the foreign honorary members, there were 11 featured as in senior management, and 13 – including Michael Sipser – not described as in management.
Add to the existence of such an hidden hierarchy structure the fact that a special and prominent new foreign member was omitted in the mention, and the bias exhibited in this 2009 induction announcement by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences under Leslie Berlowitz was evident: Nobel Peace Prize laureate, former South African president Nelson Mandela.
When the new members were elected in April 2009, many academic institutions reported the election of their own faculty members and mentioned some others, variously. For instance, the University of California, Riverside, mentioned a more detailed sample of new members, including Klawe, than the Academy’s October 9 announcement, while the University of Texas at Austin mentioned only a small number, without Klawe. But both mentioned Mandela, as well as another new member the Academy might want to avoid controversy about: then U.S. secretary of defense Robert Gates.
(April 19, 2009, University of California, Riverside; and, “University of Texas at Austin engineer elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences”, April 22, 2009, University of Texas at Austin)
No wonder in 2013 so many Academy members and former staff members had so much to complain about their strong-willed chief executive.
Having worked for several years under Maria Klawe I am well aware of her sense of academic hierarchy, social class and business orientation. American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ honoring of her under Leslie Berlowitz in 2009 in the manner revealed by my review above, gives a context for a review of issues about Klawe’s academic management as well.
In Part 2 I have discussed the year-2000 illness deaths of both Alain Fournier and Peter Cahoon, 1989 founding faculty member and founding researcher, respectively, of UBC’s computer graphics field, expressing concern about the unusual coincidence of the timing.
Recently, I came across the “In Memoriam” page of UBC computer science department and noticed that Cahoon is not included in the tributes for Prof. Hugh Dempster (1928 – 2002), Fredrick (Rick) Sample, Prof. Alain Fournier (1943 – 2000), Prof. Jim Kennedy (1928 – 2004), and Prof. John Peck (1918 – 2013).
(“In Memoriam”, Department of Computer Science, University of British Columbia)
The “In Memoriam” does not only memorialize late professors since former computer facility manager Rick Sample is on the list. On the other hand, Sample had a master’s degree but not a Ph.D. that Cahoon had.
I am sure the omission is not an oversight. But could it be a “who gets in and who stays out” decision, like Leslie Berlowitz’s at American Academy of Arts and Sciences, because Cahoon was not a faculty member or a manager?
I should clarify that I have had genuine respect for Rick Sample, whose untimely death I discussed in a March 2011 blog post:
“Those who follow the development of Canadian internet may know John Demco, sometimes touted as “the godfather of .ca”, but few in the public know Rick Sample, John’s talented, all-around superior over twenty years ago, because Rick was soon dead – in a murder case that would go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and yet end with no one held responsible for the crime.”
(“Team Canada female athletes disqualified from Commonwealth silver medal, jailed Chinese democracy activist awarded with Nobel peace prize, and others in between (Part 3) – when violence and motive are subtle and pervasive”, March 29, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
Of particular interest in the Sample murder case is the fact that the accused killer, Sample’s former UBC student roommate Barry James Evans, was former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer’s son, who on the day of Sample’s death took a commercial flight with a handgun aboard from Calgary, Alberta, to visit Sample in Vancouver, and Sample was killed by that gun. No one has been held responsible for the murder as a jury-acquittal decision at the B.C. court was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Nonetheless, I have no obvious facts to support the guess that academic hierarchy propriety is behind a ‘Sample is in and Cahoon stays out’ situation for the “In Memoriam” page, since I had left the department long before Cahoon’s death and had not been an insider while there. Given that Klawe had left UBC in 2003 as in Part 2, it obviously isn’t her decision as of now.
But when it comes to Alain Fournier, there were more known facts with which I can reason that a “stays out” decision may well have been applied to him regarding press coverage, when he was the founding faculty member of the trendy computer graphics field in UBC from 1989 to 2000, when Klawe was regularly in the major Canadian newspapers not only for her management role but in relation to UBC computer graphics.
In the fall of 1988 soon after our arrival at the UBC computer science department, she and her husband professors, she also the new head, and I an assistant professor on a fixed term, Klawe began her ambitious efforts to start and build up a computer graphics group.
Bill Reeves, a Canadian animator at Pixar whose credits included an Oscar for the short film “Tin Toy”, was invited to visit, with Klawe telling us that her goal was to convince Reeves to come as the founding professor for computer graphics. Reeves came and gave a talk, but understandably did not express interest in a job. Nonetheless, a part of the story was told by Klawe to the press, reported in The Province newspaper and as quoted below in The Ottawa Citizen, in November 1989:
“Days before a delicate operation, a fledgling neurosurgeon goes through the paces by watching an expert perform the procedure.
Instead of looking over the veteran doctor’s shoulder, though, the novice watches a computer simulation on TV — from a vantage point inside the patient’s skull.
Across town, an engineer wants to see how his 100-storey skyscraper would hold up in an earthquake. He presses a button and an animated model of the building on his TV monitor begins to tremble and sway.
It’s scenes like those that computer scientists at the University of British Columbia and IBM Canada hope will result from a new $5-million joint project.
IBM has contributed $1 million in equipment and know-how to start the project, appropriately called Grafic, short for graphic, film and computers project.
Maria Klawe, a former IBM researcher, said the idea of the project came to her after she talked to Canadian computer scientist Bill Reeves, one of the key men involved in creating Tin Toy, a computer-generated feature that won an Oscar in 1988 for animation.
Reeves worked closely with former Disney animator John Lasseter in developing Tin Toy, considered one of the most advanced examples of computer animation ever created.
“Talking to Bill, it made realize that our society needs exactly this kind of interaction in many areas where computer animation graphics can have an enormous impact,” said Klawe, head of the faculty of computer science at the University of British Columbia.
“We want to broaden the applications. We think by doing this we will also drive the technology in the same way the film industry has driven animation by their needs. We’ll drive it by applications to medicine, to education, to architecture.”
(“IBM teams with university in $5M computer project; confusion reigns when calculating charges”, by Michael Bernard, November 27, 1989, The Ottawa Citizen)
In short, inspired by Bill Reeves as she stated, Klawe wanted to build up computer graphics in the mode of Pixar animation, aiming to “drive it by applications to medicine, to education, to architecture”, with a $5 million joint project with IBM which gave a $1m contribution “in equipment and know-how” to start “Grafic, short for graphic, film and computers project”.
The IBM funding demonstrated Klawe’s clout with her former employer. In fact, for their first year at UBC Klawe and Pippenger were on sabbatical from IBM where Pippenger was an IBM fellow, something she often emphasized.
The above press story mentioned only two names, Maria Klawe and Bill Reeves. But what experts were there at UBC to actually start the field? Alain Fournier had arrived in 1989.
Fournier moved from the University of Toronto after his wife, Adrienne Drobnies, had received a job offer at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver; while not an original expert in animation, Fournier had collaborated with Bill Reeves on a special project:
“Upon graduation he returned to Canada, and accepted a position in the Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto. The main attraction, beside the overall distinction of the department, is that there was a well established computer graphics lab. Ron Baecker, covered animation to user interface, and Bill Buxton just finished his pioneering work in computer music, plus many other things. It was thrilling to have the best of both worlds, not only a solidly established environment but also an opportunity to create a modelling/rendering lab. In addition, there was access to some of the best graduate students anywhere. In the 9 years there, he had the chance to supervise four remarkable Ph.D. students, Delfin Montuno, John Amanatides, Eugene Fiume and Avi Naiman, plus 9 Master students.
During this time span, many interesting things happened: the apparition of John Danahy and his vision for landscape architecture, the creation of Alias, the collaboration with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation through Catherine Richards. At some point in the mid-eighties the Toronto Lab became one of the more prolific producers of SIGGRAPH papers along with Caltech, Cornell and Lucasfilm.
Alain Fournier spent 2 years on leave from Toronto from 1985 to 1987. The main reason was to be with Adrienne Drobnies. The side-effects were to spend a year at Stanford, teaching graduate courses there and at UC Santa Cruz, and another year at Xerox PARC, mainly enjoying the surroundings, writing papers and trying to write a book. During that period he collaborated with Bill Reeves at Lucasfilm on work on the modelling of ocean waves. The most important event of that period is nevertheless the birth of Ariel, his daughter, in March 1987.
… Then something unexpected happened. In the spring of 1989 Adrienne Drobnies had a job offer from Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and he enquired about the prospects around Vancouver. He had some indications that computer graphics at UBC was one of the areas they wanted to build. Having decided to move (reluctantly leaving Toronto) he found himself in this rare situation where more was delivered than was promised. With the generous support of the department and the University, and with two Ph.D. students making the move with him, there soon was a productive lab (which they called Imager) where there was nothing before in the department. …”
(“Alain Fournier: 1994 Achievement Award”, CHCCS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, Graphics Interface)
Back in 1987 at the University of Toronto, Fournier’s name had been mentioned in a Toronto Star newspaper story on computer graphics and landscape design applications:
“All the agony about our beautiful harborfront vision being wiped out by highrises to make a few people rich could have been avoided, electronic experts say, if the city had been smart enough to do what the national capital planners did.
There was a construction plan for prime land in Ottawa, too – to put up federal office buildings on Parliament Hill, behind the Centre Block. They would be gleaming new, of course. Certainly not an eyesore. And big, because they had to house a lot of people. It all looked good.
Then John Danahy walked in with his computer screens and killed the whole idea.
The program Danahy had written let his computers put an electronically generated picture of the rear of Parliament Hill on a color TV screen. But this was not just any picture. The user could play with the controls to see what the view would be for tourists, looking toward the Hill from either side or from across the river in Hull. It was like being in a helicopter, able to move around and see from almost any angle or elevation.
And at the touch of a button, the computer would put the new offices into the picture or take them out.
What this showed – and what had not been fully grasped by the people looking at all the paper drawings before – was that from a lot of angles, buildings that big, in that spot, would block most if not all of the view of the Centre Block, or the Supreme Court, or even the architecturally exquisite Parliamentary Library. Aesthetically this would have been a great leap backward. It wouldn’t have done the tourist trade any favors, either.
The federal decision-makers learned fast. They agreed on a plan to scatter the offices among several new small buildings, nestled innocuously among the structures that have given the Hill its character and history.
Danahy is one of the whizzes who keep building the reputation of the University of Toronto’s departments of electrical engineering and computer science, which together created its Computer Systems Research Institute. The institute runs the Dynamic Graphics Project. There are lots of other whizzes there, including William Buxton, Ronald Baecker, Alain Fournier. They are helping turn what used to be mechanistic-looking computer graphics into something that comes closer and closer to movies.
Danahy is a landscape architect. He’s not even a computer scientist, technically; he’s in the research institute to find ways to use computers better. His idea here is to let people see more effectievly how a landscape will look before it exists, to eliminate the risk of unhappy surprises after they spend millions building it.
The U of T computer programs let you “walk” through such a landscape or “fly” over it. They’ll even let you move 10 or 20 years into the future, to see if the little bare trees you’re thinking of planting today would block or enhance the view from any angle after they get big and leafy.
The Parliament Hill story is not the only example of how well this has worked. Ontario Hydro wanted a big new power line to get some of the electricity it’s now able to generate at its Bruce nuclear station down south where it can be used. …”
(“How computers can prevent landscape eyesores”, by Jack Miller, May 11, 1987, Toronto Star)
A computer graphics professor with prior press mention on a computer graphics project with applications in landscape design in the heart of Canada’s capital Ottawa, while at the University of Toronto that had launched Klawe’s computer science career and connected her to Nick Pippenger and IBM, as discussed in Part 2 – so why wasn’t Fournier a steal, if not a jackpot, to share the press spotlight with Klawe in UBC’s launch of its computer graphics field in 1989?
I have to read carefully to point out a few subtle but important points that might be behind Fournier’s omission for the press in Vancouver:
1) According to his biography for the 1994 Achievement Award of the Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society, quote earlier, Fournier’s specialty At U of T had been “creating a modelling/rendering lab”, while someone else, Ron Baecker, was an animation expert;
2) his collaboration with Bill Reeves at Lucasfilm in the mid-1980s had been on some special effects only, “work on the modelling of ocean waves”;
3) he was away in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1985 to 1987 when the Toronto Star story on John Danahy’s landscape design applications appeared in May 1987, and thus mostly likely was not as active in that project as the others mentioned; and
4) the U of T project described in Toronto Star was probably not yet bona fide animation as in movie-like, but multiple-view modeling of scenes.
The above points are consistent with the early facts at UBC: UBC’s first computer graphics lab founded by Alain Fournier and Peter Cahoon was named “Imager”, whereas the IBM-funded project Klawe announced was “Grafic, short for graphic, film and computers project” – with the word “film” in it.
At that point in late 1989 as I recall, Kellogg Booth of the University of Waterloo in Ontario had visited UBC, given a talk and showed the interest to move there in 1990:
“This got even more exciting the following year when Kelly Booth showed an interest in joining him, and making it into one of the biggest and best labs in North America. Largely through the efforts of Maria Klawe, IBM Canada decided to give to UBC nearly $1M worth of graphics workstations, and this plus matching funds from the province of British Columbia created GraFiC (Graphics and Film in Computing), a lab dedicated to the development and use of computer animation for research, education, scientific visualization and communication. GraFiC works in synergy with Imager, and participated in projects resulting in more than 40mm of animation with more than 15 different departments, individual and groups outside of UBC.”
(CHCCS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, Graphics Interface)
The last quote from Fournier’s 1994 award biography said quite succinctly: Kellogg Booth came in 1990, with Klawe’s efforts GraFiC was created with funds from both IBM and the provincial government, and “GraFiC works in synergy with Imager, and participated in projects resulting in more than 40mm of animation with more than 15 different departments, individual and groups outside of UBC” – the broader applications came from animation by GraFiC more than from Imager.
Booth was not an animation expert either, as far as I knew, but he was a senior leader figure in the computer graphics field. Several months before the Toronto Star story mentioning Fournier, a January 1987 The Globe and Mail story, originated from The New York Times, mentioned Kellogg Booth:
“Electronic animation is not yet a huge commercial success, though. Its usage is still measured in minutes per film or broadcast, said Kellogg Booth, chairman of the Association for Computing Machinery.”
(“Film animation making forays into TV”, New York Times News Service, January 8, 1987, The Globe and Mail)
The Association for Computing Machinery, the main international organization for computer science previously mentioned in the context of the A. M. Turing Award, had been founded at Columbia University and has been based in New York City.
(“Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)”, Encyclopaedia Britannica)
But in the 1980s Booth was not chairman of ACM – there probably wasn’t such a position – but of ACM SIGGRAPH, i.e., ACM’s special interest group on computer graphics; so he likely knew everyone who was anyone in that field, as his 2010 ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Service Award biography described:
“Kelly’s first leadership role in ACM SIGGRAPH was in 1981 when he chaired an ad-hoc committee that made policy recommendations about the conference technical program. This began more than a decade of continuous service at the highest level in the organization. Kelly served on an ACM committee that recommended comprehensive changes to how SIG conferences should be managed. In 1983 he served as co-chair for the SIGGRAPH Conference. He was then elected to the position of ACM SIGGRAPH Chair in 1985, serving in that role until 1989. He helped guide the organization and the conference through a period of extraordinary creativity and growth in the field of computer graphics and interactive techniques, working to put in place a three-year budgeting cycle to ensure financial stability.”
(“2010 Outstanding Service Award: Kellogg S. Booth”, ACM SIGGRAPH)
So it was a plausible scenario that in late 1989 the only UBC computer graphics faculty member Fournier wasn’t enough for Klawe’s goals and the better connected senior figure Booth hadn’t arrived, and so Klawe chose to talk about herself and Bill Reeves only, given Reeve’s name recognition with an Oscar and given – I would think, with Klawe’s computer industry experience and ambition – Pixar’s ownership by the magical tech whiz Steve Jobs, who had acquired it from Lucasfilm for $5 million:
“Although Steve Jobs is best known for his role as the CEO of Apple, he also played a huge role in turning film company Pixar into a multi-billion-dollar success.
After Jobs was ousted from Apple in 1985, he bought Pixar (at the time called Graphics Group) from Lucasfilm for $5 million. He became the company’s largest shareholder and CEO until Disney bought it for $7.4 billion in 2006.”
(“Why execs from other companies wanted to meet with Steve Jobs on Fridays”, by Jillian D’Onfro, March 22, 2015, Business Insider)
By the time Jobs sold it to Disney, Pixar was a $7.4 billion company, in 2006 as quoted, the year Klawe became Harvey Mudd College president as in Part 1.
A recent Harvey Mudd anecdote also corroborates this scenario, namely that Maria Klawe much preferred Pixar, or at least industry-level animation. In 2013 the college completed a new central academic building, and the ceremony’s main feature was Pixar animation lead researcher Tony DeRose:
“Harvey Mudd College spokeswoman Judy Augsburger said the four-story interdisciplinary teaching and collaborative learning building has a ceremony planned for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28. The event, at 320 E. Foothill Blvd., will feature Tony DeRose, senior scientist and research group lead for Pixar Animation Studios, giving a presentation and building tours.
“The R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning has transformed the Harvey Mudd campus,” said President Maria Klawe in an email. “Now it will transform the educational experience through open, flexible spaces that will support our curriculum, while nurturing the tremendous creativity of our students, faculty and staff. The building is already becoming the central gathering place for the campus community, where we work and play, share ideas and, together, enrich the Harvey Mudd educational experience.””
(“First classes held in new building at Harvey Mudd College”, by Wes Woods, September 8, 2013, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
Perhaps not unlike with Leslie Berlowitz at American Academy of Arts and Sciences, when I was at UBC the message seemed to be that Maria Klawe could made decisions the way she wanted even though she wasn’t at the top, because she was the ‘only’ woman; a 1990 press story mentioned her as UBC science faculty’s only female department head, and quoted dean of science Barry McBride – as in Part 1 he later helped Klawe crush my political activism:
““Science and technology are going to have a more and more pervasive influence on our lives in future,” says Barry McBride, dean of science at the Univeristy of B.C. “The public has to become more knowledgable if it is to make informed decisions.”
“The educational system is like a big tanker in the ocean,” says Science Council [of Canada] official Gene Nyberg. “It takes a long time to turn it around.”
Canadian universities, which have for years lamented the lack of female scientists in the country, do not move too quickly either.
The University of B.C. science faculty has only one female department head, Maria Klawe in computer science.
The university is planning a major push in future. A female associate dean of science is soon to be appointed to promote women in science at all levels, from elementary schools through to universities, says McBride.”
(“Science awareness is still evolving”, by Margaret Munro, March 3, 1990, The Vancouver Sun)
In a sense, it was unwittingly predicted that my 1991-1992 challenge of Klawe’s management was going to be difficult.
When Kellogg Booth arrived in 1990, he became the director of the university’s Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre, or MAGIC. Here is a The Province story in December 1994 – after I had left UBC – featuring MAGIC director Kellogg Booth on medical applications at B.C. Children’s Hospital, i.e., workplace of Fournier’s wife mentioned earlier:
“It can be a six-hour operation to bare the spine of a young girl suffering from idiopathic scoliosis and to insert the fasteners and steel rods needed to correct worsening curvature.
Operating-room teams at B.C.’s Children’s Hospital have been taking stereo pictures of exposed spines as part of a research project.
The hope is that by building a library of images and using these as the basis for the three-dimensional modelling of spines on computer screens, it may be possible to gain an improved understanding of how individual cases should be handled.
“You can only go in once,” says Dr. Kellogg Booth, director of the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC) at the University of B.C.
“It is not something you can redo, so everything which contributes to the knowledge of surgeons is important.”
MAGIC –which is not concentrated in one computer laboratory but dispersed between several faculties — has computer animation tools it can use to create and manipulate models of spines in an effort to see how they will respond to different surgical solutions.
“The payoff will come if we can understand a deformity well enough to know which of a number of corrective surgical procedures is the most appropriate to use,” Booth says.
Booth says patients could submit to CT (computerized tomography) scans to yield computer-malleable images that may influence how surgery is performed, but research is still at too early a stage for this.
Children’s Hospital has a high-capacity data link with UBC, and researchers at both sites can work with the same images on their screens as they collaborate.
UBC has an internal network of fibre-optic lines and the necessary advanced switch gear to permit the heavy data flows needed to support video, data and audio exchanges between researchers both on and off campus.
In a similar exercise, work is under way at UBC to build up facial muscle on model skulls created on the screen.
This is part of a larger effort co-ordinated by the RCMP to use computers to reconstruct identifiable faces from skulls or skull fragments and replace conventional forensic modelling in clay.
“If you saw the movie Gorky Park, you will remember how they built up the musculature and skin on clay heads,” Booth says.
It is vital for patients and their families to have realistic expectations of outcomes, Booth says.
“You may do something very good, but if it falls short of expectations, then you may have caused deep disappointment.””
(“Working MAGIC: Computer images aid corrective surgery”, by Mark Wilson, December 22, 1994, The Province)
So Booth not only was a computer graphics group leader above Fournier, responsible for university-level interdisciplinary work and broader applications, but got to make all the press presentations on the medical applications at Adrienne Drobnies’s hospital – I wonder how it might feel to Alain Fournier’s sense of manhood.
Still, I note that The Province was provincially focused, without the national exposure of the capital newspaper The Ottawa Citizen, in both of which the November 1989 story of Klawe’s inspiration by Bill Reeves and getting IBM’s $5m contribution had appeared.
By this time of late 1994, Klawe herself had made a big leap into video game, which was a part of the computer graphics field in academic research.
In an April 2012 blog post, I commented on its timing in early 1993, in the context of my expanding political activism onto the leadership conduct of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney:
“5 Days after Mulroney’s resignation announcement, on March 1 Canadian newspapers began to report that Maria Klawe would be heading an $8 million, 24-person, American-Canadian research project funded by the Electronic Arts company, into the educational values of video games. According to Klawe, even violent video games like Street Fighter 2 were good for teaching children because they allowed “mental experience” difficult with pen and paper and cheaper than computer.”
(“Team Canada female athletes disqualified from Commonwealth silver medal, jailed Chinese democracy activist awarded with Nobel peace prize, and others in between (Part 7) — when legal and judicial prudence means the powerful is right”, April 30, 2012, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
What I cited as above was a The Vancouver Sun story. But even the Toronto Star, which had mentioned Fournier in a 1987 story quoted earlier, now featured Klawe’s new video game project, GEMS (Games for Education in Math and Science):
“Some parents look at the Super Nintendo game Street Fighter 2 and see the evils of macho violence and weapons worship.
Maria Klawe sees a way for teachers to give a lesson on how biologists fight diseases.
She’s co-ordinating a Canadian-U.S. team of computer scientists, teachers, education professors and commercial-game producers that will look for ways schools can plug into children’s fascination with video games.
“Why video games? They’re part of children’s culture,” Klawe says.
“And they really allow for certain types of mental experience that are very difficult with pen and paper. They’re also a lot cheaper than computers.”
Her GEMS (Games for Education in Math and Science) group, a team of 24 people, will spend $8 million on several years of research.
Its goal is to:
* Find ways for teachers to use existing video games to explain ideas to the Grade 4-7 set.
* Create video games to help children use even more sophisticated calculations.
* Design video games appealing to both children who are already experts and those who aren’t part of the game-playing group, particularly girls.
Klawe, head of the University of British Columbia’s computer science department, is the mother of two video game players. She’s the kind of person who goes to schools and uses her juggling skills to explain math and science.”
(“Study aims to tap games’ power to teach”, March 6, 1993, Toronto Star)
Video game is more dynamic and technologically more challenging in user interactivity than animation alone, which itself is already more dynamic than image modeling. In this sense, in one leap into the field Klawe landed at a spot “two notches” trendier than Fournier’s – no doubt the $8m Electronic Arts funding, more than IBM’s $5m in 1989, was the key.
But Klawe had social and political goals, which she outlined in a magical vision that gave her project 3 political flavors of her interest: education, mathematics, and bringing girls into game playing.
On October 1 the next year – 2 months before the The Province story on Kellogg Booth’s MAGIC center and B.C. Children’s Hospital – another Toronto Star story on Klawe’s video game research project reported progress for an Electronic Arts computer game, Counting on Frank, teaching mathematics and attracting girls to it in a culturally old-fashioned way:
“In the macho, do-or-die world of electronic games, some people are waking up to the fact that girls just want to have fun, too.
Bloodshed and bullets now dominate video screens. Even a best-selling hand-held game is marketed as, ahem, Game Boy.
But soon games of aggression will share space with ponies and castles in an electronic world offering more girl-oriented products.
Maria Klawe, head of computer science at the University of British Columbia, led a research project over the past year that looked at helping the computer industry evolve to attract more females.
“If you look at the market now, video and electronic games are much more attractive to boys and embody boy culture,” Klawe says.
Females make up just 20 per cent of undergraduates in computer studies at Canadian universities, and there’s a disproportionate number of men to women in computer-related careers.
Rena Upitis, associate professor of education at Queen’s University in Kingston, says girls tend to lose interest in math and science before reaching high school.
Klawe and her team, along with software developers at Electronic Arts Canada, worked with thousands of 8- to 12-year-olds to find out how games might be more girl-friendly.
Paul Lee, vice-president of Electronic Arts Canada, says the company’s producers and designers are just now opening their eyes to the gender gap.
“We really didn’t understand how to appeal to girls.”
Electronic Arts’ new educational game, coming to stores in November, was created with the help of the research. Counting on Frank is a CD-ROM game that teaches math through a story about a boy named Henry, his friend Ginger – a smart and not subservient female – and their adventures in a house.”
(“Computer game makers turn to girls”, October 1, 1994, Toronto Star)
Another year later in November 1995, Klawe was now a UBC vice president and “a leading expert on using video games in teaching”; a research assistant of hers produced computer software for teaching geometry to children:
“Educational research shows interactive video games teach math more effectively than traditional exercises. The only catch is that the learning doesn’t just happen by itself, says Maria Klawe, a leading expert on using video games in teaching.
“You can’t just park your kids in front of the computer and tell them to have fun,” said Klawe, vice-president of academic and student services at the University of British Columbia. “It’s not a Band-Aid for education. It’s an opportunity to do better.”
After 18 months studying the impact of computer games on learning, Klawe and a team of classroom teachers are convinced educational videos — not your average hero-and-villains games — can do a lot to improve math skills, even in children who have little or no computer experience.
The reason is part magic, part method.
For example, one of Klawe’s research assistants has developed computer software to teach three-dimensional geometry. With it, students can examine shapes from all sides and also see what happens when they make changes like rotating or flipping the images.”
(“Specialized video games ‘more effective’ in teaching children math”, by Susan Balcom, November 3, 1995, The Vancouver Sun)
Klawe became not only regularly featured in the major press, but also a part of the media one more year later in November 1996, as a member of a CHUM Television advisory board along with Raminder Dosanjh, wife of Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh in B.C. Premier Glen Clark’s government, helping Toronto-based CHUM get a license to start a Vancouver station:
“Premier Glen Clark was politically motivated when he supported a Toronto-based firm’s bid for a Vancouver television licence, says B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell.
Clark took the unusual step of publicly supporting CHUM Ltd. at Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearings in Vancouver in September.
Raminder Dosanjh, wife of B.C. Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh, is on the 11-member CHUM advisory board pushing for the licence.
On Tuesday, Ujjal Dosanjh referred all questions on the issue to his wife. Raminder Dosanjh, who heads India Mahila Association, a B.C. Indo-Canadian women’s group, could not be reached.
In September, after a meeting between Clark and CHUM Ltd. executive producer Moses Znaimer, Clark took the rare step of endorsing the VTV bid in a videotaped message played before the CRTC.
Pia Shandel, a member of the CHUM Ltd. team pushing for the VTV licence, said the Dosanjh link is overblown and denigrating to Raminder Dosanjh’s qualifications.
Others on the unpaid board include Maria Klawe, vice-president of the University of B.C., Jill Bodkin, the former chair of the Vancouver Board of Trade and author Peter C. Newman.”
(“Clark took ‘care of his friends’ in TV bid: The wife of the B.C. attorney-general is on the unpaid CHUM advisory board pushing for a Vancouver license”, by Jim Beatty, November 20, 1996, The Vancouver Sun)
As I have remarked in Part 1, the socialist B.C. premier Glen Clark had smart business brains, later in 1998 having Maria Klawe give a keynote speech in his provincial business summit.
By March 1997, Klawe’s research project, now called E-GEMS (Electronic Games for Education in Math and Science) with the word “electronic” added in front, led to a specialized computer game, Phoenix Quest, for teaching math in a way girls would enjoy:
“Computers are playing an increasing role in almost every aspect of adult life, but girls still seem to think “this is something that boys do well at and girls don’t,” says Maria Klawe, vice-president of student and academic services at the University of B.C. and director of UBC’s Electronic Games for Education in Math and Science (E-GEMS) project.
One problem is that most software still addresses “boy” themes such as action, adventure, violence and fantasy. “It is likely to make girls think of computers as a boy domain,” Klawe said.
Her research has shown that girls prefer programs with a storyline, characters, creativity and social interaction.
E-GEMS is testing Phoenix Quest, a remarkable interactive computer game it developed that incorporates math into themes and activities that girls enjoy. It is aimed at children aged 10 to 14.
“We’ve ended up with something that’s appealing to both girls and boys,” Doug Super, a member of the E-GEMS project, said
The game features a story about Julie, a 14-year-old girl from Sooke who falls through a crack in rocks near Hong Kong.
Players read portions of the story, written in journal form by British Columbia children’s author Julie Lawson: “You have passed through the time beyond time. Passed the borders of today and the edges of yesterday. Be calm. Be strong. You have entered the Phoenix Archipelago.”
Artificial personality software developed by E-GEMS member Richard Gibbons analyzes the communication and mails a response.
(“How to get girls into the world of computers”, by Jenny Lee, March 12, 1997, The Vancouver Sun)
Klawe no longer spent time in her previous theoretical computer science field, but ran the E-GEMS lab as reported in a The Globe and Mail story that appeared at the end of March 1997, about the character Julie in Phoenix Quest:
“Julie Steele is a 14-year-old who likes pizza, Mel Gibson, tennis and volleyball. She prefers rock music to rap and likes math because “it’s so nicely self-contained.”
Likes Math? Self-contained?
Julie seems very bright, but she’s also getting plenty of help from her personality trainer, Richard Gibbons, who has entered her in the 1997 Loebner Prize Competition in Artificial Intelligence.
Mathematician Maria Klawe runs the E-GEMS lab when she’s not tending to her duties as the university’s vice-president of student and academic service.
“There is a lot of software out there, but it’s hard to show any real learning occurring.” she said. “There are tons of computer games out there that boys like to play, but few that girls like.””
(“UBC researcher hopes computer seems human”, by Greg Joyce, March 31, 1997, The Globe and Mail)
On April 29, E-GEMS member Richard Gibbons placed 3rd at the 1997 Loebner Prize Contest in New York City.
(“1997 Loebner Prize Contest Results”, rev. April 30, 1997, loebner.net)
In May, Klawe received a Women of Distinction Award from the Vancouver Young Women’s Christian Association:
“Maria Klawe. Theoretical computer science researcher at the University of B.C. Initiated e-gems, which developed computer games for mathematics education. Held national and international posts in math and
computer science. Winner in the Science and Technology category.”
(“Women of Distinction honored by YWCA”, May 16, 1997, The Vancouver Sun)
Maria Klawe still a “theoretical computer science researcher” at this point, as reported?
Klawe’s official resume at Harvey Mudd College shows that her last theoretical computer science research paper, collaborated with B. Mumey, was published in 1995, and thereafter papers were about electronic games, learning and education, and female participation.
(February 7, 2014, Harvey Mudd College)
During my 4 years at UBC, Brendan Mumey was the only graduate student Klawe produced, earning a Master’s degree, but Klawe’s current resume doesn’t even list him as her former student.
During that 4 years Klawe taught only one course once – a graduate course jointly taught with me, which I mentioned in a May 2011 blog post:
“The first 3 years of funding for my job had come from the B. C. Advanced Systems Institute, secured by former Department Head Jim Varah who then headed UBC’s Centre for Integrated Computer Systems Research. Klawe’s arrangement for the 4th year included our co-teaching a graduate course – her first teaching work as a busy Department Head.”
(“Team Canada female athletes disqualified from Commonwealth silver medal, jailed Chinese democracy activist awarded with Nobel peace prize, and others in between (Part 4) — when power and control are the agenda”, May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
In fact, Klawe’s resume shows that she became an IBM Research manager in 1984, then in 1985 published her last individually authored paper while at IBM, and then only one individually authored paper in the 4 years I was under her at UBC, with a conference proceeding version in 1990 and a journal version in 1992.
To be fair, that one paper at UBC was the core of her lectures in the graduate course co-taught with me – during my 3rd year at UBC, but as a part of the arrangement with her that got me the 4th year job – and I found it to be technically very solid, of theoretical interest.
In the next 10 years before moving to Princeton in 2003, Klawe produced several master’s students in electronic games and learning, according to her official resume. In the games field she also produced a Ph.D. student, Kamran Sedighian in the E-GEMS project designing math games for children, with thesis, “Interface style, flow, and reflective cognition: issues in designing interactive multimedia mathematics learning environments for children”; and with Kellogg Booth she co-produced another Ph.D. student Kori Inkpen, designing learning environment for children, with thesis, “Adapting the Human-Computer Interface to Support Collaborative Learning Environments for Children”.
(“Adapting the Human-Computer Interface to Support Collaborative Learning Environments for Children”, by Kori Inkpen, August 1997, University of British Columbia; and, “Interface style, flow, and reflective cognition: issues in designing interactive multimedia mathematics learning environments for children”, by Kamran Sedighian, February 1998, University of British Columbia)
In her resume, Klawe also claims to have co-supervised another Ph.D. student, Kate Collie, in visual-art activity therapy for cancer patients. But Collie’s 2003 Ph.D. thesis, “A narrative view of visual creative expression as psychosocial support for women with breast cancer”, acknowledged only Joan Bottorff as the research supervisor, and Klawe as one of other 4 members of the supervisory committee; a supervisory committee is required for every Ph.D. student and a committee member is normally not considered a supervisor.
(“A narrative view of visual creative expression as psychosocial support for women with breast cancer”, by Katharine Rosemary Collie, 2003, University of British Columbia; and, February 7, 2014, Harvey Mudd College)
Coming back to the press coverage of Klawe in 1997, by the fall, UBC vice president Maria Klawe also became a “prestigious chair” – borrowing the term in Part 2 describing a University of Chicago professorship offer to John Nash in 1958 – UBC’s new chair for women in science and engineering:
“Dr. Maria Klawe, University of B.C.’s new chair for women in science and engineering, is one of the women featured in this year’s HERitage mag put out by the Ministry of Women’s Equality for history month.
Klawe is developing computer programs designed to spark girls’ as well as boys’ interest in math and to inspire them to seek careers in computer science.”
(“Women celebrate their HERitage: Canadian Women’s History Month 1997 is dedicated to women in science and technology”, by Jeani Read, October 21, 1997, The Province)
As the above story suggested, sparking girls’ interest in computer games for learning math could “inspire them to seek careers in computer science”. This upgrade of the 3rd of her initial goals for E-GEMS, stated in a March 1993 Toronto Star story quoted earlier, no doubt would suit her better for her new academic chair.
On March 8, 1998, 29-year-old Kori Inkpen, who had received her Ph.D. in 1997 supervised by Klawe and Booth jointly, was featured in a The Province story:
“There are few women teaching computer science in universities. Joining their slight number is Kori Inkpen, 29, who takes up a post as an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in the fall.
Inkpen completed a PhD at UBC last year. Her thesis is on child-computer interactions and is based on research done in 10 Vancouver- area schools.
Currently, Inkpen is at the University of Washington in Seattle, researching the use of virtual-reality technology to improve collaboration between young students sharing computers.
UBC vice-president Dr. Maria Klawe says Inkpen is set to become a real star in her field. Inkpen says Klawe and Dr.Kellogg Booth, who both supervised Inkpen’s PhD work, were invaluable mentors.
Klawe is an evangelist for an expanded role for women in the information-technology sector. Inkpen preaches a similar message, taking it to the schools as a volunteer speaker. …”
(“Technology”, by Mark Wilson, March 8, 1998, The Province)
Good for Kori Inkpen who was at the age when I received my Ph.D., and she was becoming an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University. Back in 1988 I had received an SFU job offer as well but opted for UBC, as mentioned in my November 22, 2009 blog post:
“And then of course I went to work in Vancouver, though choosing UBC instead of the adjacent Simon Fraser University in Burnaby – a top Canadian university in education nowadays but in those days probably not as famous as the city being where Justine Bateman’s “Family Ties” brother Michael J. Fox had grown up and attended school – high school, mind you.”
(““Nairobi to Shenzhen”, and on to Guangzhou (Part 1)”, November 22, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)
I get a sense from the March 1998 press story that the technology at the University of Washington in Seattle where Inkpen was doing research, was even trendier than Klawe’s electronic game: it was virtual reality.
Today Inkpen is a research group manager at Microsoft. Brendan Mumey, Klawe’s master’s student in theoretical computer science, received his Ph.D. also in 1997 from that leading university in the state named for the founding U.S. president.
With the upgrade of her goal from bringing girls into video-game playing to inspiring them “to seek careers in computer science”, in the Inkpen press story Maria Klawe was now called “an evangelist for an expanded role for women in the information-technology sector”. In other words, her new UBC chair for women in science and engineering made Klawe an ‘ordained preacher’, with Inkpen a volunteer preacher as in the press story.
In this sense, eventually in March 2009 when Klawe became a board director of Microsoft Corporation, she ascended to the top of an empire that has reigned over the computer technology world in the state of Washington and beyond.
But that would happen one step at a time. In the fall of 1998 Klawe became UBC dean of science and it was a news item – her previous vice president appointment had not been one – in The Vancouver Sun, the major B.C. newspaper with national exposure:
“Maria Klawe, a theoretical computer science researcher at the University of B.C., has been appointed dean of the university’s faculty of science.
Klawe was previously UBC’s vice-president for student and academic services. Before that, she was head of the department of computer science for six-and-a-half years.
Klawe initiated e-gems, which are used to develop computer games for mathematics education.
She has held national and international posts in math and computer science.”
(“UBC: Computer researcher named science dean”, August 27, 1998, The Vancouver Sun)
Maria Klawe still a “theoretical computer science researcher”?
Oh well, I guess a person of her high position – as in Part 2, she had chaired American Mathematical Society’s board of trustees in 1995-1996 – could claim whatever at UBC.
As remarked in Part 1, it was a step down from her vice presidency for student and academic services, but the deanship was an academically more prestigious post and would position her well for her later Princeton deanship.
The UBC science deanship gave Klawe broader authority to actually get more women into computer science. She immediately implemented a 2-year program adopted by both UBC and SFU – obviously already planned as she just became dean – to train university graduates in computer programming, attracting some of them from outside of science, with half of the spots reserved for women; she also started a programming project to appeal to girls, “virtual family”, featuring a cartoon family of four:
“Maria Klawe, Dean of Sciences at the University of British Columbia and expert in the different skill sets and needs of boys and girls in relation to the wired world, offers more solutions.
In September, UBC and Simon Fraser University introduced a two-year post graduate computer science program designed as a hands-on experience.
Applicants had to have good academic records, but not necessarily in the sciences. Also 50 per cent of the 38 spots were reserved for women.
“So far, it’s been a very stressful experience for these students. But we did manage to position a program to get women to apply,” Klawe says, adding that it’s too soon to know who will survive the course.
Klawe is also working on a project designed to make programming more attractive to teenaged girls. Using Java, a popular computer language, program developers are creating activities that appeal to girls. For example, one program features a cartoon family of four. The girls interact with the virtual family and write scripts for them. One story line starts with the premise the daughter has pierced her belly button.
“The girls can change the script and write in their own version of mom’s, brother’s and dad’s reactions,” Klawe explains. “The idea is to get them right inside the program and to demystify the mechanics.”
Another initiative that Klawe hopes will encourage girls to take computer science would be the breakdown of the traditional divide between arts and sciences faculties. She thinks, if there were a cross-over between the
disciplines at universities, this would make it easy for girls to take English and computer courses at the same time.”
(“Women on the Web Wired women; The tech world has long been a bastion of male dominance. But not for long – that is, if these gals get their way”, by Donna Jean MacKinnon, March 4, 1999, Toronto Star)
Through this decade-long period 1989-1999, as I have reviewed Maria Klawe was regularly featured in the provincial and national press, for bringing industry funding to UBC computer graphics and electronic game projects, and for making the trendy video game field the focus of her research leadership tailored to attract girls in the areas of learning, math, and games and computer programming; Kellogg Booth was in the provincial press a couple of times, for computer graphics medical applications at Children’s Hospital, i.e., workplace of Fournier’s wife, and for co-supervising a female Ph.D. with Klawe.
But in the Canadian major newspaper archives I have found no trace of UBC computer graphics professor Alain Fournier, until a May 8, 1999 letter to The Vancouver Sun from an Alain Fournier in Vancouver, whom judged by the letter’s content was my former UBC colleague. The full letter is as follows:
“It is always comforting to see some honesty and courage where you do not necessarily expect it. Your May 1 story “Empire of hype” by Katherine Monk in the Mix section was a welcome drop of sanity in an ocean of hype. Not being especially a fan of Katherine Monk’s movie reviews (after all, movie critics are here to disagree with) and having tremendous admiration and respect for George Lucas and his accomplishments, I was not prepared for that.
Your reviewer made exactly the right points. This is only a movie — there are many important issues around the fact that many Canadians, mostly educated and trained here, work for the U.S. industry in computer graphics, animation, games and special effects. The amount of control George Lucas and his organization is exerting is indeed frightening. Using Godzilla as a reminder of what could go wrong was a very nice touch — it seems that only the big dead lizard can actually scare them at this point.
Reality is always more complex than fiction. Control can be good if it forces theatres to give viewers the best possible quality of image and sound. Control is bad if you threaten employees with dismissal for speaking to the media, or threaten journalists implicitly with dire retribution if they do not toe the line.
I am not looking forward to the June interviews (the “second wave”) telling us how wonderful it is to work for the creative genius and how the company appreciate the excellent training they got back in Canada. And yes, I am looking forward to see The Phantom Menace(TM).”
(“Menace in Phantom’s marketing”, Alain Fournier, May 8, 1999, The Vancouver Sun)
Without being explicit, Fournier in effect outlined his order of importance of the subjects in computer graphics, as quoted above:
“… many Canadians, mostly educated and trained here, work for the U.S. industry in computer graphics, animation, games and special effects.”
Indeed like in my earlier analysis, animation was more than graphics, games were even more. But “special effects” were the most – Fournier must be thinking about the ocean-wave modeling he had done in the mid-1980s with Bill Reeves at Lucasfilm, that it should have given him higher value at UBC.
While expressing his “tremendous admiration and respect for George Lucas and his accomplishments”, in his letter Fournier clearly intended to criticize the negative side of influence and control by George Lucas and his company, that it was “indeed frightening”:
“… Your May 1 story “Empire of hype” … was a welcome drop of sanity in an ocean of hype. …
… The amount of control George Lucas and his organization is exerting is indeed frightening. Using Godzilla as a reminder of what could go wrong was a very nice touch — it seems that only the big dead lizard can actually scare them at this point.
… Control is bad if you threaten employees with dismissal for speaking to the media, or threaten journalists implicitly with dire retribution if they do not toe the line.”
Did Fournier have a personal axe to grind when mentioning, “threaten employee with dismissal for speaking to the media, or threaten journalists implicitly with dire retribution if they do not toe the line”? As I have reviewed in detail, since moving to UBC in 1989 he was given no press exposure at all, in sharp contrast to Maria Klawe and Kellogg Booth, for computer graphics.
Fournier also made clear in his letter that he was not fond of working at Lucasfilm, though he would like to see “The Phantom Menace”:
“I am not looking forward to the June interviews (the “second wave”) telling us how wonderful it is to work for the creative genius and how the company appreciate the excellent training they got back in Canada. And yes, I am looking forward to see The Phantom Menace(TM).””
Fournier sounded hostile.
“The Phantom Menace” was the latest Star Wars movie being released, named “Episode I” because its storyline went back in time. Here is an excerpt from Janet Maslin’s movie review in The New York Times on May 19, 1999:
“Things look dicey for the new “Star Wars” crew when their undersea craft is threatened by a large aquatic critter. But then an even mightier beast appears, and it swallows up the first. “There’s always a bigger fish,” observes the Jedi sage Qui-Gon Jinn, speaking for more than marine life on the planet Naboo, where the sequence takes place. That description also sums up the earthly atmosphere into which George Lucas’s pathologically anticipated “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” arrives today.
… Nobody, not even camp followers ready to turn this souped-up “Star Wars” into the second coming of the Grateful Dead, wants to be sick and tired of a film before it hits the screen.
It goes without saying that those scenes also work hard to have kiddie appeal. “You mean I get to come with you in your starship?” exclaims pint-sized Anakin Skywalker, the prepubescent who will grow up to be Darth Vader and who is the new film’s most pandering creation. … Anakin seems to be here mostly to try out the film’s many toys. Only in the bland conception of Anakin is “The Phantom Menace” really undermined by its own innate boyishness. There’s no hint of the future in him, though the audience knows this is one high-pitched voice that’s really going to change.
… Whether dreaming up blow-dryer-headed soldiers who move in lifelike formation or a planet made entirely of skyscrapers, Mr. Lucas still champions wondrous visions over bleak ones and sustains his love of escapist fun. There’s no better tour guide for a trip to other worlds. Bon voyage.”
(“Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999) FILM REVIEW; In the Beginning, the Future”, by Janet Maslin, May 19, 1999, The New York Times)
Once upon a time Alain Fournier had been a George Lucas “camp follower” working with Bill Reeves at Lucasfilm, but in May 1999 he probably felt more like a “blow-dryer-headed soldier”, only “pathologically” looking forward to seeing The Phantom Menace.
I certainly feel resonance with Fournier’s criticism of ‘bad control’ that threatened employees with dismissal for speaking to the media, given the experiences of my UBC dispute with Klawe and the Canadian justice system’s suppression of my political activism to expose wrongs, as mentioned in Part 1.
But I was a pretty small fish compared to Fournier, and presumably he was to another.
In the mid-1990s there was one short TV news segment I saw that had a few seconds of appearance by Alain Fournier, showing computer graphics-generated, impeccably photographic images of the old Yuan-Ming imperial palace and gardens of China. Some of the images can be found on UBC Imager lab’s website.
(“The Main Imager Gallery”, April 12, 1996, Imager Laboratory, University of British Columbia; “Modeling of Rocks and Ornamental Garden Stones”, by Christopher J. Ellefson, April 1997, University of British Columbia, Pierre Poulin, Département d’informatique et de recherche opérationnelle, Université de Montréal)
In a 2010 blog post on the history of Christianity in China, I mentioned some of the Jesuit missionaries’ roles in the 18th-century imperial China, including helping design the unprecedented Yuan-Ming palace and gardens – an infusion of Eastern and Western architectures and cultures:
“Over a century after Matteo Ricci’s arrival in Beijing, in the early 18th century Father Giuseppe Castiglione (郎世宁, Lang Shi-ning) arrived at the imperial court of Qing. Born in the year 1688 in which Ferdinand Verbiest died, Castiglione was an accomplished artist when he went to China. Infusing his knowledge of Western arts and architecture with the Chinese arts and architecture, Castiglione became an imperial-palace painter, depicting several generations of emperors, their palaces and their lives in grandeur.
Castiglione also helped design the Yuan-Ming Palace (圆明园) – finally an ambitious imperial palace with rich architectural styles from both the East and the West!”
(“Bangkok to Kwangtung, and back to America (Part 1) – Opening China to Christianity”, February 19, 2010, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
The Yuan-Ming Palace, or Yuan-Ming Garden, was burned to ruins during the Second Opium War of 1860. Prior to his death, in January 2000 a research group led by Alain Fournier published a paper on their goal to recreate a digital version of the Yuan-Ming splendours:
“… Translated into English, Yuan Ming Yuan means “the Garden of Perfect Brightness.” In October 1860, at the peak of the Second Opium War (also known as the Arrow War), the British and French joint army set Yuan Ming Yuan on fire. The garden of gardens was burned to the ground in one of the worst acts of cultural vandalism in recorded history. To bring Yuan Ming Yuan back to life, we’re building a digital version using computer graphics.
Emperor Kang Xi started Yuan Ming Yuan’s construction in the early Qing dynasty around 1700. Six generations of Qing emperors took 150 years to finish it. In its heyday, it covered 350 hectares and included more than 100 scenic sites ( Figure 2), hundreds of lakes interconnected through waterways, 2,000 architectural structures, millions of pieces of furniture and precious objects, and countless plants, trees, rocks, animals, and birds from all over the country. Yuan Ming Yuan was more than an imperial playland, it was the largest and richest museum China ever had.
Decades of work by scholars in China and the rest of the world has produced much research material on Yuan Ming Yuan. For example, researchers have discovered more than 1,000 pieces of blueprints of the original garden plan. During Yuan Ming Yuan’s construction, architects built small miniature models for the emperor’s approval. Many of these models still exist in the Forbidden City Museum.
We believe we can produce a meaningful reconstruction of Yuan Ming Yuan so that people can glimpse its original beauty, the imperial life, and its history, even if the digital version doesn’t fully match the original.”
(“Envisioning Yuan Ming Yuan (Garden of Perfect Brightness)”, by Lifeng Wang, Christine Wang and Alain Fournier, January/February 2000, Volume 20, Issue No. 1, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications)
That sounded a very ambitious goal to start the New Millennium for peace, perhaps more so than the American Mathematical Society’s January 2000 publication of a biography book on my Ph.D. adviser Stephen Smale and his anti-war political activism as in Part 2, though the two were of contrasting political colors.
Whatever it was that he might feel his “drop of sanity” was not accorded fairly in “an ocean of hype”, and whether his “looking forward to see The Phantom Menace” implied anything hostile, when Fournier wrote to The Vancouver Sun it was only a little over a year before he would die of cancer.
On May 17, 1999, 9 days after publishing Fournier’s letter, The Vancouver Sun reported the successfully sale of a UBC educational software company, WebCT, to a Massachusetts-based educational software company, quoting Klawe’s appraisal that the new company “has a chance to be one of the university’s most successful spinoff companies, rivalling QLT Phototherapeutics and its light-based drug delivery systems”:
“A University of B.C. spinoff company that dominates the world market for on-line teaching software is being bought by a U.S. competitor.
However, WebCT Educational Technologies Corp. will remain in Vancouver and its staff will immediately double from 35 to 70.
Its software is used by about 700 universities and colleges in 36 countries to deliver on-line courses to about two million students.
WebCT is being bought by Universal Learning Technology of Peabody, Mass. The deal was closed last week and the announcement was to be made today.
WebCT founder and president Murray Goldberg, a UBC computer science instructor, began work on the software in 1995, and demonstrated it at a conference in Paris in mid-1996.
UBC computer sciences dean Maria Klawe said she thinks WebCT/ULT Canada has a chance to be one of the university’s most successful spinoff companies, rivalling QLT Phototherapeutics and its light-based drug delivery systems.
UBC retains ownership of the technology and will collect licensing fees and the company’s local growth will help fuel B.C.’s high-tech economy.
Klawe recalled Goldberg as a top graduate student in 1988, who later became an instructor with “the highest teaching evaluations I’d ever seen.”
She encouraged him to put his computer systems expertise together with his teaching strength “and do something in education technology.” A year later he obtained a grant to put one of his courses on-line.
He realized that process was “sort of a pain,” Klawe said, and decided to create tools to make it easier. The result was WebCT, which even professors not particularly computer-literate found they could use.
Klawe called Goldberg “one of the nicest, most energetic and brightest people I’ve known. This could not have happened to a more deserving individual.””
(“UBC spinoff software firm bought by U.S. competitor: WebCT educational technologies to remain in Vancouver, doubling size of its staff to 70”, by William Boei, May 17, 1999, The Vancouver Sun)
Clearly in the view of “computer sciences dean” Maria Klawe, medical applications were greater but an educational application for ease of use was good – with or without “special effects”, I can sense.
Klawe’s words that no one was “more deserving” than UBC computer science instructor and founder of WebCT, Murray Goldberg, stood in stark contrast to what Kellogg Booth had said in December 1994 on medical applications at B.C. Children’s Hospital, previously quoted:
“You may do something very good, but if it falls short of expectations, then you may have caused deep disappointment.”
Booth’s language may have sounded like the mafia’s, but Klawe had big ambitions for computer science’s applications, and for computer graphics to move in the direction of animation and video game. The lack of press coverage for Alain Fournier could mean that Fournier’s “very good” research might not meet that kind of “expectations”.
The hierarchical view that Klawe most likely held, ranked animation above high-quality images, and interactive games further above, for UBC computer graphics; and for UBC computer science more generally, it ranked user applications above scientific research per se, and medical applications further above.
Not unlike the unstated hierarchy exhibited by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences under Leslie Berlowitz’s leadership in its 2009 induction announcement, various external considerations outweighed traditional academic merits.
The money generated by applications was doubtlessly a key factor, as illustrated by the various press stories’ emphasis on Klawe’s obtaining industry funding, much like Berlowitz’s emphasis on honoring business and philanthropy and, especially, contributions to the Academy.
Shortly before Alain Fournier’s death, in July 2000 a UBC controversy came to the press, regarding a special bonus pay only for faculty members in the computer science department and the computer and electrical engineering department:
“Professors in two University of B.C. departments will receive immediate bonuses, averaging $25,000, to keep them from leaving for more lucrative positions in the private sector and other academic institutions.
Faculty members in the computer science and the computer and electrical engineering departments will be given the payout, which could become an annual bonus.
While the university has, in the past, given bonuses based on merit to individual faculty members, it has never singled out whole departments for special pay.
The payout has generated anger among faculty members in other science departments, such as zoology, chemistry, physics and botany, who will not get similar raises.
“A university is not a dot.com company,” said Donald Fleming, a senior chemistry professor upset about the proposed pay raises. “A university is a collection of people dedicated to the idea of basic research.”
Fleming, a nuclear chemist who does research at the Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF), considers it grossly unfair to create a separate pay scale for professors who could earn far more money in the private sector.
If UBC gives extra rewards to people in commercially hot fields, it devalues those doing excellent research in areas where there is little market pressure, he said.
“If I were in the department of English, I would tell the university to shove it.”
Fleming said he recognizes that market pressures make it hard for UBC to retain top-flight people in computer science. But he said there are other ways to keep them, such as making it easier for them to do outside consulting.
Another professor, who fears reprisals for speaking out, said all science departments are under pressure and are losing faculty to competitors willing to pay more. By creating divisions within the science department, collaborative efforts collapse.
“There are people in different faculties working on projects with people who are in departments that are getting raises,” he said. “What does that say about the worth of these collaborations?”
Michael Davies, head of the computer and electrical engineering department, said there is an immediate need to recruit more faculty and retain the existing teaching staff.
Universities in Alberta and Ontario are planning major expansions to their computer departments, said Davies. UBC must keep up or risk losing its standing among major Canadian universities.”
(“UBC faculty angered by bonuses for computer science, engineering profs”, by Petti Fong and Rebecca Wigod, July 12, 2000, The Vancouver Sun)
As quoted, computer and electrical engineering department head Michael Davies openly spoke of the need for the bonus, to retain good faculty members in the face of strong competition among Canadian universities; no computer science department person was cited, probably because the science dean, obviously a decision maker, was already from that department.
On the opposition side, one faculty member was cited saying it would create division among science faculty, but he stayed anonymous because he “fears reprisals for speaking out”; only one faculty member, nuclear chemist Donald Fleming, was named in expressing opposition, stating, “A university is not a dot.com company”, “A university is a collection of people dedicated to the idea of basic research.”
As dean of science Maria Klawe kept a low profile amid the heated debate, stating she would answer questions at a later meeting, letting the university’s acting director of public affairs handle the media:
“In an e-mail sent to dozens of faculty members in science departments, science dean Maria Klawe said she will answer questions about the increases at a meeting Thursday.
In the last year, the two departments have lost eight faculty members, an unacceptably high number, according to Debora Sweeney, UBC’s acting director of public affairs.
“The market for computer specialists has grown dramatically and suddenly, and it’s a trend that’s going to continue,” Sweeney said Tuesday. “We value all of our faculty, but we recognize the salary differential in certain fields has resulted in a higher market demand.”
The University of Toronto has given average bonuses of $22,000 to its computer faculty members each year since 1997, she said. The University of Washington in Seattle has increased wages for some of its computer
professors by 22 to 99 per cent.
The $1.375 million for the bonuses will come from royalties received from the university’s industry liaison office.
Sweeney said the bonuses still need to be approved by the faculty association.
In the association’s June newsletter, president Norma Wieland, who is out of town, wrote that the administration cannot unilaterally respond to market pressures that are luring computer scientists away from UBC.
Collective bargaining, she said, is the only process by which salary money at UBC can be distributed to faculty members.”
(Petti Fong and Rebecca Wigod, July 12, 2000, The Vancouver Sun)
As quoted, the decision needed the approval of UBC faculty association, and its president Norma Wieland had expressed opposition, stating that collective bargaining was the only process by which salary money could be distributed to faculty members.
As for Maria Klawe’s role, I note that, the special-bonus decision for faculty members in these two departments was consistent with her outlook of the academic hierarchy as reviewed earlier, i.e., her outlook was computer-industry influenced and applications dominated. In this case, the bonus money would come from UBC’s industry liaison office.
I also note that several months earlier on April 3, 2000, Klawe had been quoted in the press over UBC offering extra-high starting salaries to new computer science faculty members in order to compete with the University of Toronto:
“The University of B.C. recently offered two assistant computer science professors an extra $20,000 a year to lure them to its campus.
UBC dean of science Maria Klawe said the University of Toronto is brutal competition. It offers computer science professors — who are aggressively wooed by industry — starting salaries of $85,000 or more.
UBC pays its young scientists starting salaries of $63,000 to $67,000, but Klawe said it recently made job offers in the $85,000 range to two prospective assistant professors of computer science.
“There is just no way we would be able to get these people without going that high,” she said.”
(“Universities up ante in battle to attract top academic talent”, by Rebecca Wigod, April 3, 2000, The Vancouver Sun)
Clearly, Klawe wanted to extend the extra pay to all faculty members in computer-related fields, but encountered opposition from other science faculty members.
To be fair, the desire for better compensations on the part of computer scientists was not limited to UBC, as the same press story on the bonus controversy also quoted SFU computer science department head Jim Delgrande:
“The computer science department at Simon Fraser University will be asking for comparable bonuses, said its head, Jim Delgrande.
“Faculty retention and renewal is our number one problem,” Delgrande said. “We haven’t had any salary increases in B.C. in a number of years and, with salaries skyrocketing, we’re forced to compete and we can’t.”
Invariably, academics in areas such as commerce, medicine and computer science must draw larger salaries than their counterparts in social sciences, he said.
“People in philosophy spend heaps of time on their research and do really neat stuff, but the system is always going to have an intrinsic amount of injustice.”
Among Canadian universities, UBC pays, on average, the second highest salaries. Full professors earn about $96,000.
At the University of Toronto, the country’s largest university, full professors earn $102,743.
At comparable American institutions, salaries could be 10 per cent higher, before the exchange rate is considered.
Paying some specialties more money to avoid losing them to the private sector is shortsighted, said Jim Turk, the executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.
“It’s hard to predict what is going to be of value,” said Turk. “There are all sorts of disciplines that have turned out to have importance but no commercial factor, like people who do research into child poverty, social
(Petti Fong and Rebecca Wigod, July 12, 2000, The Vancouver Sun)
As quoted, Jim Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, also expressed opposition – this was the same Canadian organization where William Bruneau, former UBC faculty association president who dealt with my dispute in August 1992, once served as president as quoted in Part 1.
As promised, 2 days later dean of science Maria Klawe gave her explanations in a “closed-door meeting”, i.e., reporters not allowed, to a group of faculty members from departments not receiving the bonuses. Klawe did not seem to clarify the bonus decision from her dean’s management position, but rather stated that as the dean she was not eligible for the money even though her husband was; ironically, rather than pursuing the real controversy the press story focused on this secondary matter, “UBC science dean won’t get controversial $25,000 bonus”:
“University of B.C. science dean Maria Klawe said Thursday she won’t be eligible for the bonus UBC wants to give its computer science professors.
Klawe, a professor of computer science, raised the matter herself during a closed-door meeting in which she explained the controversial bonuses to dozens of faculty members who won’t be getting them.
Some professors in other science departments say the plan is inherently unfair. Chemistry’s Donald Fleming said it will “destroy the university” if it goes through. His colleague Brian James said, “I think it’ll cause incredible chaos.”
At the meeting, from which reporters were barred, Klawe said deans are not eligible to receive such bonuses.
However, her husband, Nick Pippenger, would receive it because he is a professor of computer science.
“The husband is in the department and would be one of the individuals eligible, and she explained that,” Jim Horn, UBC’s associate vice-president of human resources, confirmed as he came out of the 90-minute meeting.
Called at his office, Pippenger refused to comment.
Horn said that when the skills of a particular group of professors are in high demand outside the university, as is the case in medicine and engineering, universities recognize this market differential.
Fleming, so far the most outspoken critic of the plan, said it seems to be a fait accompli.
Echoing him, James said it is “obviously a done deal.”
But Horn denied those assertions, saying the university must negotiate with the faculty association over special pay for the two groups of professors.
The bonuses must also be approved by two external bodies, the public sector employers’ council and the university public sector employers’ association.”
(“UBC science dean won’t get controversial $25,000 bonus: She says deans are not eligible to receive such bonuses — but her husband is because because he is a professor of computer science”, by Rebecca Wigod, July 14, 2000, The Vancouver Sun)
It looked like Klawe did not address the issue as the dean should and, again instead, brought in the higher management, letting UBC associate vice president of human resources Jim Horn address the fairness issue in general.
Donald Fleming criticised the preferential bonus decision as “a fait accompli”. This time he got the open support of his colleague Brian James – an interesting name – who called it “obviously a done deal”.
The preferential bonus decision was then supported by both vice president academic Barry McBride and chancellor William Sauder, despite reservations expressed by two UBC board of governors members:
“Chancellor William Sauder said if UBC doesn’t give more money to professors of computer science and electrical and computer engineering, the best people in the two departments will be lured away by lucrative job offers from other universities and private industry.
Vice-president (academic) Barry McBride said UBC must do something to balance the rich offers being made to these sought- after faculty members.
One respected public university in the United States pays full professors of computer science as much as $370,000 for nine months’ work, he said.
Sauder and McBride were responding to concerns raised by board member Patricia Marchak, a UBC professor and author and former dean of arts.
Board member Stephen Howard also expressed reservations about the planned bonuses, which still have to be approved by the faculty association.”
(“UBC chancellor backs hefty bonuses: Only two members of the university’s board of governors spoke against an extra $25,000 for professors in three science faculties”, by Rebecca Wigod, July 21, 2000, The Vancouver Sun)
Barry McBride, Maria Klawe’s superior in the UBC academic management, had a history of deferring to Klawe, including helping her put down my political activism as mentioned in Part 1.
Chancellor William Sauder, previously mentioned in a quote in Part 1 on the 1996 hiring of Martha Piper as UBC president, was a British Columbia business executive; so his pro-bonus stand wasn’t surprising. The press did not mention the opinion of UBC president Martha Piper, who was from Klawe’s alma mater, the University of Alberta.
(“Dr. William L. Sauder”, December 19, 2007, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia)
Reading the overall press coverage of the preferential bonus issue, I come to the impression that, ironically, the debate revealed the lack of academic freedom when it came to individual faculty members airing their disagreement with the management.
From the start, a faculty member expressed fears of reprisals. The one faculty member who spoke out with his name quoted, Donald Fleming, was described as: “a senior chemistry professor”, and “a nuclear chemist who does research at the Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF)”, as quoted earlier. This suggests that only a senior professor whose research involved a prestigious nuclear facility could speak out without as much fear for reprisal from the authorities.
More to that, during 1999-2001 Fleming held an international research award, the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize from Germany, and therefore any retaliation against him would risk creating an incident noticed by the international science community.
(“CSC 2002 Award winners announced”, 2002, Canadian Society for Chemistry Bulletin; and, “2004 GLENN T. SEABORG AWARD FOR NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY: Donald G. Fleming”, Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology, American Chemical Society)
So on the part of the faculty members, the carefully chosen open expression emphasized the prestige of the established academic hierarchy.
This faculty preferential bonus case therefore played out as a cultural clash, between a more industry- and application-oriented academic hierarchy Klawe and the UBC administration promoted and the prestige of the established academic hierarchy protected by collective bargaining.
I note the case’s striking similarities to my 1992 UBC dispute discussed in Part 1:
1) The official opinion on the faculty members’ side belonged to the faculty association, and its president Norma Wieland stated “collective bargaining” was the rule, while in 1992 its president William Bruneau emphasized “publish or perish” mentality as the reality;
2) there definitely were fears of reprisal on the part of individual faculty members when it came to speaking out, as one said so anonymously; here both Klawe as the dean and the university administration were the authorities;
3) like in 1992 when department head Klawe got dean of science Barry McBride to help suppress my opposition, this time dean Klawe got the university’s other management figures to face the public criticisms; and
4) like myself in 1992, only one faculty member, this time Donald Fleming, expressed opposition in his name openly, although his colleague Brian James later seconded him.
Now, I can see an academic-hierarchy rationale why my challenge of Klawe’s management style in 1991-1992 was so easily suppressed: given my lowly position in the established academic hierarchy, the tradition-minded faculty members likely did not take my issue seriously, and the faculty association’s collectivism simply screened it out.
So it is quite possible that established academic hierarchical propriety is behind why the UBC computer science department’s current “In Memoriam” page features former computing facility manager Rick Sample along with the late faculty members, but not former Imager lab founding researcher Peter Cahoon.
This also points to a rationale why Maria Klawe persistently described herself to the press as a “theoretical computer science researcher” when after 1995 she did research only on electronic games: when given an award or appointed to a prestigious academic management post, Klawe was likely mindful that an established academic might say, like Donald Fleming quoted earlier, “A university is not a dot.com company”.
This UBC preferential bonus episode happened just a month before Alain Fournier’s death. The timing was interesting: in the climate of emphasis on broader applications fostered by Klawe, whose side won the debate, Fournier likely paled in comparison to some others in computer graphics, such as Klawe with her video game project, and Booth overseeing medical applications.
In light of this, I note that in the January 2000 publication by Fournier and his collaborators proposing a digital version of the old Yuan-Ming Garden of China, discussed earlier, there was a commercialization aspect, a company started by Fournier’s collaborator, UBC computer science graduate Lifeng Wang:
“We believe a digital version of Yuan Ming Yuan is the best and most feasible way of restoration ( Figure 4). One of us (Lifeng Wang), a graduate from the Computer Graphics Research Group at the University of British Columbia, initiated the project. The project’s cultural and historical significance as well as its potential in other areas of research made it possible for the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (Magic) and Imager—computer graphics groups at UBC—to offer their support. Xing Xing Computer Graphics, an independent company founded to commercialize the project’s results, now manages the project.”
(Lifeng Wang, Christine Wang and Alain Fournier, January/February 2000, Volume 20, Issue No. 1, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications)
But it was too late for any allure of the Yuan-Ming Garden project and its commercialization to save Alain Fournier, who passed away quietly on August 14, 2000. His former student Eugene Fiume at the University of Toronto wrote an “appreciation” of Fournier:
“Alain’s early contributions to computer graphics on the modelling of natural phenomena were brilliant in themselves, but perhaps more importantly they advocated a methodology that required validation against real visual phenomena. This set the bar at the right level scientifically. His approach, which he once called “impressionistic graphics” both revolutionised the field and drove it forward. Perhaps the best example of this work is his beautiful paper on the depiction of ocean waves with Bill Reeves. His subsequent work on illumination models, light transport, rendering, and sampling and filtering is remarkable for its far-sightedness and depth. His theoretical work in computer graphics and computational geometry made us think about the limits of both fields.
If C.P. Snow were ever in need of a prototypical person to bridge the “Two Cultures” of Science and Art, Alain would be it. He was blessed with an irrepressible enthusiasm to communicate his understanding and his curiosity about the universe, and he did so in whatever language was most appropriate. He wrote wonderful mathematics, algorithms, prose and poetry. His vocabulary in English and in French was gently intimidating, for even in intimidation he was benevolent. It seemed that his intellect was able to synthesise everything he ever learned. He would routinely interject a Latin “bon mot” into the papers we were writing or practise writing Kanji on the napkins on which we were doing research. We rarely did research in an office. How I miss those days.
Alain’s wit, his innate “jeu d’esprit”, was legend. His fondness for good jokes, especially Groucho Marx gags, allowed some but not all of us to overlook his weakness for Jerry Lewis.”
(“Alain Fournier, 1943-2000: an appreciation”, by Eugene Fiume, Volume 19 Issue 4, October 2000, ACM Transactions on Graphics)
Samples of Fournier’s ocean-wave modeling and illumination modeling, among his specialties, can be found on UBC Imager lab’s website.
(April 12, 1996, Imager Laboratory, University of British Columbia)
As Fiume told it, Fournier had called his own graphics “impressionistic graphics”, or as I have noted, impeccably photographic images. but they were not so much Klawe’s preferences of the more dynamic animation and the more interactive electronic games; in building his craft Fournier did “wonderful mathematics, algorithms”, close to Klawe’s research fields but the more ambitious boss wanted industry orientation and consumer applications.
On October 2, 2000, in the same month when Fiume published the above-quoted article in memory of Fournier, Maria Klawe was described in a Montreal Gazette newspaper story, as one of the “digital dozen” of “goddesses of tech”, like Grace Murray Hopper:
“Denise Shortt calls herself a gender and technology analyst. A founder of the Wired Women Society (www.wiredwoman.com) and co-author of the just released book Technology With Curves, she nevertheless shies away from calling herself a techie. “I’m a woman who knows how important technology will become,” she says.
But Shortt knows more than that. She knows how underplayed women’s contributions have been, to the extent that when profiles of the “gods” of the new technology appeared in a recent issue of Vanity Fair, not one woman showed up on the magazine’s radar.
Dig a little and it becomes clear that women have been, and continues to be, very involved in computer technology, albeit always holding minority status, painfully aware of how much work is needed to create a critical mass.
Take Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, who delivered the first compiler, the A-O, in 1952 and was instrumental in the development of the Mark series of computers at Harvard.
Another mathematician, Betty Holberton, wrote the C-10 instruction code for the Univac I, which made programming easier and faster, designed the control console, keyboards and numeric keypad for the Univac I, served on the committee that developed Cobol and wrote standards for the Fortran language.
But they were not considered professionals, according to Kay Mauchly Antonelli, one of the programming women. “To be a professional, you had to be a man; that was the way it was,” she recalls.
Shortt’s “digital dozen,” described in detail in her book, include Anita Borg, a “Silicon Valley superstar” who heads the Institute for Women and Technology at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre. With a PhD in research into operating systems, she has developed tools for predicting the performance of microprocessor memory systems, the basis of many of today’s performance-analysis tools.
Then there’s Sherry Turkle, professor of the sociology of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the first woman to make the cover of Wired magazine, and author and chair of the commisson on gender and technology for the American Association of University Women.
In Canada, we have Maria Klawe, dean of science at the University of British Columbia, past chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Mathematical Society and currently holder of the NSERC-IBM Chair for Women in Science and Engineering at UBC.
After years at IBM Research in California, then at the University of Toronto and UBC, Klawe has also founded and directed E-GEMS, a large-scale collaborative project involving the development of computer software for girls, as well as SWIFT, a technology group for women.
“She’s Canadian, and has the respect of the international stage,” Shortt says.
Others among the “digital dozen” are Esther Dyson, president of Edventure Holdings and interim chair of the leading Internet governance body; Kim Polese, president and CEO of Marimba Inc., who helped create the computer language JAVA while at Sun Microsystems; Geraldine Laybourne, head of Oxygen Media Inc., founded with Oprah Winfrey; and Janese Swanson, founder of Girl Tech.
“I can tell Vanity Fair where the women are,” Shortt says. Meet the “goddesses of tech.””
(“High-tech has its goddesses: Book tells who they are”, by Donna Nebenzahl, October 2, 2000, The Gazette)
A goddess is much more divine than an “evangelist” – what Klawe was referred to as after she had become UBC’s chair for women in science and engineering – and more divine than even a religious guru. She can be a great inspiration, but can she be held accountable as a decision maker? UBC’s handling of the science faculty’s preferential bonus issue showed Klawe using other management figures to deal with faculty open opposition and press questions.
Just like I have mentioned in Part 1, Klawe was very public-relations minded and her media profile was nearly spotless.
One exception, as in Part 1, was in 1995 after she had become UBC vice president, when her handling of the firing of UBC women’s basketball coach Misty Thomas, showing her deceptiveness in manipulating opinions and shifting blames, led to a controversy in the press and criticism by player Lori Kamp.
In Part 2, I have reviewed a The New York Times article that intriguingly appeared on September 11, 2001, the day of the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks in the U.S., featuring William Ayers, former leader of the Weather Underground organization that had carried out anti-Vietnam War terrorist bombings in the U.S. during the 1970s.
On that same day, the Canadian newspaper National Post featured Maria Klawe in an article with an interestingly combative title, “Educator shakes Dilbert image”, about her goal of changing computer science’s “Dilbert image”:
“For too many people, computer scientists have a nerdy, Dilbert image, and Dr. Maria Klawe would like to reprogram that way of thinking. “We need to work hard with the entertainment and media industry to change the image of these kinds of careers. I know many men and women in this industry who lead well-rounded lives,” she says.
“I think if we don’t get a broader representation from our society and the people who are designing and developing our technology, we are not going to get the technology that will best serve society.”
It is about education. That is where Dr. Klawe starts and pushes against the odds. As the dean of science at the University of British Columbia, she has led research teams to fashion software to both delight, entertain and teach math, especially to girls often disinclined to try.
Her passion earned her the Educator of the Year title at this year’s Canadian New Media Awards. “The profile helps a lot because it’s recognition across the country and it’s a great accomplishment. They’ve been selected from the cream of the crop, so it’s a great profile,” says Elizabeth Doyle, the awards producer.
For Dr. Klawe, also the IBM/Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council chairwoman for Women in Science and Engineering at UBC, the award is for her team, as well as currency with which to develop her initiatives.
On changing images, Dr. Klawe knows plenty of computer scientists who would gladly provide career advice, movie plotlines or characters for free. She is working to change public perceptions, but is looking for that “hook” to get Hollywood players to the table.
It’s like getting people to quit smoking … you have to do a lot of things and it takes a lot of time – but over time, it’s happening.”
(“Educator shakes Dilbert image”, by Diane Lu-Hovasse, September 11, 2001, National Post)
Klawe did not actually say to “shake” the Dilbert image, but to “reprogram” people’s thinking about computer scientists’ nerdy image, and recruit more well-rounded people to computer science. That of course would take “a lot of time”, but “it’s happening” as long as the big sponsors of Klawe’s chair for women in science and engineering, i.e., IBM and the Canadian government, were willing to finance her public-relations reprogramming.
Just like in 1989 when she failed to “hook” Bill Reeves to UBC, Klawe has not succeeded with Hollywood since September 11, 2001, presumably because Hollywood hasn’t decided to get people “quit smoking” the way she wanted.
But the globally influential Fortune magazine has taken Klawe as one of its World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, as in Part 1, on March 20, 2014 – a leading business magazine that would like to see people try using marijuana, and quit smoking.
(“The big business of Marijuana, Inc.”, March 21, 2013, “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”, March 20, 2014, “Tobacco CEO and CVS exec both want people to quit smoking”, by Beth Kowitt, October 23, 2014, “High times: Behind the scenes at a women’s pot conference”, by Sara Davidson, June 2, 2015, and, “Raising worker pay reduces smoking”, by Claire Zillman, August 7, 2015, Fortune)
Regardless, the notion of changing the Dilbert nerdy image also confirms my analysis of Klawe’s hierarchical view of computer graphics, i.e., image versus animation versus games, each above the previous: Dilbert had been a newspaper comic strip since April 1989; during 1999-2000 it was also an animated TV series; but neither was up to the level of “well-rounded lives” in Klawe’s electronic games for girls.
But was this technological hierarchy the story, namely that a good faculty member with fine-quality research – Alain Fournier – came to UBC in Vancouver in 1989, but his background and focus did not meet the goals of the boss – Maria Klawe – and he was not given press coverage, was left behind by the boss’s dynamic games focus and politically ambitious public-relations drive, and died of cancer in relative obscurity in 2000?
The coincidence of Fournier’s death in the same year with the illness death of Peter Cahoon, together the founding faculty member and founding researcher of UBC’s computer graphics field in 1989 as discussed in Part 2, was just too eerie.
A more recent self-revelation by Maria Klawe, that she has had some psychological issues for a long time, may shed some new light.
As discussed in Part 1, in October 2014 when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared with Klawe at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, the former rebuffed the idea that female employees should ask for a pay raise, saying:
“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise”.
(“Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Women: Don’t Ask For A Raise, Trust Karma”, by Selena Larson, October 9, 2014, ReadWrite)
Then in a follow-up, Nadella issued an apology to women, saying that Klawe was right that they should ask for pay raises:
“Maybe she didn’t exactly anticipate this at the time, but Maria Klawe offered women a rare glimpse at think-on-your-feet leadership last week.
Unfortunately, it was nearly overshadowed by controversy.
… Towards the end of their nearly hour-long conversation, Nadella offered this suggestion:
“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise. That might be one of the initial ‘super powers,’ that quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have. It’s good karma. It will come back.”
His quote was picked up by ReadWrite and quickly (and appropriately) spurred ire around the web.
Not surprisingly, he issued a swift apology, which deferred to Klawe: “Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.””
(“THE PERFECT CASE AGAINST MICROSOFT CEO’S REMARK THAT WOMEN SHOULDN’T ASK FOR RAISES”, by Lydia Dishman, October 14, 2014, Fast Company)
It was quite rude for Nadella to have put it his way, namely that not asking for a pay raise is “good karma”, when Klawe had been praising him for nearly an hour in front of a large audience:
“Though it was great that Nadella acknowledged Klawe after the fact, her polite but firm dissent is an example for women in any industry when confronted by a tone-deaf response from a male leader —even one you admire.
When their talk began, Klawe gave Nadella praise for being the first male CEO of a major company to speak at a plenary session during the technical executive forum.
The conversation led by Klawe and questions from the attendees covered such topics as career choices and work-life balance, the latter not usually asked of men. Throughout, Klawe agreed with Nadella’s assessments and advice—until the point where he fumbled the question on pay raises. Klawe, who spent the earlier part of the conversation talking about how much she admired Nadella, didn’t miss a beat before saying this was one of the few things she didn’t agree with him on.”
(Lydia Dishman, October 14, 2014, Fast Company)
But perhaps Nadella already knew – given Klawe’s Microsoft board directorship since 2009 – that Klawe had the trait of praising an important job opportunity when given it and later complaining about low pay, and so he had “karma” in mind about her:
“To back up her dissent, Klawe quickly pulled anecdotes from her own career, citing the time she neglected to negotiate salary before accepting the position of dean of engineering at Princeton, a mistake she estimates set her back about $50,000 per year. She remarked that she did it again when staying mum on the salary offer for her current presidentship, even though she felt as though it was low. “Don’t be as stupid as I was,” Klawe told the audience.”
(Lydia Dishman, October 14, 2014, Fast Company)
That was blunt, the leader of ground-breaking electronic game projects for girls, Counting on Frank, Phoenix Quest, and Virtual Family, calling herself “stupid” at a leading technology conference for women – in doing so she also exposed certain stinginess on the part of the world renowned Princeton University and the elite Harvey Mudd College she has been leading!
This “goddess of tech” then acknowledged that she had had “impostor syndrome” for decades:
“Klawe also notes, “One of the things I am very deliberate about is talking about my own failures.” Indeed she spoke to us candidly about her decades-long battle with impostor syndrome and her strategies to stop feeling like a fraud. This is extremely important, says Klawe, because, “I am generally regarded as being successful and people think we don’t make mistakes.””
(Lydia Dishman, October 14, 2014, Fast Company)
So there were things wrong, at least psychologically, with Maria Klawe all these decades, that when others regarded her as successful, she privately felt like “a fraud”; she attributed it to Impostor Syndrome, defined as follows:
“Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.
It is basically feeling that you are not really a successful, competent, and smart student, that you are only imposing as such.
Some common feelings and thoughts that might characterize the impostor syndrome are: “I feel like a fake” “My classmates/professors etc. are going to find out I don’t really belong here,” “Admissions made a mistake,” etc.”
(“THE IMPOSTOR SYNDROME”, Caltech Counseling Center)
But there may indeed be substance in Klawe’s private feeling of “fraud”, in the sense that, as competent and as ambitious as she has been, Klawe may have played the career field, fudged her credentials and manipulated others in ways that inflated her image.
One instance discovered by my review of press coverage is her continuing to brand herself as “theoretical computer science researcher” even after she had stopped publishing in that field and instead concentrated on electronic games.
As pointed out earlier, when an ambitious academic management leader was exulted and held up as a “goddess of tech”, it can mean intellectual and other frauds creeping into decision-making accountability – even if it was not as obvious as Leslie Berlowitz’s claiming a nonexistent Ph.D. degree in her resume.
And there was at least one instance when a prestigious but non-existent University of Toronto Ph.D. of Klawe’s was reported in the major press.
In early 1995 after she had become UBC vice president, a The Vancouver Sun story featuring 10 members of “B.C.’s emerging professional establishment” touted Klawe by stating, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a more likely candidate for the future presidency of UBC or some other Canadian university than this high-achiever”, and included a false “PhD in computer science at the University of Toronto”. The full profile was as follows:
“Name: Maria Klawe
Education: PhD in mathematics at the University of Alberta; PhD in computer science at the University of Toronto
Position:Vice-president, academic and student services, at the University of B.C.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more likely candidate for the future presidency of UBC or some other Canadian university than this high-achiever.
Klawe left a research job with IBM in California to become head of UBC’s computer science faculty in 1988. In January she was named UBC vice-president.
“I’ve always liked to have a life that has many different components. One of which now is being a researcher, another being a teacher, and another is trying to get the organization I’m involved in to grow in a particular direction.”
She sees UBC as key to B.C.’s economy becoming based more on knowledge than on natural resources. And she doesn’t tire of university committee meetings.
“I’m one of the few people who really loves being an administrator. I just love that job. I don’t think of it as being a bureaucrat.”
Oh, she also runs marathon races.”
(“THE NEW PROFESSIONALS Series: EMERGING ELITE”, by Doug Ward, February 27, 1995, The Vancouver Sun)
Klawe’s current official resume correctly lists her study at the University of Toronto that ended without a formal degree:
B.Sc., Mathematics, University of Alberta, 1973
Ph.D., Mathematics, University of Alberta, 1977
Graduate Studies, Computer Science, University of Toronto, 1979”
(February 7, 2014, Harvey Mudd College)
So by 1995 not only that issues raised by me of her management style had been swept under the carpet by UBC, but that Klawe emerged in the major press with a falsely claimed Ph.D. from Canada’s top university, and with the potential to be the No. 1 boss in the future.
In my view that involved a degree of intellectual fraud and managerial fraud, eve though I have no question about Klawe loving “being an administrator” since she barely taught in her first 4 years at UBC, as reviewed earlier.
Compared to Leslie Berlowitz’s resume fudging scandal, Maria Klawe didn’t even ‘keep a low profile’ about it – so to speak – with her unique front page A1 feature and photo, while the other 9 emerging establishment professionals were on page B2, in this February 27, 1995 The Vancouver Sun article; also, ahead of her profile was an introduction of 2 ‘old guards’ of the B.C. professional establishment, Peter Butler and Richard Henriquez:
“Second in a series; The other nine are on page B2.; PROFILE OF MARIA KLAWE; Today we profile 10 people, including Maria Klawe, right, who are part of B.C.’s emerging professional establishment.
They have their PowerBooks, 60-hour work weeks, bulging briefcases and stress.
They are the emerging professionals, men and women taking over files and challenges from an older crowd that came of age in the ’70s and the ’80s.
If they’re lucky they’ll be like prominent lawyer Peter Butler and have few regrets about rising to the top ranks of their profession.
“I loved every minute of it,” says the 62-year-old veteran litigator from Farris Vaughan Wills and Murphy.
There are tradeoffs, he adds. “Nothing is perfect in life.”
“Lots of it is fluke: Who you know, what cases you had.”
Butler says his profession has always been a highly competitive one.
“Everybody still wants to win. I’d say it’s a tough profession to do well in unless you’re prepared to work like hell.”
Butler is currently at home on extended sick leave and not sure when he will return or for how long. He says up-and-comers should be allowed to make their mark – and “old blokes shouldn’t stay around forever.”
Butler admits to missing his profession. “It’s very difficult sitting at home when you don’t have any hobbies and you sit around and watch O.J.”
One of Vancouver’s top architects says a passion for your craft is necessary for professional success.
“I guess that”s what keeps anyone going in whatever field,” says Richard Henriquez, 54, of Henriquez and Partners.
He adds: “Everyone has to pay their dues. And part of paying your dues is working long hours and doing the best you can. There’s no magic about it.”
“It’s a very competitive, very stressful profession. And it’s getting more and more litigious. People are suing other people and you have to be more careful than ever.”
But people do recognize people like Butler and Henriquez as professionals who epitomize success.
And all the professions have comers who are following their path, including 10 people profiled today in The Vancouver Sun.
Name: Maria Klawe
(Doug Ward, February 27, 1995, The Vancouver Sun)
Peter Butler’s law firm, Farris Vaughan Wills and Murphy, happened to represent UBC as a defendant in my civil lawsuit filed in October 1992 over the UBC dispute, mentioned by me in a March 2012 blog post:
“By late 1991 Peter Butler became Bill Vander Zalm’s defence lawyer and in late June 1992 – days before my UBC eviction – won an acquittal from B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice David Campbell for a criminal charge stemming from the Fantasy Gardens scandal, the first “breach of trust” charge for any premier in the British Commonwealth.
In October 1992 UBC chose Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy as its lawyer, after lawyer Brian Mason and I filed my lawsuit. UBC’s statement of defence was filed by Jack Giles, a lawyer as successful and nearly as prominent as Peter Butler.”
(“Team Canada female athletes disqualified from Commonwealth silver medal, jailed Chinese democracy activist awarded with Nobel peace prize, and others in between (Part 6) — when law and justice reinforce the authorities”, March 25, 2012, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
It seemed quite clear that Klawe was confident her newspaper front-page falsification of academic pedigree would not cause her problems given her profile as an emerging professional establishment figure in British Columbia to succeed someone like lawyer Peter Butler. Persons who knew the real facts would not contradict her, or could not express themselves freely like my under oppression, as I recalled in a September 2013 blog post:
“… Vancouver lawyers willing to take up my civil lawsuit or legal defense against criminal prosecution were few, with Mason withdrawing by April 1993 due to my depleted financial resources and his under pressure from RCMP and the Justice Department. Worse, some lawyers I sought help from collaborated with political persecution, allowing the authorities to intensify criminal prosecution that included long detentions, escalating charges, and a forensic psychiatric regime with false and harsh psychiatric labeling to prevent my speaking out. My civil litigation and political activism were forced to stop.”
(“Team Canada female athletes disqualified from Commonwealth silver medal, jailed Chinese democracy activist awarded with Nobel peace prize, and others in between (Part 11) — when police statecraft runs political-scandal shows”, September 29, 2013, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
It certainly appeared that intellectual dishonesty and fraud became a part of leadership and justice.
Klawe’s championing of women’s issues also led to a controversy as to whether it inflated her leadership ability, when a long-time Princeton faculty member said to Klawe, then the new dean of engineering and applied sciences, as previously quoted in Part 1:
“I don’t have to listen to a word you say, because I know you only got the job because you’re female”.
(“How some universities are attracting more women to math, science programs”, by James Bradshaw, November 25, 2012, The Globe and Mail)
This unnamed long-time Princeton professor may or may not have been right – Klawe herself admitted that such doubts had merits when it came to her past, as in Part 1 – just like UBC senior nuclear chemist Donald Fleming’s strong opposition to the computer-related faculty preferential bonuses may or may not have been fair; but one gets a sense that only the established seniors like these two dared to challenge Klawe. So who knows in how many other cases a fraud might have been accepted as “a fait accompli”?
So was with my early-1990s dispute with Klawe at UBC: when I raised certain issues about her management the authorities dismissed or ignored them, dealt me with repercussions and, worse, maintained a degree of suppression indefinitely, probably intended to last permanently – to me that has been perpetuation of managerial fraud and political fraud.
As discussed in Part 1, when members of an academic institution had other concerns or agendas, they could well choose covering up over opening up a certain issue about the management, have the faculty organization leader – UBC faculty association president William Bruneau in my case – explain it away by collectivism – incorrectly branding my case as of “publish or perish” mentality or syndrome – and even falsely blame it on violence.
In such a mindset, it would be convenient for them if an ambitious and power-driven boss was elevated to a “goddess” status at the expense of scientific integrity and intellectual honesty – and of course it wouldn’t hurt to receive a $25,000 special bonus courtesy of the “goddess”.
Likewise, what happened to Alain Fournier and Peter Cahoon, particularly if they were not treated fairly in their 11 years founding and developing the computer graphics field at UBC, may be relevant to issues of scientific integrity and intellectual honesty, namely the lack of such, and possibly fraud.
Some facts about another dimension of Alain Fournier’s life may shed more light onto these issues.
When I was Fournier’s colleague I was quite aware that his wife Adrienne Drobnies was a fellow UC Berkeley alumnus, and we conversed about it on at least one occasion.
As quoted earlier from Fournier’s biography for the 1994 CHCCS Achievement Award, it was Drobnies accepting a job at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver in 1989 that brought Fournier to UBC; prior to that in 1985-1987, it was Drobnies in the San Francisco Bay Area that led Fournier, then a University of Toronto faculty member, to spend time at Stanford, UC Santa Cruz and Xerox PARC, and do collaborative work with Bill Reeves at George Lucas’s Lucasfilm – by the time Reeves visited UBC in 1988-1989 that animation unit had become Steve Jobs’s Pixar.
In 1990 while on my fixed-term assistant professor position, I applied for a tenure-track one within the UBC computer science department, and that position was later offered to Jack Snoeyink because of his research connection to computer graphics, as recalled in my May 2011 blog post:
“Kelly Booth, a leader of the Computer Graphics group, had received his Berkeley Ph.D. under “Dick” Karp years before, thus apparently the offer to Jack Snoeyink had to do with Jack’s research connection to Computer Graphics as well as lack of a key affirmation for me. Alain Fournier, the other leader of the group, unfortunately died of cancer in year 2000.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
At the time of writing the above-quoted blog post, I was mindful of Klawe’s link to a missing reference for me, mentioned in Part 1; but now with the knowledge about Fournier’s prior stay at Stanford, it becomes apparent that the UBC computer graphics group’s intent to hire Snoeyink had likely been in place earlier, i.e., before my applying for the position.
Snoeyink was a new Stanford Ph.D. in 1990, having studied under Leo Guibas, specializing in computational geometry.
Fournier’s own Ph.D. study, at the University of Texas at Dallas, had been in computational geometry and computer graphics, creating a new method for drawing images of mathematical fractals, as described in his 1994 CHCCS Achievement Award biography:
“After 8 years of college teaching, he decided to undertake graduate studies in computer science, and entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Dallas. There he successively realized that there was more to computer science than programming, that this “more” was actually interesting, and that making pictures with computers looked like a potentially enjoyable activity. The latter revelation was mediated by the presence of Henry Fuchs and his frame buffer.
When Henry Fuchs departed for the University of North Carolina, he started his Ph.D. work with Zvi Kedem in computational geometry, but got rapidly side-tracked, and tried with fellow graduate student Don Fussell to reproduce some of Beniot Mendelbrot’s amazing images. They developed their own recursive subdivision method to generate approximations of fractional Brownian motion, together with methods to map the result unto objects modelled as piece-wise parametric surfaces. This became the core of his Ph.D. dissertation completed in 1980.”
(CHCCS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, Graphics Interface)
Given their being in the same field of computational geometry, in the mid-1980s visiting Stanford Fournier must have connected to Guibas. This was confirmed by a fact Eugene Fiume – author of an “appreciation” of Fournier quoted earlier – stated in 1989, that Guibas was one of the members of “various committees” involved in his Ph.D study under Fournier at the University of Toronto; Fiume had received his Ph.D. in 1986.
(Eugene L. Fiume, The Mathematical Structure of Raster Graphics, 1989, Academic Press)
Computational geometry is a branch of theoretical computer science, connected to mathematics as mentioned in earlier discussions regarding the research of Michael Sipser and a number of other academics in complexity theory. A part of my research was in theoretical computer science, and thus the UBC position that went to Snoeyink in 1990 was the one I had applied to.
Interestingly also in 1990, my then colleague David Kirkpatrick, who brought Snoeyink to UBC for the job interview, presented at an symposium in Tokyo, Japan, a paper collaborated with me, and Guibas, then at MIT, said he and some collaborators had done similar work; so we added their names onto the 1993 journal publication of the research.
Snoeyink later moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:
“Originally American, around year 2000 Jack Snoeyink moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
Forunier’s 1994 CHCCS Achievement Award biography quote earlier mentioned Henry Fuchs, who was a faculty member at UT Dallas when Fournier started his Ph.D. study there, but who then moved to UNC Chapel Hill. Fuchs is now a distinguished professor there, and so Snoeyink’s move to that school may have been related.
(“Henry Fuchs: Federico Gil Distinguished Professor”, Department of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The intimateness of the academic connections had been something I was unfamiliar with, and it no doubt put me in a disadvantage when it came to advancing within the academic hierarchy.
Worse, my predicament was exacerbated when senior UBC persons, namely Klawe and Kirkpatrick, used deceptions to deal with my application for a tenure-track job.
Kirkpatrick had assured me of his support, telling me that my chance was good and there should be no problem, but then brought in Snoeyink for an interview that Kirkpatrick claimed was for a postdoctoral position, and did not even notify me when the tenure-track faculty position was offered to Snoeyink, as described in my May 2011 blog post:
“Back in early 1990 I had submitted an application to convert to a tenure-track position, and David was quite supportive and wrote one of my letters of reference. Then sometime around March he initiated to bring in Jack from Stanford also in the Theoretical Computer Science field, for an interview and assured me it was only for a postdoc position. In early April I became nervous as quite a few candidates had interviews but there was no activity for me, yet David said not to worry as Maria had things in hand. At this time former UC Berkeley friend Paul Wright invited me to visit AT&T Bell Labs, so I did in mid-April and also went to the University of Toronto, with seminar presentations. After return I read an e-mail announcement that Jack was offered a tenure-track position, went to ask David, and was told the decision was based largely on the connection of Jack’s work to the Computer Graphics group. It was at this point David Kirkpatrick suggested I have lunch and discuss with Head Maria Klawe.
So while Head Klawe then may have pressured and tricked me into giving up my tenure-track conversion effort, including misinforming me about the number of open positions for 1991, Kirkpatrick had already reneged on his words and possibly the last open position in Theoretical Computer Science had gone to Jack Snoeyink.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
For that early-1990 application for a tenure-track position, I requested 5 references from various senior professors in the academia, but only 3 arrived; though 3 met the minimal need, department head Klawe did not bother to let me know some letters of reference did not arrive, even when a missing one was from her friend, Berkeley professor Richard “Dick” Karp:
“Only in December 1992 when I was committed in a psychiatric ward by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after they had conferred with David Kirkpatrick’s wife, a former lawyer appointed a Justice in November, that I was given information that only 3 of the 5 letters of reference I had requested in the spring of 1990, namely Kirkpatrick’s, one by my Berkeley Ph.D. adviser and another by a Columbia University professor, were in the Department file. The other two requested from Berkeley professors were no shows, but the Department Head didn’t bother to inform me even if only three were required.
One of the missing reference was to be from Berkeley theoretical computer scientist Richard Karp, who had told me on the phone he would write that my recent research was in Theoretical Computer Science, when my Ph.D. had been in Math.
A meticulously commanding professor, Karp was also a close friend of Maria Klawe and Nicholas Pippenger…”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
In the summer of 1990 I intended to keep my tenure-track job application active for 1991, but Klawe subtly pressured me to withdraw it:
“In late spring of 1990 with hiring over for the year, David Kirkpatrick described to me the remaining open positions and suggested that I have lunch with Klawe to discuss my situation. It turned out Klawe had no time for lunch with me but quickly laid out her priorities for the remaining tenure-track positions – I noticed she told me one fewer than David did.
Klawe then raised the alternative of a one-year extension to my 3-year job – with her help to convince Dean of Science Barry McBride about it. Intelligently I asked that my ongoing tenure-track application be withdrawn, and a few days later Klawe told me I would be given an additional year 1991-92 – as Lecturer instead of Assistant Professor due to UBC Faculty Association’s objection to a non-tenure-stream position lasting too long.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
As illustrated, there was a degree of intellectual dishonesty and probably fraud, with Klawe the department head representing UBC management in handling my application for a tenure-track position in 1990; also, in 1990 Kirkpatrick’s wife Pamela was a B.C. Supreme Court Master, as I recalled in my March 2012 blog post:
“When I came to UBC in 1988, Pamela Kirkpatrick was a practicing lawyer with the law firm McCarthy & McCarthy, and in 1989 was appointed a Master of B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, dealing with routine chamber matters.”
(March 25, 2012, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
To begin with, back in the spring of 1988 when offered a position by UBC, I was also given the assurance by the acting department head Uri Ascher that if the potential new head Klawe and her husband Pippenger chose not to come, there would be more open positions and I would be offered a tenure-track one:
“In 1988 after my job interview acting Department Head Uri Ascher, once a scientist with the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (mentioned also in Part 3 of this blog article), offered me an assistant professorship that would be tenure-track if the new Department Head and her husband, both theoretical computer scientists offered tenured positions, chose not to come and otherwise a fixed-term of 3 years with future in the hands of the new Head Maria Klawe.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
I was still in Berkeley in the summer of 1988, and Karp told me that Klawe and Pippenger had accepted UBC’s offer, i.e., my job would only be fixed-term:
“… in 1988 at Berkeley when I was wondering if Klawe and Pippenger were going to UBC and hence my job would only be fixed-term, “Dick” Karp confirmed it first.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
According to Klawe, it was her husband Nick Pippenger who decided the couple should go to UBC:
“By 1988, among the shower of offers that Klawe and Pippenger had received from IBM Almaden, DEC Research in Cambridge, Mass., the University of Texas in Austin, and the University of California at San Diego was one from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. “Of all the options, UBC paid the least, and had only an annual budget of only $4,000 for computers for the entire department,” Klawe recounted. “Then Nick said, ‘We claim to be idealistic. Maybe we should make the idealistic choice and do what nobody in their right mind would do.’”
So they went to UBC.”
(Trudy E. Bell, Fall 2012, The Bent of Tau Beta Pi)
At UBC, Klawe’s management style could sometimes be traced to the personality of her husband Pippenger. In fact, I had already been cautioned in the summer of 1988 when Richard Karp at Berkeley told me that the couple had accepted UBC’s offer, as I recalled in my May 2011 blog post:
“I was being quite fair at the time of the initial incident in February or March 1990 when my tenure-track application was also in there, and I was conscious of what “Dick” Karp had advised me at Berkeley in 1988 when letting me know Klawe and Pippenger were going to UBC so my job was only fixed-term: “Whatever Nick says must be right.”
Not the least because Nick was a prestigious ‘IBM Fellow’.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
There was another incident that also happened in the spring of 1990 – when I was applying for a tenure-track position – regarding visiting faculty candidate Pascal van Hentenryck, due to Pippenger’s sometimes harsh personality and Klawe’s deceptive management tactics:
“In my … June 18  letter to Albert McClean, Associate Vice President Academic in charge of legal affairs who was reviewing my grievance on behalf of President Strangway, I raised the 1990 incident involving faculty candidate Pascal van Hentenryck, here as described in the letter:
“During his seminar talk, Dr. van Hentenryck made some statements which were in my opinion not very accurate, and drew criticism from people in the audience including myself. And a small debate occurred during the question period of the seminar. the incident was in every sense a normal academic exchange of views and opinions, albeit a little heated, but as a result of it Dr. van Hentenryck incurred the wrath of Dr. Klawe. When in April 1990 the Department, after many discussions, finally made a positive decision on Dr. van Hentenryck’s application in the form of an offer doubled with another candidate of a higher priority, Dr. Klawe, I have every reason to believe, broke the rules of the University to prevent the offer from materializing at that time. She took the Department’s decision to the Dean, and came back with the following announcement, “The money in our assistant professor slots has been upgraded so we can make the three offers (Blau, Gibson and Seger) and we are allowed one double offer to Taylor (largely because she is female)”. Dr. van Hentenryck’s name was not even mentioned. …”
I didn’t explicitly mention the fact that it was because Head Klawe’s husband Nicholas Pippenger had debated Pascal van Hentenryck and then showed great anger with the intention to deny him a job offer. I had sided with Nick in the debate but later sent in a balanced written assessment, and Nick became visibly upset with me as well so I cautioned David Kirkpatrick that Nick shouldn’t take the debate too personally.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
As quoted, during his seminar talk van Hentenryck had a debate with Pippenger that upset the latter; afterwards, even though the department decided to include van Hentenryck among the persons to receive job offers, his name disappeared from the list after department head Klawe took it to dean of science Barry Mcbride; a female candidate with a similar priority made it on the list after her conferring with the dean.
As the head, Klawe’s work for the department’s expansion was commendable, but her management style was not necessarily a good fit overall – an issue carefully addressed by me in consultation with Kirkpatrick and others before being raised, as previously quoted in Part 1:
“The theme I was raising went like this: Klawe was a great fundraiser for the Department in a period of major expansion she had been hired to oversee, and was good at handling relatively difficult situations, but her style of management wasn’t a good fit for an academic department in normal situations where faculty and staff would enjoy a high degree of autonomy. This theme had substantial input from David Kirkpatrick, and some from David Lowe of the Artificial Intelligence group who pointed out Klawe’s management was of a corporate style.”
(May 24, 2011, Feng Gao’s Blog – Reflections on Events of Interest)
But of course, my challenge of Klawe’s headship management failed in 1992.
In hindsight, Alain Fournier’s wife Adrienne Drobnies appeared to be the one who triggered all the events that led to the arrival of Jack Snoeyink: she was a fellow UC Berkeley alumni who first brought Fournier to Stanford in the mid-1980s, and then to UBC in 1989, leading to Fournier bringing Snoeyink to UBC in 1990 and the loss of my longer-term prospect.
If the above and earlier-discussed interrelated events were not coincidental, then there may have been more in their history.
Fournier and Drobnies had Texas and chemistry in common in their pasts.
Growing up in Texas and California, Adrienne Drobnies had received her Berkeley chemistry Ph.D. in 1979 – 9 years ahead of my mathematics Ph.D.
(Adrienne Elizabeth Drobnies, Kinetics and Thermodynamics of Double Strand Formation in Selected Deoxyoligonucleotides, 1979, University of California, Berkeley; and, “Adrienne Drobnies”, adriennedrobnies.com)
A fellow Ph.D. student of Drobnies’s in the late 1970s at Berkeley referred to her as “a comrade in anarchy”, a sort of being active I guess:
“Regarding the graduate student members of Nacho’s Nucleases, Soo Frier, Mark Watts and Kyong Yoon were available for many informative discussions during my first years in the group, (Kyong also procurred my supply of pBR 322.) Adrienne Drobnies was a comrade in anarchy In the department and group. Carlos Bustamante provided the opportunity for theoretical discussions and a different perspective on the USA, the world and space. …”
(“THE INTERACTIONS OF 4-NITROQUINOLINE-I-OXIDE WITH NUCLEIC ACIDS”, by Stephen Alan Winkle, August 1979, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley)
Born in Lyon, France, and trained to be a chemical engineer, Alain Fournier moved to Montreal, Canada, studied chemistry and became a chemistry instructor. Then by the mid-late 1970s, he was at UT Dallas studying for a computer science Ph.D.
(CHCCS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, Graphics Interface; Eugene Fiume, Volume 19 Issue 4, October 2000, ACM Transactions on Graphics; and, “Alain Fournier, a life in pictures”, Pierre Poulin, Département d’informatique et de recherche opérationnelle, Université de Montréal)
It is unclear from the publicly available information how the two became connected, but reportedly in 1984 Fournier divorced Beverly, his first wife since 1968, and not long after should have married Drobnies as their daughter Ariel was born on March 5, 1987.
(Pierre Poulin, Département d’informatique et de recherche opérationnelle, Université de Montréal; “Ariel Jeanne Fournier”, California Birth Index 1905-1995, FamilySearch.org; and, “ALAIN FOURNIER BEVERLY BICKLE”, August 17, 1968, Texas Marriage Record Index 1966-2008, and, “ALAIN FOURNIER vs BEVERLY FOURNIER”, Texas Divorce Record Index 1968-2002, Mocavo)
I should caution that the online records cited above on what could be the first marriage and divorce of Alain Fournier in Texas have not been independently verified.
There was an additional facet in the union of Alain Fournier and Adrienne Drobnies, that was likely a factor in the events. Drobnies’s late father, Saul Drobnies, was also a mathematician who did research in computational methods.
Saul Drobnies’s obituary indicated that he grew up in Dallas, received his mathematics Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and worked for General Dynamics in Fort Worth – near Dallas – before moving to teach at San Diego State University:
“Dr. Saul Drobnies, Emeritus Professor of Mathematical Sciences at San Diego State University, died October 22, 2002, at San Diego Hospice, of lung cancer. He was born on June 8, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, and moved with his parents, Abraham and Lee Drobnies, to Dallas, Texas, when he was five years old. He graduated from Forest Avenue High School in Dallas in January, 1950, and briefly attended Southern Methodist University before moving to Austin to attend the University of Texas, where he received all of his academic degrees. He studied with the renowned mathematician and teacher, R. L. Moore, and completed his doctoral studies in 1961 under the guidance of Hubert S. Wall. Dr. Drobnies worked for General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas, and taught mathematics at San Diego State University from 1963 until his retirement in the early nineties.
He is survived by his former wife and friend, Ana LaReal Drobnies, of San Diego; by his sister, Naomi Baxter, of Yorba Linda, California; and by his daughter, Adrienne Drobnies, and granddaughter, Ariel Fournier, both of Vancouver, Canada. …”
(“Obituaries”, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, San Diego State University)
Saul Isaac Drobnies’s 1961 Ph.D. thesis was titled, “Concerning the uniform polynomial approximation of a bounded function”; he moved to then San Diego State College in the fall of 1963 as announced in SIAM Review, and in 1974 became an associate dean of the College of Science at San Diego State University.
(“News and Notices: Personal Notices”, Volume 5, Number 4, October 1963, SIAM Review; (“Alumni Notes”, July/August 1974, Alcalde; and, “Mathematics Alumni”, Department of Mathematics, The University of Texas at Austin)
The Ph.D. academic backgrounds of Alain Fournier and Saul Drobnies remind me that back in 1988 before taking up the UBC computer science headship, Maria Klawe had entertained headship offers from 3 universities: UT Austin, UC San Diego and UBC, quoted earlier.
Saul Drobnies’s alma mater UT Austin was a top U.S. public university ranked No, 12 nationally – for convenience I use recent university ranking data – that is considerably higher than Alain Fournier’s alma mater UT Dallas at No. 46 – a fact acknowledged by UT Dallas in reporting this 2015 ranking by the American City Business Journals:
“UT Dallas has been named among the top public universities in the nation by the American City Business Journals.
UT Dallas ranked 46th out of 484 public universities and colleges nationwide. The three Texas universities listed in the top 100 were UT Austin (12th), Texas A&M (20th) and UT Dallas (46). The next highest Texas institution in the ranking was Texas Tech University at No. 117.”
(“UT Dallas Ranks 3rd Among Texas Public Universities in New List”, February 13, 2015, The University of Texas at Dallas)
The same 2015 rankings rated UC San Diego at No. 14, considerably higher than Saul Drobnies’s former institution San Diego State University at No. 60.
(“2015 rankings of U.S. public colleges”, by G. Scott Thomas, February 12, 2015, The Business Journals)
Academic brands are not unlike business brands. From this viewpoint, Fournier’s educational and family academic backgrounds could be additional factors for Klawe to consider in 1989 when weighing his hiring, aware also of Adrienne Drobnies’s influence on Fournier; it could be as follows in my analysis:
a) Fournier was moving from a top Canadian university but his research focus was not quite what Klawe really desired; b) Klawe could have become an academic department leader at Fournier’s father-in-law’s Texas alma mater, ranked considerably higher than Fournier’s own Texas alma mater; c) she could have become an academic department leader at a California university ranked considerably higher than Fournier’s father-in-law’s institution; and, d) starting as an assistant professor, Saul Drobnies did eventually become an associate dean at San Diego State, but at any of the three that offered to her Klawe would start as department head, and at UBC she later became vice president and dean.
Compared to Fournier, Kellogg Booth who came a year later in 1990 and became UBC’s overall computer graphics field leader as MAGIC director, had a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, ranked No. 5 in the same 2015 U.S. public university rankings – yet another notch higher than either UT Austin or UC San Diego.
(G. Scott Thomas, February 12, 2015, The Business Journals)
So from this perspective of an academic hierarchy in accordance with university rankings, if Klawe’s goal for UBC was to turn it into the like of UT Austin and UC San Diego, could she not have some additional doubts when Alain Fournier’s alma mater was quite below those that had offered her the computer science department headship?
One may disagree with my arguments, and counter that Klawe’s own Ph.D. degree had not been from a university of such high ranking as UT Austin or UC San Diego.
True, but in 1989 Klawe was no longer a typical faculty member in research, but an academic manager who had moved to the corporate world through her marriage to an outstanding IBM research scientist, risen through the IBM hierarchy and then come to a university department’s helm with computer industry funding resources.
Such exceptional, beyond-the-norm success cases do happen. In a February 2015 blog post, I reviewed a case of sexual impropriety on the part of Bob Filner, former U.S. Congressman and San Diego Mayor, and how the scandal ruined the prospect of a San Diego-Tijuana international joint bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. In that story, Filner was a former San Diego State professor, i.e., a former colleague of Saul Drobnies in a general sense:
“Quite a man Bob Filner had been, counting among his credentials jailed civil-rights activist for Black Americans in Mississippi, and San Diego State University history professor.
Filner was tough, but politics could be tougher. …”
(“Sexual complaints against a seasoned U.S. Democrat, and the end of a U.S.-Mexico bi-national Olympics dream”, February 9, 2015, Feng Gao’s Posts – Rites of Spring)
At that level of achievement by a politician, the university rankings could not box him in; Mayor Filner, known for his aggressiveness and combativeness, was lavishly praised as “San Diego’s first really strong mayor” by UC San Diego political science professor Steve Erie:
““San Diego has never had a mayor like this, style-wise,” said Steve Erie, a political science professor at UC San Diego. “Filner is San Diego’s first really strong mayor, using the bully pulpit and aggressive style to advance his populist agenda.””
(February 9, 2015, Feng Gao’s Posts – Rites of Spring)
Hence, with the extensive review and discussions in this Part of the current blog article I reach the following conclusions, regarding controversies about Maria Klawe’s management at UBC, links to the two 1989 founding members of UBC’s computer graphics field who both died in 2000, and connections to Leslie Berlowitz at American Academy of Arts and Sciences, whose 2013 resignation as president and CEO due to a resume-falsifying scandal has raised a plethora of controversies about her management and leadership:
1) The fact that the UBC computer graphics field’s 1989 founding researcher Peter Cahoon, who died of illness in 2000, is not listed in UBC computer science department’s “In Memoriam” page is likely a result of the established academic hierarchy’s attitudes not giving significance to personnel outside the faculty and management;
2) on the other hand, the fact that the UBC computer graphics field’s 1989 founding faculty member Alain Fournier, who died of cancer in 2000, was not given press coverage during his 11 years at UBC when UBC’s computer graphics field regularly received high-profile major press exposure, was likely due to department head, vice president then dean of science Maria Klawe’s interests and priorities: in favor of industry connections, medical applications and user applications over academic research; in favor of animation, and the electronic games project she started with industry funding, over research in high-quality image; and in favor of various academic hierarchy influences over the individual researcher’s merits;
3) just over a year prior to his death, Fournier may have wanted to express to the press his criticisms relating to his experiences in the computer graphics field and at UBC, but was only able to do so indirectly, in a letter to The Vancouver Sun on issues others had raised about George Lucas and Lucasfilm;
4) there were strong similarities between the falsification of academic credentials on the part of Berlowitz, which led to her 2013 resignation, and untruthful claims of academic credentials at various times by Klawe;
5) serious issues existed with Klawe’s management style, although hers tended to be deceptive management tactics to make things worse for persons she targeted, in comparison to the open nastiness Berlowitz often displayed toward others below her; and
6) there are strong similarities between Klawe’s management priorities and Berlowitz’s management priorities, with their considerations often pro-money, pro-management, and pro-external factors; in addition, I have found a concrete link, with further controversies, surrounding the induction of Klawe into the Academy under Berlowitz in 2009.
And of course, any questionable circumstances of the 2000 deaths of Alain Fournier and Peter Cahoon would be of grave concern.
Andrienne Drobnies is now a writer and poet, with considerable public exposure. But when visiting her website I noticed that there is no mention of either UBC or B.C. Children’s Hospital, even though there is mention of her late husband Alain Fournier’s poetry; there are mentions of Simon Fraser University, not just because she is now remarried to an SFU professor:
“I grew up in Texas and California, and am a dual Canadian/US citizen, having spent most of my adult life in Toronto and Vancouver. I received a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and have worked in clinical and research labs, most recently as a project manager at the Genome Sciences Centre of the BC Cancer Agency. I am a poet and a 2010 graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University.
My poetry has appeared in Canadian literary magazines, including Scrivener, NeWest Review, Waves, Poetry Canada Review, and Poetry Toronto. …
I co-edited and published a volume of French poetry, Poèmes sur Mesure, by my late husband, Alain Fournier.
My immediate family is my husband, John Bechhoefer, who is a physics professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC, and my daughter, Ariel Fournier, who is a journalist.”
As quoted, she is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University.
Her connection to SFU had started earlier, no later than shortly after Fournier’s death, and in the form of employment. A memo written by SFU dean of science William Davidson in 2001 – the year after Fournier’s 2000 death and at a time when Maria Klawe was UBC dean of science – identified Adrienne Drobnies as Grant Facilitator for SFU faculty of science:
“The nomination of faculty and staff, irrespective of department, for major awards is a priority in the Faculty of Science. All Chairs should be active in this regard as well as the Dean. The Grants Facilitator, Dr. Adrienne Drobnies, is coordinating this effort and the recent results in the BC Science Council Awards attest to this commitment.”
(“Response of the Dean of Science to the Comments/Recommendations of the External Review of the Department of Chemistry and the response to them by the Chair of Chemistry”, by William S. Davidson, Dean of Science, 2001, Simon Fraser University)
As a chemist, Adrienne Drobnies has worked in clinical and research labs, most recently at B.C. Cancer Agency, and earlier at Children’s Hospital.
Then, less than a year after her husband’s passing as a UBC professor she was in the SFU science faulty as the Grant Facilitator, which would give her the opportunities to liaison with the various SFU science departments as well as external science agencies and organizations.
Still later, when Drobnies really felt the bite of her interest in poetry, she had the opportunity to attend and graduate from SFU’s The Writers’ Studio.
So the difference between the two universities for the Fournier family quite likely had been felt before Fournier’s death.
The love for literary expression can probably be described as ‘in their genes’, as Fournier had written a book of poetry, co-edited with his wife, who survived him and has also become a poet, and a writer, and their daughter Ariel has become a journalist. As quoted in Part 2, Peter Cahoon also published a book of his poems, in 1993.
With his intellectual interest, Fournier would have loved to get press publicity for his research. This is very relevant because it corroborates my earlier comments on Fournier’s May 1999 letter to The Vancouver Sun after 10 years at UBC without press coverage, that he appeared to have a personal axe to grind at that point.
But the UBC-SFU difference regarding Alain Fournier was most likely not only of personal attitudes but also of competitive prestige, as my review has shown about Klawe’s management priorities.
The University of Toronto had a considerably higher ranking than UBC, which in turned ranked considerably higher than SFU: for convenience, here I cite recent, 2013 global rankings by the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked the University of Toronto as 14th in the world, UBC 30th and Montreal’s McGill University44th, but SFU not among the top 100.
(“University of Toronto is Canada’s top university: U.S. News & World Report Rankings”, by Michael Kennedy, November 3, 2014, University of Toronto)
My personal experience of job prospects in Vancouver was consistent with such rankings: in the fall of 1987 I visited U of T’s computer science department and received the offer of a post-doctoral research position; then in the spring of 1988 I was formally interviewed by UBC computer science department and offered a fixed-term assistant professorship – it could have been a tenure-track one had Maria Klawe and Nick Pippenger chosen not to go to UBC as discussed earlier – before another interview in late spring by SFU’s school of computing science and the offer of a tenure-track assistant professorship.
The UBC fixed-term position was initially offered for 2 years, then increased to 3 years for immigration reasons. In 1990 I did not succeed in my attempt to get a tenure-track position, which went to Jack Snoeyink, and department head Klawe then gave me an additional year of lecturer upon my withdrawal of the application, as quoted earlier.
The SFU tenure-track position would have been for 3+3 years, with a review in between and the permanent tenure decision near the end.
In addition to UBC’s higher sense of competitive prestige was a repute of social academic snobbery, pointed out by a 2013 The Globe and Mail article comparing Canadian universities:
“University of British Columbia
Research powerhouse by the beach
Pro: World-class research opportunities
Con: Academic competitiveness and snobbery
Simon Fraser University
Interdisciplinary education leader
Pro: Large, comprehensive co-op program.
Con: Soulless commuter campus
(“CANADIAN UNIVERSITY REPORT 2014: PROFILES-BC: Help choosing a university in British Columbia”, by Erin Millar and Tari Ajadi, October 22 (updated October 29), 2013, The Globe and Mail)
There are explanations for UBC’s snobbery; in addition to being a more historic, better connected and more competitive school, it has a beautiful bay-side campus, which in 1993 hosted the first U.S.-Russia summit between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, as I noted at the beginning of my blogging in January 2009:
“By the time Bill Clinton became U.S. president and right away came to Vancouver for his first major international summit, the first Clinton-Yeltsin summit in April 1993, pitching different themes from the previous Bush administration’s, including the re-emergence of Richard Nixon as an elder statesman on U.S. foreign policy, I was already out of the academia and bogged down in some politics of my focus, and was viewing the pomp and circumstance of the glitzy visit by the rare, distinguished guests to a place I had not long before been exiled from – part of the summit was held at the University of British Columbia – as a sort of ‘swan song’ by the departing Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, hardly noticing that at the time President Clinton was also transmitting his message to the U.S. Congress to legislate for Goals 2000, Educate America Act.
President Clinton loves Vancouver, British Columbia, obviously.”
(“Greeting the New Millennium – nearly a decade late (Part 1)”, January 29, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)
SFU would have been better for my job prospect, and has worked out well for Adrienne Drobnies after her husband’s death. So I would think it would have been a more comfortable experience for Alain Fournier himself.
I can certainly sympathize with Fournier’s feelings, reading the major press coverage on Maria Klawe’s games projects for children and the exultation of her as a “goddess of tech”, and contrasting it to my fruitless efforts to get Canadian media exposure about political scandals, including about Klawe’s management style. What a pity!
Who knows. Alain had had a bout with cancer before going to Vancouver, but with a psychologically more positive experience there he might avoid a relapse.
But wait. Had I chosen SFU in 1988, and then Alain gone there in 1989, wouldn’t he have recruited Jack to that school, whose receiving a UBC tenure-track job offer in 1990 practically ended my future prospect there?
Jack did not actually come to work in Vancouver until 1991, after a year of postdoctoral research at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, as recorded succinctly by the U.S. National Science Foundation where in 2015 Snoeyink has become a program director:
“BSc 1985, Math & Computer Science, Calvin College PhD 1990, Computer Science, Stanford University Posdoc ’90-91: Vakgroep Informatika, Utrecht Univ. Asst/Assoc Prof ’90-’99: Computer Science, University of British Columbia Prof ’00-: Computer Science, UNC Chapel Hill IPA ’15-: NSF CISE/CCF Algorithmic Foundations”
(“Staff Directory: Jack S. Snoeyink: Biography”, National Science Foundation)
A job performance review at SFU would have come up for me in 1991 – a fit with the timing of Snoeyink’s actual arrival in Vancouver had there been the need for SFU to vacate my position for Jack.
Oh well, there was probably no “magic” for my academic prospect in Vancouver; but there could be panacea for Alain’s career and life, maybe.