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La Dolce Vitae


By Arthur H. Lubow

David Joroff's resume was too good to be true.

"My first reaction when he called was it must be someone way out to want to do this with all these qualifications," recalled Ruth Hubbard, the instructor in Natural Sciences 26, "Biology and Social Issues."

Along with his proposal to teach a penology section in the course, Joroff included a two-page curriculum vitae, citing eight former teaching positions (including one as professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Geneva), memberships in seven honorary societies, and a "partial list" of his articles and books (most of which were conveniently in French or "in press").

Joroff told Hubbard he wanted no salary to teach the section. He gave her his number to call at Larsen Hall at the Ed School. She was delighted. He got the job.

But there was something funny about Joroff's resume. None of the books or articles were readily available in this country. And the titles were unusually amorphous.

Sheldon White, Larsen Professor of Educational Psychology, became suspicious, and wrote to Barbel Inhelder, an associate of the distinguished developmental psychologist Jean Piaget in Geneva. Inhelder wrote back saying that Joroff had obtained visiting privileges at the Piaget Institute, but that he had never received a teaching appointment there or at the University of Geneva. She also scrawled "no, no, no, no" next to most of the items on the bibliography.

The rest of the resume is still being checked out. "I would hold all of it very much in suspicion," White commented. Joroff has been asked to leave his Larsen Hall desk, which he obtained as a visiting professor from Geneva. He never had a Corporation appointment at Harvard.

Hubbard and Joroff said they were most concerned about the fate of pending legislation on the Essex County Training School, a reform school in Lawrence which Joroff's section criticized in a 214-page report.

And Joroff's students in the popular course still support him. "If all the professors here were like him, Harvard would be a much better place," one commented.

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