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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title The Nutty Professor
Long Title The Nutty Professor
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD? (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD?
Professor, Dept of Rehabilitation Medicine
Medical Ethics, Center for Ethics
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided A few years ago during my post-Doc, I had an advisor who seemed just plain nuts. Psychiatrists might label him “narcissistic,” “paranoid,” “compulsive,” “anti-social,” “emotionally disregulated,” but I think he was crazy. He’d lash out at students; pound his desk in anger; and threaten to refuse to pay work-study students. While I was working on my project, he’d call me sometimes late at night—twice around midnight—with suggestions. He’d drag on some students’ theses interminably. Nevertheless, I don’t think he ever really “damaged” anyone significantly; he was just very peculiar and unpredictable. And many people found it impossible to work for him.

After weighing the pro’s and con’s of leaving the group, I decided to stick it out unlike several other students who came with a smile but left aghast at what they experienced. However, some students did not leave without first filing formal complaints about my advisor’s behavior with the Dean. Twice, I was asked to testify to the concerns of these students. Knowing that my advisor would destroy me if I said anything negative about him, I hedged and was vague on the really probing questions. After completing my post-Doc, I was asked again to write an evaluation of this nutty professor, and I was kind.

The dilemma is that if I said anything bad about him, I would be kissing a good recommendation good-bye. However, if I didn’t say anything negative, my advisor’s nuttiness would probably continue.
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics No Data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership Topics
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics
Power relationships and the potential problems they involve,
Responsibilities of trainees within the mentor–trainee relationship,
Addressing challenges and problems in the mentor–trainee relationship
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics No publication practices and responsible authorship topics
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics No research misconduct topics
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics No conflicts of interest_law_and policy topics
Human Subjects

Citation

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword Mentoring, Students, Post-doc
Other RCR Keywords

Case Difficulty Quick
Type of Case Illustrate point, Realistic dilemma
Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.
References

Other

Topic revision: r5 - 01 Nov 2011 - 13:17:07 - DebieSchilling
 
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