Are we overlooking ethical problems in training?

Ali Mattu, APA Education Leadership Conference

I was recently invited to speak at the American Psychological Association Education Leadership Conference on the topic of ethics in graduate training. This month's APA Monitor has a summery of my main points. Here's an excerpt: 

Ali Mattu, PhD, wasn’t really listening to what his professor was saying. Instead, he was studying for his qualifying exams, using a presentation a friend had given in the same class a few years earlier. Then something strange happened: The professor started saying out loud the words that Mattu was reading.

”I looked up and realized my professor was plagiarizing what the student had presented in the class two or three years before,” Mattu told participants at APA’s 2013 Education Leadership Conference. “It was a really scary situation.”

Mattu’s experience isn’t unique. Graduate students frequently witness unethical behavior by professors, supervisors and mentors, whether it’s plagiarism, falsified data, confidentiality breaches or other problems. But students typically aren’t trained to handle conflicts involving those with power over them. “There are consequences for reporting your superiors,” said Mattu. “We need to debate as a field how to help students when they encounter ethical conflicts with superiors.

Visit the APA Monitor for full coverage of the conference.