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Philip Langlais, vice provost for graduate studies and research at Old Dominion University, has been elected 2007-08 vice president and 2008-09 president-elect of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS).

More than 200 universities in 15 states are members of the organization. Langlais was elected to the posts at the 36th annual meeting of CSGS in Chattanooga, Tenn., the last week of February.

A psychologist and neuroscientist, Langlais has become known within the CSGS and several national and international organizations for his work on ethics training, especially for graduate students and graduate-program faculties. He heads the ODU steering committee on ethics, professional standards and responsible conduct.

At the meeting in Chattanooga, Langlais spoke at a plenary session on ethics and professional standards and was the facilitator of another session titled "Case Study: Ethics, Professional Standards and the Role of Graduate Dean." Langlais collaborated with Nancy Marcus, dean of graduate studies at Florida State University, on the plenary presentation and in leading the case-study session.

Langlais was facilitator, as well, of a CSGS program, "Scholarship in the Ne(x)t Generation," that probed the ways computing and communications advances have transformed the scholarship of teaching and learning. This program included presentations by ODU's Richard Overbaugh, associate professor of curriculum design and instruction, and Christine Nichols, a doctoral student in instructional design and technology. Nancy Cooley, ODU's interim vice provost for distance learning, organized the program.

In 2004, ODU was one of 10 universities nationwide to receive a grant from the private Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the federal Office of Research Integrity to begin work on ethics training programs for graduate students. Langlais' initial task force conducted research at ODU to gauge student and faculty perceptions and skills regarding ethical decision-making and to frame a general plan for the ethics training that is needed. The research findings were described in an article by Langlais in the Fall 2006 issue of Quest magazine, ODU's publication devoted to research, innovations and breakthroughs.

A follow-up grant from CGS and the National Science Foundation came in 2006, and has allowed the ODU ethics-training initiative to expand. The long-term goal of the initiative is to establish ethics education as a regular feature of graduate education in all disciplines.

Langlais gained national attention as an ethics and professional-standards educator with a commentary article he wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education in January 2006. Shortly thereafter, he began receiving invitations to present his ODU-based ethics research at academic meetings throughout the country. Currently, he is helping to plan an international conference on research ethics that will be held in Portugal in the fall.

This article was posted on: March 6, 2007

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