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Philip Langlais, the vice provost for graduate studies and research at Old Dominion University, has been elected to the board of directors of the national Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). His two-year term began Jan. 1.

CGS, the only organization in the United States that is dedicated solely to the advancement of graduate education and research, draws its membership from nearly 500 institutions, including some in Canada and outside of North America. Member institutions award more than 90 percent of all U.S. doctorates and more than 75 percent of U.S. master's degrees.

Langlais has led ODU's participation in a CGS pilot program to develop best practices for comprehensive ethics and responsible conduct in research (RCR) education in graduate programs. ODU got an initial grant in 2004 to fund its participation and in 2006 the university successfully applied for support in the second wave of the CGS program.

An ODU task force that Langlais leads has done research on campus to gauge student and faculty perceptions and skills regarding ethical decision-making and to frame a general plan for the ethics training.

The ODU ethics survey has been refined and is being used in RCR assessments at about a dozen other universities. Langlais is working with the CGS to seek funding to expand the survey into a Web-based research tool that would build a national database about the RCR climate.

This work has thrust the ODU vice provost into national prominence in RCR education. He has been invited to several major conferences to present components of the university's ethics initiative. He wrote a commentary for The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2006 advocating ethics training for graduate students. That article summed up the high incidences of plagiarism and falsification of data and other RCR lapses in academe that have been reported by popular media and research papers. It also described the work of the university's RCR task force.

Langlais led an RCR case-study session at CGS's Summer Workshop for Graduate Deans in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last summer. A few weeks after the workshop, Debra Stewart, president of the CGS, sent Langlais a letter calling his presentation "exceptionally effective." She asked permission, which Langlais gave, to post his PowerPoint outline on the CGS Web site, www.cgsnet.org.

A psychologist and neuroscientist, Langlais was elected last year as the 2007-08 vice president and 2008-09 president-elect of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS), which has membership from 200 universities in 15 states.

This article was posted on: January 17, 2008

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