Ethics Blog Post

The case study that I looked at was in regards to Shiladitya Sen at Ohio State University. To summarize, as a graduate student Sen was found guilty of research misconduct in which he falsified data in regards to his PHD thesis and his poster presentation as well as grant applications. As a result of the finding he agreed to not work in the federal government and to not serve in any PHS advising capacity.

I am certain that this instance happens more than we would like to admit in research. That is why I have always wondered how much can trust can we put in someone’s research. It is not that I am a pessimistic person, but doesn’t the researcher have the ability to “manipulate” the data to be what they want? They might not be as covert about it, but maybe if they’re studying a sample and changing a small aspect of the study they might get closer to a result they were hoping would come out of the study. I have always wondered how often that happens in research.

I’ve also question the process through which people and certain projects obtain grants to conduct their research. Let’s say an influential organization decides to donate a good amount of money for a research project to happen. Wouldn’t the researcher be beholden to the organization giving them the money to follow along any potential guidelines they may have? Just like conflict of interests and big donors can have an enormous influence in other fields such as politics, I have always felt that these institutions that provide big grants can have a similar impact as well.

I choose to be an optimist in that I believe for the most part researchers are doing their job ethically. I just believe that we have to be as transparent as possible once we publish our findings and be accountable to the type of research we conduct. Only then can we truly ensure that our work is serving our fields and the overall public in their best interest.

Mission Statements

“The mission of the Clemson University Graduate School is to provide a transformative education that generates intellectual, economic and social capital for the benefit of all.”

The main thing that sticks out to me about Clemson’s graduate statement is their underlying message about equality. When they mention “of all”, it is my opinion that they are trying to highlight diversity and accessibility for all kinds of people. Graduate school can not only be a time commitment but a financial commitment, and Clemson at least is wants to emphasize that in their statement.

Also, I believe it is important that the research we do should be applicable to the real world, and Clemson also seems to be highlighting that in their statement. Not only should it enhance our understanding academically, but how can it help benefit society especially in regards to an economic perspective. Given that Clemson is a research 1 institution, they are appear to be marketing the applicability of their program to the real world on top of their academics.

Mission Statement “The mission of the Graduate School is to serve as a catalyst for excellence in graduate education at NC State by promoting the highest-quality education for students and postdoctoral scholars, including outstanding academic experiences, opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research, and professional development that prepares students and postdocs for success in their fields;  advancing the diversity of graduate education at NC State and of the professoriate nationwide through recruitment, retention, and support of underrepresented minority groups; fostering an environment in which graduate faculty can reach their potential as teachers, researchers, and mentors to graduate students;  encouraging research and graduate programs that address the critical issues that challenge our state, our nation, and our world; achieving recognition of NC State as a model for leadership and innovation in graduate education in North America.”

NC State’s mission statement seems to be similar to Clemson in balancing between the academic benefits of going through their graduate program as well as the practical benefits. In their statement, they mention scholars while also referencing the importance of the graduate faculty and their relationship to the students. It is safe to say that a fair amount of individuals attend graduate school at the masters level with the intention of going on to a PHD, and NC State makes sure in their statement to assure potential candidates that they are getting a well-rounded experience.

The key theme to take away from both mission statements is that these universities are trying to make their education more applicable outside academia. After 4 years of undergrad, I think there’s a number of people who do not want to go to school again instead of obtaining a full-time job unless they believe it can enhance their skills when seeking a job. Especially in the communication grad program that I am a part of, it is designed mostly for people who want to pursue a PHD. If programs are able to make their graduate studies more applicable, then I believe we will see an increase in the pursuit of higher studies. That is why I am a fan of my program because we do get practical experience as a GTA for public speaking where we teach and run the class solo. Mission statements are key to changing this narrative as they summarize the goals of their respective programs, and I believe all programs should adopt in some capacity what Clemson and NC State have decided to do with their statements.