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Case of Conflicting Criteria

Category 1: Interpersonal Dynamics


Liu is a teaching assistant for a chemistry laboratory in a state college. She is of Asian decent with an above average mastery of English as a second language, and outstanding mastery of the course material. Liu is an undergraduate senior majoring in chemistry and plans to attend graduate school after receiving her B.S. degree.

Fred is a student in Liu’s course, who is a white male taking pre-health career science courses.

Fred tells Liu that he needs to miss a lab to attend a wedding. When he returns, he expects Liu to provide opportunities for him to earn the points he missed in lab. Instead, Liu sticks to the rules outlined in the syllabus. Fred becomes so aggressive in his verbal response to Liu that she is fearful enough to register concerns with her supervisor.

Separate interviews with Liu and Fred follow. Fred contends that, since he plans a career in medicine, his behavior is necessary as he feels his future contributions to health care justify his actions.

Stage 1

What action do you think WAS taken by the Supervisor?

A. The supervisors talked to Liu and convinced her to provide opportunities for Fred to do makeup labs. He was a good student, and they wanted to help him get into medical school.

B. The supervisors talked to Fred and convinced him to accept Liu's decision.

C. The supervisors talked to Liu and Fred and helped them arrive at a compromise solution.

Stage 2

What action do you think SHOULD have been taken by the Supervisor?

A. Since he is a good student, give Fred the credit so he can become a good doctor.

B. Support Liu’s position since she is following syllabus guidelines.

C. Give Fred a copy of the school’s code of conduct, so he can learn about proper treatment of others in workplace.