To what extent, if any, should Dr. Vaji consider Leo’s ethnicity in his deliberations?
Please read the case study and answer the 3 questions in at least 900 words total.
Rashid Vaji, Ph.D., a member of the school psychology faculty at a midsize university,
serves as a faculty supervisor for students assigned to externships in schools. The
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department has formalized a supervision and evaluation system for the extern program.
Students have weekly individual meetings with the faculty supervisor and
biweekly meetings with the on-site supervisor. The on-site supervisor writes a midyear
(December) and end of academic year (May) evaluation of each student. The
site evaluations are sent to Dr. Vaji, and he provides feedback based on the site and
his own supervisory evaluation to each student. The final grade (fail, low pass, pass,
high pass) is the responsibility of Dr. Vaji.
Dr. Vaji also teaches the Spring Semester graduate class on “Health Disparities in
Mental Health.” One of the course requirements is for students to write weekly
thought papers, in which they are required to take the perspective of therapy clients
from different ethnic groups in reaction to specific session topics. Leo Watson, a
second-year graduate student is one of Dr. Vaji’s externship supervisees. He is also
enrolled in the Health Disparities course. Leo’s thought papers often present
ethnic-minority adolescents as prone to violence and unable to “grasp” the insights
offered by school psychologists. In a classroom role-playing exercise, Leo “plays” an
ethnic-minority student client as slumping in the chair not understanding the psychologist
and giving angry retorts. In written comments on these thought papers
and class feedback, Dr. Vaji encourages Leo to incorporate more of the readings on
racial/ethnic discrimination and multicultural competence into his papers and to
provide more complex perspectives on clients.
One day during his office hours, three students from the class come to Dr. Vaji’s
office to complain about Leo’s behavior outside the classroom. They describe incidents
in which Leo uses derogatory ethnic labels to describe his externship clients
and brags about “putting one over” on his site supervisors by describing these clients
in “glowing” terms just to satisfy his supervisors’ “stupid liberal do-good”
attitudes. They also report an incident at a local bar at which Leo was seen harassing
an African American waitress using racial slurs.
After the students have left his office, Dr. Vaji reviews his midyear evaluation and
supervision notes on Leo and the midyear on-site supervisor’s report. In his own
evaluation report Dr. Vaji had written, “Leo often articulates a strong sense of duty
to help his ethnic minority students overcome past discrimination but needs additional
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