College staff asked to raise standards concerns


LORNA SIGGINS, Western Correspondent

GALWAY-MAYO Institute of Technology (GMIT) has confirmed its acting president has invited staff to raise any concerns they may have about academic standards.

Acting president Jim Fennell invited staff to contact him, the registrar, members of the academic council, or heads of department/school on the issue in an e-mail circulated on December 21st last.

Mr Fennell, who has been the college’s financial controller, told staff he had also expressed his concerns about “an incident of plagiarism” which occurred in the 2009-2010 academic year and has asked the registrar to review the case.

The incident, which was reported in the Galway City Tribune last month, relates to the alleged use of an instructor’s manual by a masters student.

The manual, which includes model answers to questions, is restricted to lecturers only.

The student graduated last autumn.

The college has been the focus of recent controversy over its handling of other alleged incidents of plagiarism, and use of the appeals procedure by students to increase marks.

However, it has said it is satisfied all procedures were followed, and is not conducting any formal investigations at this point.

Mr Fennell told staff in his e-mail that he had asked the registrar to place the issue of academic standards and quality assurance on the agenda of the next academic council meeting this Friday.

The role of the academic council is to advise the governing body on the planning, co-ordination, development and overseeing of educational work at the college, and to protect, maintain and develop academic standards of courses and activities at the college.

The Higher Education and Training Awards Council said it had been in touch with the GMIT authorities recently in relation to quality issues, and was satisfied that it did not have a role at this point.

The institute is primarily responsible for its own quality assurance.

The awards council’s periodic review of GMIT is due to be published in several months’ time.

GMIT is based at five locations in the west of Ireland. Its main campus is based at Dublin Road, Galway.

It also has a campus in Castlebar, Co Mayo, with smaller facilities in Letterfrack and Mountbellew in Co Galway and in Cluain Mhuire in Galway city.

It is involved in a range of research activities involving collaborations with other higher education centres, as well as industry.

GMIT also provides a range of consultancy services, working in partnership with business and community organisations to provide higher education throughout the region and to promote economic, social and cultural development.

The Irish Times – Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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