GMIT launches new external probe into cheating allegations

GMIT launches new external probe into cheating allegations

Governing body orders unprecedented inquiry

By Dara Bradley

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) has launched an unprecedented external investigation into an incident of cheating at the college, the Connacht Sentinel can exclusively reveal.

The governing body will obtain the services of two senior academics from two other Irish third level institutes to conduct the investigation into a case of plagiarism in the School of Business.

Senior academics and management at the Dublin Road campus will be interviewed and asked to provide statements to the investigation team, which will probe, among other things, whether information regarding the incident was “suppressed, concealed or covered up” by anyone within GMIT.

The incident in early 2010, which was revealed in our sister newspaper the Galway City Tribune last December, involved a final year student who obtained an instructor’s manual – which contained model answers to assessment questions – and used the material to cheat.

The instructor’s manual is legitimately accessible by academic staff online only and is protected by a password. It is alleged the password was passed by the lecturer to the student.

This external investigation – believed to be the first ever external inquiry into plagiarism to take place in GMIT and only the second ever inquiry into plagiarism in any third level institute in the state – will be the fourth actual inquiry into this incident of plagiarism to be undertaken at GMIT.

The scope of the external investigation, which will be conducted by Professor Bairbre Redmond of UCD and Mr Ed Madden of NUI Maynooth, includes:

1) the manner in which the (plagiarism) complaint made and suspicions communicated by Lecturer X were dealt with by the Department, School and Institute,

2) if shortcomings are found in the manner in which the complaint and suspicions were dealt with as aforesaid, the reasons for any such shortcomings,

3) whether any relevant matter was suppressed, concealed or covered up by the Department, School or Institute or any member of the staff of the Institute,

4) whether the Institute’s procedures for dealing with complaints or suspicions of plagiarism are adequate or could be improved on.

The investigators, according to the terms of reference, will interview senior personnel within the college including the Heads of Department, Head of School, Registrar, HR Manager, the members of the student disciplinary committee, the Chair of the Masters in Business in Strategy and Innovation Management Programme and “any other person whom the investigation team might consider relevant will also be requested to provide statements.”

The report into the investigation is expected to be completed by the end of this college term. It is understood the scope of the inquiry could be expanded to include other instances of plagiarism within the college and School of Business.

Connacht Sentinel – April 5, 2011

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