Date Uploaded: 06/08/2014
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) is still “considering possible disciplinary action”, following a protracted external investigation into complaints of alleged plagiarism at the college.
The external investigation, which is said to have cost more than €400,000 to conduct, was completed eight months ago, but has not yet been published.
The third-level college has said it does not intend to release the report before the issue of possible disciplinary action is decided upon. GMIT management initiated the external investigation in March 2011 into how its business school dealt with and responded to “complaints/suspicions” of plagiarism which had been highlighted by one lecturer.
A specific incident at the business school relating to alleged use of an instructor’s manual by a postgraduate student during the 2009-2010 academic year had by then already been the subject of several internal inquiries.
The manual, which includes model answers to questions, is restricted to lecturers only by a password from the publisher.
An internal inquiry subsequently held in the GMIT school of business found the student to be guilty of plagiarism. His original mark for the work in question was reduced by 50 per cent.
UCD deputy registrar of teaching and learning Prof Bairbre McRedmond and barrister and mediator Ed Madden were appointed in spring 2011 to conduct the independent investigation, and were to furnish a report “as quickly as practicable”.
GMIT said at the time that its academic council and governing body had developed a new “quality improvement plan” to tighten up standards
The report by the external investigators was completed last November – some 2½ years after commissioning.
The terms of reference had outlined an expected publication three weeks after investigations had concluded.
GMIT said at the time that the terms of reference would cover the manner in which a complaint was made, and suspicions communicated by a lecturer to the relevant department, school and institute.
It would also focus on whether “any relevant matter was suppressed, concealed or covered up by the department, school or institute, or any member of staff”.
Its business school had originally treated a misconduct allegation as a “minor” case of plagiarism by a student, when it should have been dealt with at senior management level, it had noted.
Journalist: Lorna Siggins