U of R president concerned about school's reputation after cheating allegations

On Monday, University of Regina president Vianne Timmons addressed the latest allegations of academic dishonesty in the faculty of engineering.

Vianne Timmons addresses latest academic dishonesty flagged in faculty of engineering

University of Regina president Vianne Timmons expressed concerns about the motion, indicating it would limit the university's development. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

The president of the University of Regina is concerned for the reputation of the school after the latest in a series of allegations of academic misconduct in the faculty of engineering. 

"But I also am pleased that engineering is working really hard to make sure that academic misconducts are dealt with and, so you know, I can't fault them," Vianne Timmons said on Monday. 

Associate dean of engineering David deMontigny told CBC News last week that two students in the faculty reported seeing cheating during an exam in a law and ethics class.

No one has been disciplined because the reports did not identify the alleged cheaters. 

In an email sent to students after the reports, deMontigny said anyone found to have cheated wouldn't graduate and would forfeit the iron ring given to graduates. 

Timmons said cheating happens in all levels of education, from kindergarten to university.

"Our engineering school is working really hard to identify these, making sure the sanctions are clearly implemented and following through on proactive educational programming to try and prevent it," she said.

A string of allegations

The U of R's faculty of engineering is no stranger to accusations of academic misconduct. 

In October, a grading system was hacked by a student who altered marks.

Also in October, CBC News revealed allegations that graduate student teaching assistants were bribed to help students and that students had stolen exams from professors' offices and sold the answers.

There have also been two instances of professors being caught breaking the rules in relation to plagiarizing work

Timmons said she thinks numbers are still low for the university as a whole. 

"We have thousands, 15,000 students at this university. When you look at the incidents of academic misconduct they're a small percentage, but still we take that seriously," she said. 

When asked if the university would focus specifically on the faculty to address the string of reported misconduct, Timmons said  the "dean of engineering is doing an amazing job both in identifying incidents and in educating students, so there'll always be more work to be done and we'll continue to do it."

After the most recent misconduct allegations, professor George Sherk told CBC's iTeam that he had left the room under supervision of teaching assistants when the cheating was said to have happened.

Timmons did not answer if specific actions will be taken to address how teaching assistants are chosen. She said this latest incident is hard to investigate.

"But as with every investigation that's reported we will do a thorough and comprehensive investigation." 

with files from Geoff Leo