Volume 94, Issue 92

Thursday, March 15, 2001


USC budget gets the green light

VP hopefuls near election day

Strip search ends Trent standoff

Case of the phony professor sparks inquiry

Farmer protest slows down the 401 - Lack of gov't funding causes outrage


Planet Me

Case of the phony professor sparks inquiry

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

The misrepresentation of academic qualifications by a fraudulent professor has led to the University of Regina endorsing a review of its own hiring practices.

Former U of R engineering professor, Lana Nguyen, left her position in the faculty of engineering in mid-February over allegations she doctored her own academic credentials, which consisted of degrees from the University of Waterloo and the University of Ottawa, said Dave Barnard, president of the University of Regina.

Stuart McKinnon, associate vice-president at the University of Calgary and Connie Rooke, president of the University of Winnipeg, are slated to conduct a review of the U of R's hiring process and make recommendations before the end of April, he said.

The university wanted a review panel that would be hands-off and could make judgments which were independent of the U of R, Barnard explained.

"We think the university has good, stringent processes," he said. "Clearly we have a case here that skimmed over the surface.

"In the case of burgling, you can lock your door and windows, as well as buy an alarm to help mitigate the chances. But, if a professional burglar wants in, they'll get in your house," he said.

McKinnon said he will bring his experience in human resources policy at the University of Calgary and help apply it to his evaluation of the U of R employment procedures. "So far, I know very little about [the U of R situation]," he said.

Jared Paddock, president of the U of R's engineering students society, said he was impressed with the range of areas the review panel is expected to address, which included staff evaluation methods and the treatment of student/faculty complaints in general.

"The idea is to use the [Nguyen] incident as a chance to make something a little better at the university," he said.

"We need to make the student complaint process against a faculty member a little more effective," he said, adding a number of students had made formal complaints about Nguyen's teaching performance close to six months before her deception had been discovered.

Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said Western has a rigorous referencing process when conducting faculty employment.

He said the extensive academic hiring universities will be doing over the next decade should not pose a problem. "It may be the case that we hire more individuals who have yet to fully complete their PhDs, which will simply lead to more follow-up to ensure their work [is completed]."

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