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A male student peers over the shoulder of a female student during an exam in university.Kacso Sandor/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

When the University of Guelph's College of Management and Economics analyzed 140 incidents of academic misconduct at the college in 2012-3, most allegations were tied to group work. In some cases where students were found guilty of academic misconduct, the incidents often occurred with group assignments. For example, a guilty student was found to have copied sources without attribution, thereby ensnaring other members of the group. According to the report, 81 of more than 3,500 students at the college received sanctions, with a grade of zero for some students.

"It is absolutely essential that we uphold the highest standards of integrity in what we do," says college dean Julia Hughes Christensen. "The research [on plagiarism in higher education] shows there is a lot more that goes on than comes forward in a formal way."

Some, but not all, faculty at the college use licensed software Turnitin.com to monitor if students lift work from sources without attribution. Dr. Christensen says the software can serve as an educational tool, with students invited to submit their work in draft form to double-check citations.

"We try to help them see the whole academic enterprise, so that you build on the work that has come before, you honour that work by citing others and you strengthen your argument," she says. "This isn't just a foolish administrative requirement."

This semester, Prof. Kerry Godfrey said he received positive feedback from students who made use of the software before handing in assignments.

"I don't think academic misconduct is increasing; we just have more tools available to detect it," says Prof. Godfrey, author of the academic misconduct report and Associate Dean (Academic) at the college. "For me it is all about the teachable moment: How can I use this to help students better understand?"

Ivey aims to be in Top 25 of international schools

In October, 2013, when Nebraska-born Robert Kennedy arrived in London, Ont., as the ninth dean of the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario, he inherited plenty of assets. Among them, a recently-completed $206-million fundraising campaign, the largest in the 90-year history of the school; a new $110-million building and a 15-year run as the Canadian business school turning out the highest-salaried graduates.

So where to go from here? For the dean, the answer is to look within the school – and beyond – to further raise Ivey's international profile.

Dr. Kennedy aims to situate Ivey as a globally-recognized, Top 25 business school, based on measures such as selectivity of admissions, placement rates, starting salaries, research and size of endowment.

"It is not that we will be Top 25 on everything," he says. "But my expectation is, in anything we do we should be in the Top 25 and shooting higher than that."

On a recent ranking by Bloomberg Businessweek that measured student and employer satisfaction and faculty research citations, Ivey came first among international full-time MBA programs outside the United States. But earlier this year, the school dropped 11 spots to 89 among Top-100 global business schools rated by the Financial Times, which measures salaries and other school metrics.

As for the school endowment – key to competing globally for top students and faculty – Ivey (like other Canadian schools) lags behind its American counterparts. The University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business, where Dr. Kennedy was head of an emerging markets research institute before coming to Ivey, has an endowment of $376-million (U.S.). Ivey's is $86-million.

A Top-25 global ranking on endowment over the next decade, he concedes, "is going to be a stretch but that would be fundamentally transformative."

Looking within the school, he hopes to build on Ivey's teacher-scholar model of case-study learning and the "thought leadership and knowledge creation" generated by its 11 institutes and centres.

He says Ivey aims to design new programs in entrepreneurship, a priority for the university, including a new incubator for startup companies. Dr. Kennedy sees scope to deepen ties between the school's research centres and business through faculty-generated research and employment for students.

"I don't want Ivey to just be the ivory tower where we talk to other academics," says Dr. Kennedy, a recognized scholar who has published more than 100 business case studies, including at Harvard Business School, where he taught for several years. "We want to do good research and bring it into the classroom so we are providing opportunities for our students, but also to engage the real world."

The dean is looking outward, too. Ivey has a campus in Hong Kong, delivering executive MBA and executive development programs, and building links with mainland China.

Ivey is exploring potential collaborations with sister institutions in Asia and Europe, especially, Dr. Kennedy says. "None is a signed deal now but I would say in the next year to 18 months we are likely to be announcing several partnerships and joint programs," he says. "That is a way for us to extend our reach."

As for Ivey's ambitious fundraising aspirations – the school turns 100 in 2022 – discussions are under way on the priorities and financial goals for the next campaign.

"This school has a lot of latent strengths," Dr. Kennedy says. "So far it has been fun."

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Contact Jennifer at jlewington@bell.net.

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