The investigation into the degree-for-grant funding scandal within UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training has led to the termination of one faculty member, the reinstating of the other faculty member and the retirement of the director.
In January, the director and two faculty members of UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training were given notices of termination, following an investigation that started in fall 2018.
Lauren Reinerman-Jones and Daniel Barber received “Notice of Intent to Terminate” letters on Jan. 27 after a complaint reported to the university’s IntegrityLine alleged the two of helping a student obtain a doctoral degree in exchange for grant funding, and an external investigation was launched.
UCF spokesman Chad Binette said Barber has been reinstated and issued a letter of reprimand, following the detailed review of information in a 73-page document provided to UCF by his attorney.
The university has moved forward with the termination of Reinerman-Jones following the thorough review of information provided in the 70-page written response her attorney submitted to the university on Feb. 6, Binette said in an email.
“The university takes seriously any violations of academic integrity, as well as the due process rights for our staff and faculty members that ensure the fairness of employment decision,” Binette said. “Today’s final decisions reflect those values.”
Former Director of IST Randall Shumaker received a “Predetermination Notice of Proposed Termination” letter on Jan. 27 and was given the courtesy to retire or resign from the director position before Feb. 7, according to documents obtained by Knight News.
His retirement became effective Feb. 7, Binette confirmed. He will not be eligible for rehire at UCF, the notice states.
The Institute for Simulation and Training — a research institute that focuses on the advancement of simulation technology and understanding of simulation’s role in training and education, according to its website — is now led by interim director retired U.S. Navy Capt. Wes Naylor.
UCF interim President Thad Seymour said in the Jan. 27 statement that when the university members find violations of trust, they must act.
“We are also addressing other concerns raised in the investigation, including strengthening information security,” Seymour said in the statement. “While the investigation found no cybersecurity breaches, a university-wide group is working to ensure we are following new federal guidelines for protecting information systems.”
Seymour named Naylor as interim director of IST and said a national search for a new director will begin immediately.