The claims were made last month by 26 academics in relation to the 2008 masters of arts dissertation of Flan Garvey, a former mayor of Clare.
He has chaired the governing body since 2001 but informed members on Thursday that the deputy chair, Terry O’Brien, was assuming the functions of chairman.
In a statement to the board, Mr Garvey said: “In the best interests of the Institute of Technology, Tralee, and without prejudice to me and stating clearly my intention to defend my position, I will be unavailable to the institute for a number of weeks until this investigation is complete and will not be exercising my functions as chairman of the governing body.”
The investigation is believed to be taking place on behalf of the college, although the lecturers who made the complaint had asked the matter be referred to statutory standards body Quality and Qualifications Ireland, because of a potential conflict of interest.
Last week, QQI told the Irish Examiner that the college has well-established procedures in place to deal with the matter, and has been advised of relevant independent experts.