Local/State

UNC board discusses changes to tutoring program

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp and athletic director Dick Baddour declined to comment Wednesday about the NCAA probe, but it is clear the university is trying to clean up the mess.

The investigation into UNC's football program has raised several flags in the field of academics at the top ranked university.

With allegations like plagiarism, tutors who violated rules, and faculty who failed to provide oversight, board of trustee members at an academic affairs meeting Wednesday looked for answers.

UNC Faculty Chair Jan Boxhill is assuring university leaders that a complete review of the school's honor system is underway.

"A task force should be in place by the time the report is released, and this issue should be dealt with and looked at very diligently and proactively," Boxhill said.

There is talk of assigning one person to manage all tutors in the student-athlete tutoring program. The purpose is to make sure tutors follow university rules.

"And also to conduct exit interviews with tutors when they leave the program," Associate Dean Bobbi Owen said. "We'd like somebody who wakes up in the morning thinking about tutors and having that job as their responsibility instead of a group of people sharing that responsibility."

Another suggestion is to eliminate undergraduate student tutors over a period of time.

The university's African and African American Studies Department is also under the microscope. After a football player named in the NCAA probe submitted a plagiarized paper in an independent studies course, questions were raised about how much contact, if any, he may have had with his professor who has since resigned his post as department chair.

"The college is doing an in depth review of courses in the college and an examination of how independent study course will be conducted," said Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "We haven't reached any conclusions, only that it will be important to strengthen our policies going forward."

The dean over the African and African American Studies Department told the trustees she's taking the issue very seriously. A review of the independent study program for all departments is underway.

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