CHAPEL HILL – Former UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp returned to Chapel Hill this weekend. It was his first time back on campus since he departed this summer for Washington University in Saint Louis to take on his new role as Provost.
“It’s great being back in Chapel Hill, seeing old friends, and seeing a lot of the things I started and how they are doing,” Thorp said. “It’s good seeing the campus in such a great spirit and things going so well so well for Chancellor Folt.”
Thorp gave a lecture on Sunday about the importance of the study of the Humanities at the University.
Following his talk, he received several standing ovations from a crowd which included Chair of the UNC Board of Trustees Lowry Caudill and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham.
Chancellor Carol Folt took over as the University’s leader on July 1. Thorp said he met with Carolina’s first female chancellor on Friday for an extended lunch to catch up.
During his time as Chancellor, Thorp led Carolina through academic and athletic scandals which still haunt the University to this day.
Last year, Thorp announced his intention to step down as Chancellor into a faculty role effective June 30, but he later decided to depart Chapel Hill and accepted the Provost position at Washington University.
“The Provost job is a job that is well suited to me. My boss and me are completely in sync on many different things. It is a university that is unapologetically bold in its aspirations for academic excellence.”
Thorp on UNC sports
Thorp, an avid sports fan, said he didn’t make it over to Raleigh to watch the Tar Heel football team defeat N.C. State 27-19 on Saturday, but he did find a way to celebrate the game here in Chapel Hill.
“My college roommate and I watched it on TV,” Thorp said. “At halftime, to feel like old times, we walked over to the Yogurt Pump for some frozen yogurt, which is what we used to do when we lived in Connor Dorm 30 years ago.”
Thorp said he wouldn’t be able to make it back for many basketball games in Chapel Hill, but said he was still nevertheless ready for UNC’s first game of the season this Friday against the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies.
“I hadn’t bought a television in a long time, and I bought myself a very large HD TV, so I’m looking forward to basketball season.”
On his legacy
Leaving a legacy of encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation at Carolina, Thorp said he was most proud of his part in improving college accessibility during his time as Chancellor.
“It’s something I knew would be important to provide the kind of opportunity in a college education that happens here [UNC]. When you leave, you see how precious and wonderful a thing it is,” Thorp said. “I know Chancellor Folt is really amazed by that, coming from private, higher education. This tradition we have of meeting 100 percent of need and being need-blind and having 1-in-5 of our students being the first generation of in their family to go to college—I mean, God, that is even better and more important than I thought it was when I was here.”
As far as his plans to return to Chapel Hill one day, he said, “I’ve given up on trying to speculate what will happen in the future.”
Thorp said he will remain with Washington University for as long as he is needed.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/catching-up-with-former-unc-chancellor-holden-thorp/
CHAPEL HILL – Jan Boxill, UNC’s Faculty Chair, said Wednesday that significant progress has been made in achieving “balance” between athletics and academics at the University. In the wake of scandals that continue to haunt Carolina, the pressure is on to make changes and prevent future indiscretions.
“We can be a model for other Division I athletic programs,” Boxill said. “That doesn’t mean that we will reach complete agreement among the faculty as no policy will.”
In mid-July, Boxill was accused by the Raleigh News and Observer of a cover-up regarding information about UNC’s athletic program
Boxill told WCHL News that she was cast in a negative light by the N&O for trying to help the University’s image during tumultuous times with the NCAA, the media, and even the public. UNC faculty issued a statement supporting Boxill after the article was published.
While addressing a committee of the Board Trustees Wednesday, Boxill said that the work of the Faculty Council’s athletics focus group had been tedious, but that it was on a path toward progress.
Efforts have been on-going across campus to strengthen relationships between academics and athletics. The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes was reorganized and now reports to Dean’s office.
Earlier this month, the Rawlings Panel issued a report on the role of athletics in campus life. It was commissioned by former UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp.
Boxill said that report was discussed by the Faculty Council on September 13 and will be dissected more thoroughly next month.
Chancellor Carol Folt and Provost Jim Dean both assumed their respective positions this summer. Boxill said this has given her a fresh perspective on Carolina’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Their visible presence and willingness to learn from all of us has presented opportunities for the faculty to find solutions to our old and new problems,” Boxill said.
Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham, Folt, and Dean together formed the Student Athlete Academic Working Group in August.
Dean said Wednesday that the three leaders were not making just a “casual effort” to improve the connection between athletics and academics
“And this group, because of the nature of the people who are on the group, is not a group that will be making recommendations,” Dean said “There is no one for us to make recommendations to. We will be making changes.”
He added that he, Folt, and Cunningham were going through “everything that has to do with student athletes with a fine-toothed comb.”http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/uncs-jan-boxill-jim-dean-talk-athleticsacademics/
CHAPEL HILL – In the wake of academic and athletic scandals, UNC is now in a unique position to turn negatives into positives and re-write the role of athletics in university life. Provost Jim Dean, UNC’s chief academic officer, in his first months in the position, said the process of examining academic support to student athletes has already begun.
Dean took over as UNC’s provost on July 1, replacing Bruce Carney, who returned to the faculty after four years in the position. Carney, and former Chancellor Holden Thorp, led the university through tumultuous times in the midst of an NCAA investigation of the University’s football program, that subsequently revealed “irregularities” in the African and Afro-American Studies Department.
“It is clear that there are some areas where we haven’t done as well as we should have, and so what we want to make sure is that we really have a very thorough, rigorous framework that we can use for everything that we are doing with student athletes,” Dean said.
As former dean of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Dean watched as Carolina’s senior leadership dealt with the blows of the scandals. He said the controversies have been reported “thoroughly,” and as a result there may have been a misconception about how wide-reaching the academic scandals were.
“If you added up all of the things that people have talked about over the past few years, in terms of the number of people that it has touched, it is actually a really small number of people,” Dean said. “Again, I will emphasize that there’s 800 or so student athletes, and we are talking about a relative handful. If we are talking about courses, it is the same thing. If you are talking about faculty, we are talking about really, really small numbers in a university that has 30,000 students and 3,000 professors.”
Dean said in a few short months, he has forged a strong relationship with Carolina’s new batch of leaders, including Chancellor Carol Folt and Bubba Cunningham, now two years into his role as Director of Athletics. Together, the three have already begun work as the Student Athlete Academic Working Group.
“I think it is natural that when you have that many new people, we will come in and look around and say we have inherited a wonderful university, certainly one of the top universities in the country, but there’s always more that you can do and ways to make things better,” he said. “I do think that some of the problems we’ve had have inspired us to dig a little deeper and try a little harder to make sure that we are doing everything we can to live up to the standards of the university.”
Other members include Michelle Brown, who joined the University last spring as Director of the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes, and Stephen Farmer, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions. Dean said the group will also examine student athlete recruitment, admission and advising processes.
“It is important for me to say as Provost, I have a responsibility for the academic lives of all students, including all student athletes,” Dean said. “I am working closely with Bubba Cunningham as the Athletic Director, who has responsibility for the student athletes as athletes, and we have a great partnership that we are using to work together.”
Dean said the working group aims to build on recent progress made across campus in strengthening relationships between academics and athletics. Examples include the ongoing work of the Faculty Council’s Faculty Athletics Committee; the reorganization of and new leadership for the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes, which now reports to Dean’s office; and the implementation of the new strategic plan in the athletics department, according to UNC’s website.
In a large scale operation such as UNC, Dean said it is impossible to control every aspect, but examining current processes is a starting place for improvement.
“Whenever you are dealing with people, you can’t really make any guarantees in any sphere of life. But really all well-run organizations have a way that they do things.”
In April, work also began on a college athletics round table discussion commissioned by Holden Thorp and led by Hunter Rawlings, President of the Association of American Universities. UNC asked the panel to make recommendations about the role of athletics in the life of a university, taking into account the recent challenges the university has faced. In ongoing discussions, the panel is covering the NCAA, presidential control, amateurism, the current context of the model for college athletics, and the role of faculty.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/top-unc-leaders-tackle-athleticacademic-relations/
CHAPEL HILL – UNC’s Faculty Executive Committee issued a statement Monday supporting Jan Boxill, the faculty chairwoman for the University. It was revealed last week that she asked colleagues to re-write segments of an academics and athletics faculty report, according to an article by The News and Observer.
UNC has felt the blow of scandals over past several years, with an NCAA investigation of the university’s football program that subsequently surfaced “irregularities” in the African and Afro-American Studies Department.
The statement of support was signed by 16 professors, including the three authors of the 2012 faculty report, Steven Bachenheimer, Michael Gerhardt and Laurie Maffly-Kipp. The statement reads: “our full support for Jan Boxill throughout her leadership as Chair of the Faculty. We have complete confidence in her judgment and integrity.”
As the elected faculty leader, Boxill is one of UNC’s top academic officers.
Emails sent by Boxill show that just before the report’s release on July 26, 2012, Boxill sent the three faculty report writers a last minute correspondence. She suggested they edit a sentence which alluded to a department manager creating made-up classes to protect athletes’ eligibility to play sports, The N & O reported. Campus emails are public record. The report authors agreed to it, and some information was left out of the final version.
Boxill told The N & O that her suggestions for edits came from other committee members.
Read the full statement below:
The Faculty Executive Committee approved the following statement at its regular meeting on Monday, July 29, 2013:
Steven Bachenheimer, Michael Gerhardt, and Laurie Maffly-Kipp (in absentia), join with the following current and former members of the UNC Faculty Executive Committee to express our full support for Jan Boxill throughout her leadership as Chair of the Faculty. We have complete confidence in her judgment and integrity.
Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology and Immunology)
Michael Gerhardt (Law)
Laurie Maffly-Kipp (Religious Studies)
Mimi Chapman (Social Work)
Gregory P. Copenhaver (Biology)
Jean DeSaix (Biology)
Louise Dolan (Physics)
Jo Anne Earp (Public Health)
Joseph Ferrell (Secretary of the Faculty, School of Government)
Kevin Guskiewicz (Exercise and Sports Science)
Susan Irons (English and Comparative Literature)
Tim McMillan (African, African American, and Diaspora Studies)
Suchi Mohanty (University Libraries)
Leslie Parise (Biochemistry)
Shielda Rodgers (Nursing)
Vin Steponaitis (Anthropology)
CHAPEL HILL – Newly released emails show that Jan Boxill, UNC’s Faculty Council Chairman, asked colleagues to re-write segments of an academic fraud report, according to an article by The News and Observer.
Dan Kane, writer for The N & O, alleged that Boxill did this to lessen the likelihood of further NCAA investigations. As the elected faculty leader, Boxill is one of UNC’s top academic officers.
Emails sent by Boxill show that just before the report’s release on July 26, 2012, Boxill sent the three faculty report writers a last minute correspondence. She suggested they edit a sentence which alluded to a department manager creating made-up classes to protect athletes’ eligibility to play sports, Kane reported. Campus emails are public record. The report authors agreed to it, and some information was left out of the final version.
In email messages to The N & O, Boxill said she only passed along the suggestions of others and did not identify who provided them.
WCHL’s calls and an email to Boxill were not returned Sunday.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-leader-urged-re-write-of-acad-fraud-report-according-to-n-o/
CHAPEL HILL – Julius Nyang’oro, the former UNC African studies chairman and central figure of the UNC academic fraud scandal, held a close relationship with the student athlete tutoring program— according to a report Saturday by the News and Observer.
Writer Dan Kane says that members of the academic support staff offered Nyang’oro football tickets and the chance to watch a game from the sidelines. Kane says this information was obtained through newly released emails as part of a public records request filed a year ago.
Kane says that none of the details within the correspondence surfaced in the university’s investigations of the African and Afro-American Studies Department, or the NCAA investigation that resulted in the firing of UNC’s head football coach, Butch Davis, and multiple athletic department resignations—including for Athletic Director Dick Baddour.
UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp and other university officials have said the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes did not collaborate with Nyang’oro or department manager, Debbie Crowder, to create fraudulent classes to help maintain student athlete eligibility.
The university has stood by its own investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin, which concluded the fraud was not intended to benefit athletes because non-athletes were also enrolled in the classes and received the same high grades.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/n-o-close-relationship-of-former-unc-african-studies-chair-athl-counselors-revealed/