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The Daily Tar Heel

Board of Trustees considers how to support student athletes

Members of the Board of Trustees’ academic affairs committee questioned what the University is doing to address the support of student athletes at its meeting Wednesday.

Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean for undergraduate education, presented new initiatives that will be instituted to improve academic support for student athletes in light of academic infractions found in the NCAA investigation.

Owen said the University is hoping to hire a full-time tutor coordinator, re-install a faculty athletic support committee and improve oversight of athletic tutoring.

“The million dollar question is, if we have 74 tutors, how do we monitor them?” trustee and committee chairman Alston Gardner asked Owen.

Owen reiterated the need for a full-time coordinator and said she hopes the center can employ more professional teachers and retired professors in the future.

“The ideal tutor is someone who loves to teach,” she said.

University officials also presented to the committee about topics ranging from the investigation to independent study courses to faculty workload.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney discussed a recent proposal he made to the Board of Governors about changing two of UNC’s peer institutions.

Carney said he hopes to add Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota to the list, and remove Emory University and the University of Illinois.

Carney said that these universities, along with UNC’s other peer institutions, will be used as examples when UNC considers tuition increases.

“Everybody else is considerably more expensive,” he added.

Carney also discussed the faculty workload and how it measures up to previous years.

Through a series of charts, Carney showed trustees how UNC has improved in attracting outside research grants in most departments, both in the College of Arts and Sciences and professional schools.

He also highlighted UNC’s 97.2 percent retention rate in 2010 for students from freshman to sophomore year. This was the highest rate of the last five years, he said.

Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed her review of the African and Afro-American Studies Department in response to incidents last spring and their connection to Julius Nyang’oro, the department’s former chairman.

She added that her team is also investigating independent study courses in all departments to ensure that the courses are consistent across the board.

Gil said the team will review syllabi and grading policies.

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