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The Daily Tar Heel

Jan Boxill says she did not teach 160 independent study courses at UNC

The former philosophy professor is refuting records that say otherwise.

Jan Boxill is refuting records that indicate she taught 160 independent study courses during an eight-year period at UNC.

Records obtained by The Daily Tar Heel in November showed that Boxill, a philosophy professor, offered 160 independent study courses between spring 2004 and spring 2012. 

According to an independent investigation by Kenneth Wainstein, Boxill steered athletes to fake classes in the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

Former philosophy department chairman Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, who was the chairman between 2001 and 2011, said in November that teaching more than 150 independent studies is an unusually large number. 

In a phone interview Friday, Boxill defended her independent study courses and clarified department policy during her time there. 

Boxill said she served as the director of undergraduate studies for the philosophy department from 1994 to 2006. She also said she served as interim director from 2007 to 2008. Boxill said during that time, it was common practice to file all independent studies under the director’s name.

She said a number as high as 160 would include independent study courses taught by other faculty members.

A 2012 report found the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies to have followed a policy like the one Boxill described. 

“It was the department’s practice to list under a single instructor of record on an official grade role multiple independent study students who were presumably taught by different instructors of supervision,” the report states. “This practice made it difficult for the review committee to determine precisely which faculty member supervised each independent study student in question.”

Provost Jim Dean commented on the philosophy independent studies in a letter announcing her discharge from the University. 

"In addition to the foregoing activities connected to the AFAM paper classes, it appears that you also allowed students to be enrolled in independent study courses in the Department of Philosophy that involved minimal academic expectations and that were offered at times to accommodate student-athletes," he said.

Boxill stood by the manner in which she taught independent studies and said she is unsure how many independent study courses she taught at UNC because it was over such a long period of time. She declined to speak further about UNC's scandal.

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