Have you ever heard of the book “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference?” I have not read it, but the book has been sitting on my shelf for over a year now. When the ball finally started rolling and the media began to really pay attention to the UNC academic scandal, the first thing that came to my mind was the description of the book that has been collecting dust in my living room. “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” The recent release of Julius Peppers’ transcript was without question the tipping point in this entire fiasco, which started out as a mere blip on the radar. The story has caught momentum and finally people who we want to hear discussing it are discussing it. As much as I love Gregg Doyel, I have been waiting for a week now to hear what someone more closely tied to the University of North Carolina has to say. Today, the Chancellor spoke. A letter was sent from the Chancellor to the Carolina Trustees, Faculty and Staff.
Holden Thorp, the Chancellor, went into detail about the “breaches of academic integrity” that occurred at North Carolina To read the entire letter, click here. The letter outlines many of the steps UNC plans to take, including but no limited to the following:
– Former Governor James G. Martin agrees to lead continuing review of courses (this might very well be the biggest step)
As part of our ongoing review of academic irregularities disclosed in May in our review of courses in African and Afro-American Studies, we have been reviewing the extent to which irregularities may have occurred prior to 2007. In consultation with our Board of Trustees and UNC President Tom Ross, we have asked James G. Martin, former N.C. governor and a former professor at Davidson College, to lead an independent review of any additional academic irregularities that may have occurred. Governor Martin’s expanded review will be assisted by Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP, a national management consulting firm with extensive experience in academic performance audit procedures and controls. Members of the Board of Trustees, President Ross and I all believe that this is an important step in rebuilding the confidence that you deserve to have in our academic integrity. This review will begin immediately.
– Appointment of Hunter Rawlings to examine the role of athletics in the life of the University
– Changes in the academic support program for student athletes
We are implementing plans now to:
Reorganize the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes and Hire a New Leader. The College has, for several months, been engaged in the process of reorganizing the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes, and has launched a national search for a new director. Steve Matson, dean of the Graduate School, is chairing the search. The new director will report solely to the College of Arts and Sciences and will have the authority to manage the program’s budget. Harold Woodard, associate dean and director of the Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling, will serve as interim director of the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes. Collectively, these changes provide the opportunity to move forward with a fresh perspective.
Expand Academic Advising. Like all students at Carolina, each student-athlete is assigned a primary academic advisor through the College’s Academic Advising Program. The College will strengthen the role of the advisors by adding two new positions to monitor and oversee academic advising for student-athletes.
Coordinate and Clarify the Relationship between Academic Advising and the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. We are making it unequivocally clear that the College of Arts and Sciences is in charge of Academic Advising and the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. The College will enhance its training and supervision of academic advisors and academic counselors to strengthen their distinct, but complementary, roles and responsibilities.
Expand the Summer Bridge Program. The College is expanding its successful summer residential academic support program to incorporate student-athletes who may need help with their personal and academic transition from high school to the University.
Strengthen Faculty Involvement in Athletics. We are strengthening relationships among the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Academic Support Program, the Faculty Athletics Committee and the faculty representative to the ACC/NCAA. Professor Joy Renner, the new chair of the Faculty Athletics Committee, spent the summer meeting with members of her committee, the administration and Athletics Department to discuss how the committee can better ensure academic integrity and full integration of student-athletes into the life of the University. To meet the complex challenges associated with balancing academic and athletic excellence, it’s essential that faculty be visibly engaged in relevant policies and practices.
It took entirely too long, but on the surface at least, it would appear that the ball is definitely rolling now in the further investigation of the UNC academic scandal.