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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

FOI AT Work: College Athletics and Academics

A nice piece of work from the Ann Arbor News has generated tremendous conversation in the hallways of athletic departments across the country, I'd guess:

Even as the University of Michigan men's basketball team played Iowa on a Saturday night in mid-January, most eyes in Crisler Arena seemed focused on Section 46, where new Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez sat near quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the No. 1 high school player in America.

No one paid much attention to the grandfatherly figure who sat three rows behind Pryor.

John Hagen was, as he has been for decades, close to some of the most recognized athletes at Michigan. University records obtained by The News show that the veteran psychology professor has taught at least 294 independent studies from the fall of 2004 to the fall of 2007, and 85 percent of those courses, 251, were with athletes.

Michigan officials said Hagen taught additional independent studies in that period, however, they refused to disclose the number of athletes who were part of that group.

During most of that period since 2004, Hagen had a .25 teaching appointment, meaning one quarter of his time was supposed to be spent in the classroom.

Independent studies traditionally are one-on-one courses arranged between a professor and a student to cover subject matter that isn't available as a university course. In some cases, they involve small groups of students.

Since August 2006, university officials have twice examined whether Hagen's courses meet Michigan's academic standards. They call his independent studies an example of a nationally respected researcher working with undergraduates.

"This is the kind of faculty experience we aspire to provide for all of our students," said Terry McDonald, dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

When The News dug further, however, speaking to athletes and former athletic department employees as part of a seven-month investigation that included interviewing 87 people and reviewing more than 3,500 pages of internal documents, a different picture emerged...

More here.

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