Becker named as first director of University ethics and compliance

Becker named as first director of University ethics and compliance

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Following a national search, Penn State has named Regis W. Becker as its first director of University ethics and compliance. In this role, he will oversee all compliance issues throughout the University and develop Penn State's first comprehensive program of institutional ethics.

Becker will report to the Legal and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees and to David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business.

"Regis Becker's range of distinguished experience in corporate compliance, security and law enforcement makes him the ideal person to implement and oversee clear, comprehensive and exemplary principles and procedures for the University," Penn State President Rod Erickson said. "As I noted when announcing this position, Regis will have oversight of compliance with all federal, state and local laws, as well as internal policies and external organization policies, while encouraging the highest ethical standards of conduct for those who represent the University and act on its behalf."

"I believe my capabilities will serve Penn State well as it works to strengthen its overall institutional commitment to integrity and transparency," Becker said. "The experience I have gained throughout my career provides me with a broad practical perspective and an in-depth understanding of the critical role that a robust ethics and compliance program can play in bolstering and sustaining an organization’s culture and values. I look forward to continuing my work as a compliance leader in service to this great institution."

Becker is currently chief compliance officer for PPG Industries, a global Fortune 250 company with headquarters in Pittsburgh. After joining PPG in 1992, Becker advanced through a series of corporate security and risk management roles to earn oversight of all global compliance efforts in 2009. He heads the company’s global ethics and compliance program, with responsibility for developing and updating a global code of ethics, oversight of related training and certification for the company’s nearly 40,000 employees, and supervision of compliance auditing and monitoring efforts. He also manages the company’s crisis response unit, which ensures PPG sets appropriate protocols and follows them to quickly mitigate external and internal threats and events.

His prior experience includes work as an FBI special agent, as a detective in the Allegheny County, Pa., district attorney's white-collar crime unit and as a corporate security director with Union Carbide Corp. and Praxair. A 1978 Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement, Becker earned his juris doctorate from the Duquesne University School of Law in 1983.

Integrity monitor’s report updated; Penn State progress noted

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sen. George Mitchell, the independent third-party athletics integrity monitor for Penn State, today (March 1) issued his second quarterly report regarding the University's performance under the Athletics Integrity Agreement, which was entered into in August by the University, the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference as part of the consent decree imposed by the NCAA.

“This report continues to evidence Penn State’s ongoing commitment to integrity, responsibility and ethical conduct, as well as the significant progress that Penn State has made and continues to make since July,” said University President Rodney Erickson. “We still have more to do, but we’re gratified that Sen. Mitchell and his team recognize all that we have done and that we are committed to continuing these efforts, in full compliance with the consent decree and the Athletics Integrity Agreement.”

Mitchell's position as athletics integrity monitor was established by the Athletics Integrity Agreement, a document that contains a number of prescriptive measures designed to ensure Penn State continues to meet all applicable NCAA and Big Ten rules and standards of integrity.Part of these measures called for the recent hire of Julie Del Giorno as Penn State's athletics integrity officer. On an ongoing basis, Del Giorno will be responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of policies and practices within Penn State's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics that ensure compliance and ethical conduct.

Sen. Mitchell's team will continue its independent evaluation of Penn State's activities and efforts under the Athletics Integrity Agreement and the NCAA consent decree. Mitchell's five-year appointment as the University's monitor began in August, and a report outlining actions taken is produced on a quarterly basis. Mitchell's previous update was issued on Nov. 30.

The complete text of the report and information about actions Penn State has taken is available at www.dlapiper.com.

Freeh investigation findings used to improve Penn State operations

In November 2011, the Penn State Board of Trustees appointed former FBI director and federal Judge Louis Freeh to conduct an independent investigation of the University's response to the allegations of sexual abuse committed by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The goal of this investigation was to uncover facts and identify where failures occurred in the University's governance and compliance structure and to make recommendations to help ensure that such failures never happen again. This was an internal investigation into Penn State's response to the allegations.

It was not within the scope of Judge Freeh's engagement to review the actions, motives or functions of entities outside of our University community. This was an internal investigation into Penn State's response to the allegations, and that is how the University has utilized the report.

As a result of the investigation, 119 recommendations were made to Penn State in areas such as safety and governance. To date, the University has implemented a majority of those recommendations, which are helping to make the University stronger and more accountable. The University intends to implement substantially all of the Freeh recommendations by the end of 2013.

It is understandable and appreciated that people will draw their own conclusions and opinions from the facts uncovered in the Freeh report.

Penn State officials provide update on Freeh report recommendations - Jan. 31

Penn State officials provide update on Freeh report recommendations - Jan. 31

Today Penn State officials provided the latest in a series of ongoing updates on the status of the 119 recommendations made to the University by the Freeh Group. Since the last update, an additional 17 recommendations have been completed. This includes recommendations that are categorized as “Ongoing/Continuous,” indicating that the University’s response and management of such matters will be ongoing.

University officials have previously said they intend to implement the Freeh recommendations by the end of 2013 and the status of completed items to-date shows the commitment to reaching that goal.

A complete update of status and actions Penn State has taken based on the recommendations is available here and will be updated monthly.

Penn State hiring faculty to advance prevention of child maltreatment

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. -- Penn State will be hiring a dozen new faculty members over the next three years as part of its recently launched Network for Child Protection and Well-Being, with the goal of advancing knowledge, practice, education and outreach to combat child abuse.

As part of its aspiration to be at the forefront of national efforts toward prevention and therapy for child maltreatment, the University has begun a "cluster" hire that will include clinical and research tenure-track faculty members who are focused on the complex and pervasive problem of child maltreatment.

"As a university dedicated to the discovery of knowledge that can address difficult social and human problems, we will hire up to 12 new faculty over the next three years to improve the chances of eradicating these wrongs against children. This academic initiative will build on Penn State's longstanding tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration and excellence in the area of children, youth and families," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "The child maltreatment field is extremely small and within that discipline, the research into child sexual abuse is even smaller. Penn State can make a significant contribution by helping to educate the next generation of researchers and clinicians about working together to address this challenging problem.”

Erickson said the goal of the new hires is to not only bring new expertise to the University, but to also spur existing faculty to think about their own research and its implications for child maltreatment. Penn State already counts among its ranks at least 400 faculty members whose research, teaching and service focus on the well-being and development of children and youth. The newly hired faculty are expected to connect with existing University researchers to draw on their expertise in areas such as prevention, research methods and statistics, neuroscience, and family dynamics to advance knowledge in child maltreatment. The work of the whole will serve as a catalyst for faculty to incorporate study of child maltreatment into their ongoing research programs.

"Researchers across Penn State can be a part of national and international efforts aimed at combating child maltreatment," said Susan McHale, director of the Children, Youth and Families Consortium (CYFC), a unit within the University’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI).

In fact, the CYFC with the 400-plus faculty members will serve as the umbrella organization, linking faculty and their collaborative activities within various units and disciplines as part of the Network for Child Protection and Well-Being. Network faculty will be focused on generating new knowledge about child abuse in all of its forms, including creating evidence-based prevention and therapy approaches.

The proposal for forming the University-wide Network was developed by the Presidential Task Force on Child Maltreatment. Charged by President Erickson in December 2011, the Task Force was comprised of 35 faculty members from colleges and schools across the University.

McHale, who coordinates the Network, said that Penn State has a longstanding tradition of excellence of research, teaching, clinical practice and outreach focused on children, youth and families. The Network is designed to build on the strengths of four Centers of Excellence in Children, Youth and Families at Penn State: The Child Study Center in the College of the Liberal Arts; The Center for the Protection of Children in the College of Medicine; The Prevention Research Center in the College of Health and Human Development; and the Center for Children and the Law at the Dickinson School of Law. Faculty members who join Penn State as part of the Network cluster hire will be affiliated with one or more of these centers.

"Penn State has a solid foundation of research and practice in child behavior, health and development. But to advance Penn State's capacity we need more researchers and clinicians whose primary focus is on child maltreatment, " said Benjamin Levi, director of the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children, a part of Penn State Hershey's Children's Hospital.

"We are in an excellent position to build upon Penn State's existing faculty expertise for how to intervene with parents at risk for mistreating their children; identifying protective factors that reduce the risk of child abuse; and developing and implementing sustainable, evidence-based strategies for detection, diagnosis, prevention and therapy for children who have suffered maltreatment," Levi said. A professor of pediatrics and humanities at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. Levi became director of the Center for the Protection of Children in August.

Network coordinator McHale said possible growth opportunities within the Network include fellowships in child abuse; educational opportunities for Penn State students, including new courses and programs of study, as well as internships; and the ability through clinical work and outreach to put new knowledge to work in community settings.

"We will work hard to make all of our efforts useful to community members and institutions," McHale said. "Our research and practices must be informed by community needs and by community partners if we are ever going to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children."

More information on the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being can be found at http://www.ssri.psu.edu/thenetwork online.

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