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 online.

Penn State names athletics integrity officer

Penn State names athletics integrity officer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Julie Del Giorno, chief of staff at Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pa., has been named athletics integrity officer at Penn State. Del Giorno, whose position has been newly created, will be responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of policies and practices within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics that ensure compliance and ethical conduct. She will begin work on a part-time basis in March and will commence full-time work in her position on April 1.

"Julie is an outstanding choice for this position," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "As she begins her work here at Penn State, she will draw on more than two decades of experience in higher education and the U.S. military. Her track record of success in athletics oversight and operations, student affairs, logistics and institutional planning has given her valuable experience that will serve the University well."

Del Giorno’s position was created as part of the University’s work to fulfill the requirements of the Athletics Integrity Agreement entered into in August 2012 among the NCAA, the Big Ten and Penn State. The position will be in addition to the compliance officer already working within Intercollegiate Athletics. Del Giorno will oversee compliance with obligations of integrity, civility, ethics and institutional control. The position is expected to report to the University-wide chief compliance officer, a position currently being filled by the University.

Beginning in 2006, Del Giorno served as the senior administrator with athletic oversight for the Moravian College NCAA Division III Intercollegiate Athletics program, working to ensure compliance with NCAA rules and related institutional standards. She also served as the college’s chief of staff, with responsibilities for implementing administrative initiatives across the organization, as liaison to the Board of Trustees and served as the college’s Title IX coordinator, among other duties.

"I am honored and humbled to be selected to serve as the first ever athletics integrity officer at Penn State," Del Giorno said. "I will commit myself fully to the position and will work diligently to ensure that policies, procedures and practices are developed and implemented that will ensure Penn State’s compliance with the requirements set forth in the Athletics Integrity Agreement. I look forward to working in partnership with members of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, to include student-athletes, and with members of the faculty and staff on this critical work."

Previous to her time at Moravian College, Del Giorno served as interim vice president for student affairs at East Stroudsburg University, in East Stroudsburg, Pa., where she was responsible for providing leadership and guidance to the Division of Student Affairs and its programs. Also at East Stroudsburg, DelGiorno served as assistant to the president and academic coordinator for Intercollegiate Athletics.

She has held coaching positions at the University of Central Arkansas, and coaching and administrative positions at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. From 1986 to 1995, Del Giorno served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, including tours of duty during combat operations in the Persian Gulf War and in Somalia. She is a recipient of the U.S. Army’s Bronze Star Medal.

She earned a master of business administration degree from the University of Central Arkansas in 1998; a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Military Academy in 1986; and is a 2000 graduate of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) / Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Institute for Administrative Advancement.

She maintains professional associations with the NACWAA and the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education (NAPAHE).

Penn State Trustees to undertake governance review

Discussions about changes in the governance of Penn State were part of both committee meetings and the regular meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees on Jan. 17 and 18 on the University Park campus. James Broadhurst, chairman of the Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning for the board, made the following statement in relation to recommendations for enhancing governance:

"As part of an ongoing effort to improve governance, the Board of Trustees has been considering reforms to strengthen its ability to act as stewards of the University. In addition to internal deliberations and review, the board has heard from several stakeholders and outside experts on best practices for governance. Trustees take all of these insights very seriously and appreciate a collaborative point of view.

As directed by the chairman of the Board, the Governance Committee is conducting a comprehensive review of these insights and then, over the course of the next two board meetings, will develop a specific set of reform recommendations to present to the Board of Trustees for action. These recommendations will be made public at that time.

The Governance Committee and the entire Board of Trustees recognize the need for meaningful reform and are committed to establishing a structure that addresses the needs of our students, faculty, staff and alumni."

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