Progress

There is no doubt that the Penn State community continues to face challenging times. As we move forward and address the crisis, we are committed to supporting the prevention and treatment of child abuse, while also focusing on the future of this great university to ensure Penn State’s standing as a world-class academic and research institution.

Addressing the Crisis – The University is dedicated to addressing the crisis and its related issues. In November 2011, the Penn State Board of Trustees’ Special Investigations Task Force 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 Freeh Group released its comprehensive report on July 12, 2012, which can be found at http://progress.psu.edu/the-freeh-report.

We recognize and embrace the need to create a more transparent, accountable and effective approach to governance, safety and compliance—using Judge Freeh’s 119 recommendations as an important guide in this process. To date, Penn state has implemented all but one of Judge Freeh's recommendations, and is moving forward with phase II of its Continuous Improvement Plan. The latest update outlines a comprehensive plan for a wide range of functional areas, including ethics, culture and values; governance; legal, risk, compliance and audit; safety and security; youth programs; training and development; human resources administration; communications; policy review and development; and athletics.

Supporting the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse – We maintain a commitment going forward to remember the children who may have been victims of sexual abuse on or near the University Park campus and to support their healing process as best we can. The University also has made it a priority to support victims of child abuse across the state, and we’re making significant progress.

World-class Academic and Research Institution – It is the actions of the many – not the few – that make up Penn State. We look ahead to a renewed focus on educating more than 96,000 students, to continuing to lead the nation with breakthrough research, and to further expand our commitment to service – the foundations of our University for the past 157 years.

Addressing the Crisis

  • The Board of Trustees’ Special Investigations Task Force appointed 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 report was released online at http://progress.psu.edu/the-freeh-report, on July 12, 2012 simultaneously to the University community, Board of Trustees, the media and the general public. http://progress.psu.edu/resource-library/story/penn-state-issues-statement-on-freeh-report
  • We hired a full-time compliance officer to support the Clery Act, a federal crime-reporting law for schools. http://live.psu.edu/story/58968
  • We are in the process of conducting a sustainable professional training program for employees to recognize and report child abuse. All University employees will be required to complete this training each year. http://live.psu.edu/story/59111
  • We enacted a significant revision to our policy (AD39), overseeing the supervision and treatment of minors involved in University-sponsored programs or programs housed or held at any Penn State campus. http://live.psu.edu/story/59211
  • The Board of Trustees changed its governance structure in order to improve oversight of the University and accessibility to the Board. http://www.psu.edu/trustees/committee-structure.html
  • In addition, the Board of Trustees have adopted a number of new policies and procedures to positively impact governance, such as prohibiting row officers from serving on the Board for five years after leaving their position; strengthening a comprehensive set of Conflict of Interest policies; establishing term limits for all trustees; and revising the bylaws to allow for faculty, staff, and student representation on committees.
  • Important third parties, including the rating agency Moody’s and Senator George Mitchell, the NCAA’s Athletics Integrity Monitor, have lauded Penn State's work to date.  Regardless, the University will continue to review this issue with a desire to implement best practices and adopt governance reforms that are both appropriate for Penn State and are a model in the nation.  The board is currently working with an expert in corporate governance issues, and is looking at suggestions, including those made by elected officials, the Faculty Senate Special Committee on Governance, our students and other members of the Penn State community.
  • A complete update of status and actions Penn State has taken based on the Freeh report recommendations is available here and is updated regularly.

Supporting the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse

  • We partnered with Praesidium Inc. to arrange counseling services for those who may have suffered abuse from Jerry Sandusky. Praesidium is the national leader in abuse risk management with more than two decades of experience and more than 4,000 clients. http://live.psu.edu/story/58590
  • We created a Presidential Task Force on Child Maltreatment to bring together a broad spectrum of faculty from across the University to coordinate and develop research, clinical practice, outreach and education on child maltreatment.
  • Penn State donated more than $2.6 million to abuse prevention efforts.
  • The University launched a Center for the Protection of Children at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital that is devoted to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. The Center is the first piece of a University-wide institute that will bring together many existing and expanding resources at Penn State related to the prevention and treatment of child abuse.
  • In December 2011, the University opened a Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Hotline at 800-550-7575 (TTY 866-714-7177) that can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for all Penn State Campuses.
  • In October 2012, the University hosted the Child Sexual Abuse Conference, which convened some of the nation’s top experts in child sexual abuse and child trauma research, prevention, and treatment for a public forum. The two-day conference was designed to help educate the public in Pennsylvania and across the nation about this critical issue. The event included remarks by Sugar Ray Leonard and Elizabeth Smart, both of whom suffered sexual abuse as children.
  • In November 2012, based on a proposal by the Presidential Task Force on Child Maltreatment, the University created the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being, which is built on Penn State established expertise and resources. The Network's mission is to advance child protection and well-being through research, education, and engagement.
  • In September 2013,  a second annual Conference on Child Protection and Well-Being was held. The event attracted district attorneys, children and youth services professionals, law enforcement officials and medical professionals as well as Penn State faculty for presentations and discussions about the development
  • A third annual conference, "The Role of Parenting and Family Processes in Child Maltreatment and Intervention" is scheduled for May 5-6, 2014, at the Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State's University Park campus.
  • In January 2013, Penn State announced it was hiring a dozen new faculty members over three years as part of its Network for Child Protection and Well-Being. The goal of this initiative is to advance knowledge, practice, education and outreach to combat child abuse. To date, the University has hired six faculty researchers and has searches in progress for six others. This cluster hire is designed to bring faculty members from different disciplines together to address the problem of child maltreatment in new ways. Significant areas of research include: human development, bio-behavioral health, public policy, criminology, psychology, medicine, education, nursing, human services, and prevention science.
  • Many other initiatives are under way, including enhanced staff training on the detection of potential child abusers. At President Erickson's direction, the criteria for reporting questionable conduct appearing to involve child abuse for all University officials must be beyond the legal requirements and must be driven by moral standards of what is right and what is wrong.  To date, more than 30,000 people affiliated with Penn State have received training to identify and report child abuse.
  • Seven counties across Pennsylvania instituted an educational parenting program, and prevention efforts were bolstered — all through the University's partnership with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), which is focused on fighting child sexual abuse.

World-class Academic and Research Institution

  • Penn State's longstanding tradition of excellence is based, first and foremost, on our commitment to strong academics and world-class research.

Rankings

  • Penn State is 8th among public universities and the 37th best overall among America’s 280 national universities—a nine-point improvement from the previous year’s ranking —U.S. News & World Report, 2013
  • Ranks as one of the world’s top universities, at 39th (up 10 positions from last year), and in the top 1 percent worldwide —Times Higher Education World University, 2014-15
  • Ranks at No. 50 internationally, up from No. 64 last year —Center for World University Rankings, 2013
  • Penn State University Libraries rank 8th among North American research libraries —Association of Research Libraries, 2013
  • Ranks No. 1 in the state and 10th in the U.S., with a record number of international students–6,693 at University Park. Also ranks 19th for the number of students studying abroad (1,926) —Institute of International Education “Open Doors,” 2012–13

Research

We are ranked among the nation's top universities in industry-sponsored research. We typically partner with more than 400 companies each year, and our total research dollars increased from $507 million to $848.2 million over the past 10 years.

For more on Penn State's academic accomplishments and worldwide impact, visit http://stats.psu.edu/ or http://www.psu.edu/this-is-penn-state/rankings.