Felner Investigation May End Soon, Ombudsman To Be Hired

by Gabe Bullard on October 2, 2008

A federal criminal investigation of former University of Louisville Education Dean Robert Felner is expected to end this month. Officials are looking into his handling of federal grant money.

The school is also investigating the disclosure that student John Deasy earned a PhD under Felner’s supervision after completing just one semester of courswork. Deasy announced this week he’ll leave his school superintendent’s job in Maryland to become deputy director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. education division.

U of L spokesperson John Drees says he doesn’t think Deasy’s reputation has been damaged as a result of the probe.

“I think what it says is the man has a very strong service record,” says Drees. “He’s nationally known and I think that’s a credit to him.”

U of L is also making changes to its faculty grievance procedures as a result of the Felner probe; the school is hiring an ombudsman to handle complaints and improve oversight.

“The grievance policy is a formal policy that one has to take the proper steps to bring an issue to the attention of the administration,” says Drees. “There have been concerns that there is no informal for people to discuss their issues.”

Some faculty and staff members have complained that grievances they filed against Felner weren’t adequately addressed.

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