Hughes to direct Academic Success Program

Provost Teresa Sullivan announced Tuesday that Philip R. Hughes will head the Academic Success Program in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. As assistant provost and associate athletic director, Hughes will lead the comprehensive network of academic support programs that ensure a top-quality academic experience and encourage a high level of achievement among student-athletes.

Hughes will assume the directorship of ASP on June 8.

"The university's first responsibility is ensuring our students' academic success. I am pleased that Mr. Hughes has accepted this position, and am fully confident he will lead the Academic Success Program with great skill," Sullivan says. "His appointment maintains focus on academic programming and provides the long-term vision this critical area warrants. He will be a great addition to the university's academic administrative team."

Hughes has served as associate director of athletics for student services at Kansas State University since 1998. He also served in 2007-08 as president of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, which awarded him the 2005 Lan Hewlett Award for his excellence in academic advising and service to student-athletes.

Previously, he served as U-M assistant director and associate director of athletics (1991-94 and 1994-98, respectively), following earlier academic support positions at Tulane University and the University of Kentucky. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California in San Diego, and a master's degree in counseling psychology from the University of Kentucky.

"We owe the best to our student-athletes. They work hard and do a great job, both in the classroom and through athletic competition, and we want to ensure they can do even better in the future," says Athletic Director Bill Martin. "Phil is already familiar with our academic support programs, having helped shape them in the 1990s. I expect him to hit the ground running when he gets back here to Michigan in June."

The Stephen M. Ross Center

• Regular meetings between student-athletes and their academic advisers (academic advisers are staff from the university's schools and colleges) to discuss academic requirements for graduation, major or distribution, or topics regarding their academic standing with U-M

• Academic tutors available at scheduled and on-call hours in more than 27 subject areas

• Regularly scheduled meetings of select LSA classes

• Eight supplemental academic counselors who collaborate closely with the academic advisers to help student-athletes navigate their athletic and academic responsibilities. Academic counselors are Athletics Department staff who report to the athletic director and the provost

• Satellite offices of the LSA Advising Office, and of the Math Lab, Language Resource Center, Sweetland Writing Center and Career Center

• A full-time learning specialist

• An extensive Life Skills program assisting in career development and community outreach

Since 2004 the University has redoubled efforts to ensure the academic success of student-athletes by:

• Engaging the Office of the Provost in more active management of student-athlete academic support programs.

• Creating a center for academic support of student-athletes, which houses all relevant services in one accessible location.

• Expanding the range of academic opportunities for student-athletes within the 19 schools and colleges.

In 2005 a dual-reporting line to the provost and the athletic director was established for ASP. Simultaneously, U-M completed construction of the 38,000-square-foot Stephen M. Ross Academic Center, a centrally located academic support facility for student-athletes.

In 2008 ASP initiated the summer academic program for incoming football and basketball team members. The program plays a key role in academic enrichment for students, especially the transition from high school to the rigorous demands of competing at the highest levels in the classroom and within the students' athletic activity.

That same year, in recognition of the growing complexity of ASP, the provost and athletic director moved to restructure ASP leadership with a single director, who will focus full time on the administration and management of ASP operations. The position will report directly to the provost and indirectly to the athletic director.

"It is a tremendous honor, both professionally and personally, to join the university's long-standing commitment to student-athlete development and education," Hughes says. "This is an exciting time at Michigan, and I seek to contribute my experience to the continuing enhancement of student-athlete success within the classroom and overall campus community. Michigan's dedication to student-athlete progress is outstanding and I am truly excited to participate in this essential effort."

Adds Professor David Potter, chair of the Senate Advisory Committee of University Affairs, who chaired the ASP director selection committee: "The selection committee enthusiastically and unanimously supported Mr. Hughes' candidacy. Given the intense demands on our student-athletes, it is appropriate that a comprehensive academic support network be in place to ensure their academic success. Mr. Hughes is one of the nation's most highly regarded academic support professionals. We believe he will work with ease at the intersection of academics and athletics and remain vigilant to the well-being of our students."

U-M student-athletes do well academically. Some highlights:

• 296 (41 percent) of U-M student-athletes achieved cumulative GPAs at or better than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in academic year 2007-08.

• In 2006-07, 146 U-M student-athletes won the Academic All-Big Ten Conference Award with cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or above.

• In that same year, 19 of 25 varsity teams had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.

• The graduation rate among student-athletes has risen since 2000, from 68 percent to 84 percent in 2008. ( In the same period, graduation rates among all U-M undergraduates grew from 82 percent to 88 percent. The national average college graduation rate is 50-55 percent.

• At U-M, the graduation rate for all African-American undergraduate males is 68 percent. It is 71 percent for all African-American student-athletes on the football team.

• The graduation rate of student-athletes at U-M is among the highest in the Big Ten Conference, as measured by the NCAA Academic Progress Rate scale. U-M football players rank No. 3 in the Big 10 on the APR scale.

A five-year glimpse at the football class that began in 2002-03:

• Twenty-one total entering student-athletes

• Six left the team prior to exhausting eligibility (four transferred in good academic standing to other universities; two quit)

• Fifteen exhausted their eligibility

• Of those 15, 13 have graduated (86.6 percent)

• Eight out of 10 African-American students in that same class, who exhausted their eligibility, graduated (80 percent)

• 107 student-athletes graduated in 2006-07 in 30 different degree programs/concentrations. The 25-member Michigan football senior class of 2006-07 graduated with 11 different academic majors/degree programs.