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No Irregularities Seen in $30-Million Voc.-Ed. Grant

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Washington--A consortium of research institutions led by the University of California at Berkeley last week was officially awarded a five-year, $30-million grant to run the National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

The Education Department made the announcement after a General Accounting Office investigating team concluded that there had been no irregularities in the bidding process for the grant, according to Bonnie Guiton, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education.

Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum, Democrat of Ohio, had requested the investigation last month after learning that Ohio State University, which has operated the national center for the past 10 years, was going to lose the contract. (See Education Week, Dec. 9, 1987.)

Mr. Metzenbaum charged that the department had been "unable to give good reason for arbitrarily weighting the results against osu"

Ms. Guiton said the gao investigators had not found anything "arbitrary" about the bidding procedure.

Ray Ryan, director of the Ohio8State center, said that loss of the grant would "transform the center somewhat," but that vocational-education research at the university's facility would continue. The grant constituted about 70 percent of the facility's operating revenue.

"We still have a $2-million to $3-million base from which to build,'' he said.

Charles Bensen, dean of graduate education at Berkeley and director of the new center, said that because faculty members and other personnel at consortium institutions were already in place, research for the new center would begin "almost instantly."

Professional-service activities will take longer to set in motion, he said, because a staff will have to be assembled at the Berkeley headquarters.

Some key staff positions have already been filled, however. Serving with Mr. Benson as an associate director will be Gordon Swanson, a professor of vocational education at the University of Minnesota, which is a member of the consortium.

Gerald C. Hayward, director of the Sacramento center of Policy Analysis for California Education (pace), will leave that post to become the new center's deputy director. Mr. Hayward, who has also served as chancellor of California's community-college system, will oversee the daily operations of the center.

In addition to the universities of California-Berkeley and Minnesota, faculties and facilities will be drawn from four other consortium institutions--the University of Illinois, Teachers College of Columbia University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the rand Corporation.

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