academic freedom

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academic freedom,

right of scholars to pursue research, to teach, and to publish without control or restraint from the institutions that employ them. It is a civil right that is enjoyed, at least in statute, by all citizens of democratic countries. In the case of scholars, whose occupation is directly involved with that right, the concept of academic freedom generally includes the property right of tenure of office (see tenuretenure,
in education, a guarantee of the permanence of a college or university teacher's position, awarded upon successful completion of a probationary period, usually seven years.
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, in education). Essential to the acceptance of the concept of academic freedom is the notion that truth is best discovered through the open investigation of all data. A less clearly developed corollary of academic freedom is the obligation of all those who enjoy it to pursue the line of open and thorough inquiry regardless of personal considerations.

Historically, academic freedom developed during the Enlightenment. Early cultures, which viewed education as a system of absorbing a well-defined subject matter, offered little opportunity for speculation. The medieval universities also operated within a field of definite scope, primarily theological, and any teacher or scholar who extended inquiry beyond the approved limits was subject to the charge of heresy. The scientific method of analyzing data and establishing hypotheses, a vital concomitant of academic freedom, was initiated during the EnlightenmentEnlightenment,
term applied to the mainstream of thought of 18th-century Europe and America. Background and Basic Tenets

The scientific and intellectual developments of the 17th cent.
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, mainly by scholars outside university life such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Voltaire.

It was in the Prussia of Frederick the Great that the new freedom first flourished within the university itself. In England, it was laymen like Jeremy Bentham, David Ricardo, Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, and Thomas Huxley who demonstrated the value of free investigation. Before the concept of academic freedom could gain general acceptance, however, it was necessary that education become secularized. It was not until 1826 that the first nonsectarian university was established in London. In the United States the early colleges were also religiously controlled, and there are still some denominational schools that define areas of inquiry. The American Association of University ProfessorsAmerican Association of University Professors
(AAUP), organization of college and university teachers. It was founded (1915) for the purpose of defending faculty rights, most notably academic freedom and tenure (see tenure, in education).
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 has been active in establishing standards of academic freedom and has investigated cases in which the right was alleged to have been jeopardized.


See R. Hofstadter and W. P. Metzger, The Development of Academic Freedom in the U.S. (1955); R. M. MacIver, Academic Freedom in Our Time (1955, repr. 1967); L. Joughin, Academic Freedom and Tenure: A Handbook of the AAUP (rev. ed. 1969); W. P. Metzger et al., Dimensions of Academic Freedom (1969); S. Hook, ed., In Defense of Academic Freedom (1971); C. Caplan and E. Schrecker, Regulating the Intellectuals (1983); E. Schrecker, No Ivory Tower (1986).

References in periodicals archive ?
Religious schools ought to adopt the "good elements" of secular understanding of academic freedom.
Engaging with Lazzarato's thought, I argue that today, within a neoliberal economic system, Fish's deflationary account of academic freedom is one which is both realistic, and will enable scholars within the university to better challenge the commercialisation they oppose.
The law provides little protection, largely because the traditional guardians of academic freedom never managed to convince outsiders that shared governance is as essential for the professoriate as the unfettered ability to teach and do research.
Here he tells the tragic story of the Left's successful campaign against academic freedom in our colleges and universities that has transformed American popular culture through the systemic corruption of academic standards.
Contrary to media reports (the university) has never been found to have violated academic freedom in our institution," said university president Charles Pratt.
For Hovsepian the battle is not only about academic freedom but about breaking the narrow confines of having a security agenda placed on writers and academics who deal with the Middle East.
If we embrace a more complicated understanding of academic freedom as an academic responsibility and an ethical imperative, then perhaps we will understand and support the prophetic voices that challenge us to deconstruct damaging assumptions and inert research.
Is it academic freedom to stray so far from the job you were hired to do?
For academic freedom to be genuine and for it to be maintained, he asserts, faculty need to have job security and to exercise real power in decision-making at their institutions.
President Carmi immediately asserted that Im Tirtzu's demands were a serious threat to academic freedom.
A central argument of Selling Out (once more ignored by your reviewer) is that academic freedom and institutional autonomy are internally related: loss of one results in corresponding loss of the other.
An ideal that originated during the Enlightenment period, academic freedom supported the scientific method of the development of hypotheses and the analysis of data in pursuit of the truth.

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