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.

Bibliography

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 ?
Since its founding a century ago and its 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure, the association has argued that both public and private schools essentially work for the common good.
Academic freedom provides scholars the right to study and conduct research on the topics they choose, draw conclusions, and express opinions they find to be consistent with their findings or views.
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.
Perhaps the assignment requires that assumption; the traditional function of academic freedom is to enable faculty members to carry out their professional work.
The key topic of academic freedom is pondered at length; interpretations range from the transmission of received wisdom (and the impulse to hold down a job) to fomenting revolution.
He added: "I hope the university will look again at how it can strengthen its procedures to protect and defend academic freedom, which this case exemplifies to be threatened from obtrusive managerialism."
The policy specifically protects academic freedom in the areas of research, teaching, public service and shared governance.
The Discovery Institute is hoping to get one of these so-called "academic freedom" bills passed in Pennsylvania, and it seems to have found a willing partner in state Rep.
Brooks expresses concern with the possible impact of the work of NMNEC on the exercise of academic freedom by nursing faculty in New Mexico.
Within a concise volume rich in primary sources, Holden provides a nuanced, intimate examination of how institutional leaders, faculty, and students at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) used academic freedom to comment upon contentious issues of race and labor from a position of academic expertise that most North Carolinians trusted and valued.
"Academic freedom" usually brings to mind the pursuit of secular knowledge and any barriers that might insert themselves between scholars and their investigation.
Russell Kirk published Academic Freedom: An Essay in Definition in 1955, part of a life-long critique of higher education.

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