Faculty and Student Research in Practicing Academic Freedom: Volume 31

Cover of Faculty and Student Research in Practicing Academic Freedom
Subject:

Table of contents

(15 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xii
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Part I: Country-Specific Practices

Abstract

Academic freedom has been the topic of debate and discussion since the concept evolved in academia. It has been a controversial topic that has different dimensions and explores the significance of this concept with relation to knowledge development and enhancement of student’s progress. Academic freedom expects faculty members to submit their ideas and research results to rigorous peer review and to experts who excel in the subject matter. The current debate surrounding the topic lacks clarity and has taken a different shape in different countries. In some countries, it has assumed the role of individual freedom, in some the collegial and institutional freedom, and in others it respects the freedom of students. Apart from teaching–learning, it is the freedom to conduct research and explore new avenues of knowledge. In this book, the concept of academic freedom is examined in the lights of globalization and challenges it poses to the development of higher education. We have seen that in recent years the concept of academic freedom has been threatened and some academics expressing their right of academic freedom were fired from their academic position, and in some cases, were imprisoned. Such case studies where academic freedom was silenced have been highlighted in this book. Authors have tried to explore how the concept has been balanced with transparency and accountability and what role did racial and gender biases played in pairing with rights and responsibilities. Case studies from Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Hungary have been presented along with other interventions and programs meant to support and uphold academic freedom.

Abstract

The study seeks to understand the experiences and perceptions of the university youth regarding the democratic atmosphere of a public university located in Turkey. To this end, the objective of this research is twofold: (1) to investigate university students’ level of civic engagement regarding student activism, exercising rights, and interest in politics; and (2) to explore students’ perception of their university environment regarding the promotion of tolerance, respect for ideas, and participation in decision-making. This study was carried out at a public university located in the middle of Turkey. A mixed-method approach was employed, including both qualitative and quantitative data. A total of 332 undergraduate students participated in the quantitative part while 14 undergraduate students were interviewed in the qualitative part of the study. In quantitative data collection, two self-developed scales were used: Civic Engagement Scale and Perceptions of Democratic University Environment Scale. The results of the data analysis indicated that students’ overall civic engagement level was below the average level. In particular, the level of students’ activism was significantly lower than that of students’ interest in politics and exercising rights, respectively. In addition, the level of students’ interest in politics was significantly lower than that of students’ exercising rights. With respect to the students’ perception of democratic university environment, the data revealed that students’ overall perception of the university environment was slightly above average level. Specifically, the students’ perception of university environment regarding respect for ideas was significantly higher than that of university environment regarding participation in decision-making.

Abstract

Academic freedom is of central importance in all kinds of activities of academics and students. Considering this, many reforms were made to secure and improve academic freedom in Turkey. The most important reforms and changes were made in 1933, 1946, 1960, 1973 and 1981, and they all coincided with significant social and political periods. But, the history of Turkey’s academic freedom is not bright. The past university policies pertaining to academic freedom had occasionally positive, but often restrictive, results in expanding academic freedom. Despite policies and reforms, illegal dismissals of faculty members, disciplinary inspections and penalties were experienced. Moreover, the restrictions also affected freedom of expression in the forms of censorship and self-censorship; freedom to learn, teach and conduct researches had limitations. On the other hand, the removal of headscarf ban and the abolishment of coefficient policy which disadvantaged some students in the university entrance examinations can be given as examples of improvement in academic freedom of students, both of which improved students’ access to higher education. When compared with other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, the rankings and various indicators present Turkey at lower end in terms of academic freedom. This shows that further steps are to be taken to improve academic freedom in Turkey.

Abstract

Academic freedom is not a novel concept but is becoming a core component of the world of academia in ensuring higher academic standards and the development of curriculum that will meet the needs of the future. Every university needs to recognize that the creation of knowledge and development of higher education sector is impossible without recognizing academic freedom. Academic freedom is not restricted within faculty members but touches the lives of the students. Consensus-building and dialogical methods of interaction rather than pushing the boundaries of what can and cannot be said in institutions of higher education are becoming increasingly important in promoting academic freedom. In this chapter, the authors will explore the meaning of academic freedom as understood by faculty, administrators and students in an international university in Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Authors will delve into both practice and perception mode of academic freedom in their analysis of the qualitative data derived from their research based on structured interviews. They will evaluate their research findings in the consideration of the relevant literature.

Abstract

Academic freedom and the right to express one’s views in higher education (HE) are important for faculty and students alike, so enabling intellectual integrity and professional autonomy. However, this might not be the case for female academics in countries where females are marginalised, and their opinions are dominated and limited by the society and culture. Gender inequality and how it negatively influences the opportunities available for females to progress is a universal issue; however, although initiatives designed to tackle this problem are being seen to result in gradual improvement internationally, particularly in industrial countries, the situation in developing countries remains a concern. In developing countries, women tend to be either absent from many organisations or exist at the margins of organisational life with the result that they have fewer opportunities for development or career progression. This has a negative impact on the growth and development of a country at national level, particularly when there has been investment in female education from an earlier stage. It would seem that this certainly is the case in Pakistan where cultural norms intertwine with organisational politics thus militating against female employees. The experiences and issues discussed in this chapter highlight the social barriers faced by female academics in HE that have a significant impact on their academic freedom and expression.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce readers to the crisis facing Hungarian higher education institutions, students, and practitioners – namely, the loss of academic freedom and the rise of anti-intellectualism as a result of an autocratic government bent on silencing faculty voices. Like its regional neighbors, Hungary is the home to some of the first and finest universities in Europe. But tragically, a far-right political wave is swallowing its democratic institutions, including its institutions of higher learning. While there have been many reports about the concern or impact of Hungary’s state policies for education, there have been very few academic studies that have examined the repercussions of these State policies.

The opening pages of this chapter provide readers a short introduction to the problem facing students and faculty in Hungarian higher education institutions – specially, higher education reform and anti-reform in the years after Hungary adopted the Bologna processes, and the past decade marked by the rise of the illiberal Fidesz government. The second part of the chapter consists of short vignettes on higher education faculty perceptions of academic freedom. The vignettes are part of larger narratives that are the result of an in-depth qualitative research study of higher education professors from one large, public Hungarian institution.

Part II: Exploring the Concept

Abstract

Academic freedom is a complicated issue for military service academies. As accredited institutions of higher learning, academic freedom is valued. At the same time, the academies are subject to regulations that guide speech and publishing by the Department of Defense. This chapter explores the balance between maintaining academic freedom while upholding the discipline contained in regulations concerning free speech. The chapter concludes with a view to the future and opportunities for further research.

Abstract

This essay offers a subjective literary exploration of personal events relevant to understanding an assault on academic freedom in a two-year college. The critically qualitative inquiry focuses on two events: (a) the questioning by faculty of dual credit policies and (b) an administratively engineered disciplinary action that functioned to have a chilling effect on free speech and to, thereby, quell academic freedom. The dual credit story comes in the form of an embedded narrative essay previously published as a Facebook note. That embedded essay presents the tale of the author and a colleague, the advisor for their community college newspaper, exercising their academic freedom to critically engage a community college administration’s violations of Illinois State dual credit laws. The embedded essay serves also to reveal an administrative response to the professors’ decision to report the violation of state law to the Higher Learning Commission and the Illinois Community College Board. Following that, the essay provides a qualitative examination of the administrative response and explains how the response served to quell academic freedom.

Abstract

This chapter discusses the challenges of safeguarding academic freedom during leadership transitions and organizational change in universities. Examples from a large public university illustrate current challenges and provide perspective for proactive measures to protect academic freedom. While the context and details are unique to the institution featured in the chapter, the lessons gleaned from each vignette offer valuable insight to faculty and university leaders who are motivated to better understand and uphold the principles of academic freedom and, more broadly, protected speech with higher education. To support academic leaders in achieving these goals, a conceptual framework for shared leadership through shared governance to support academic freedom is presented. The chapter concludes with recommendations for leveraging shared leadership to foster a university culture that supports of academic freedom.

Abstract

Academic freedom is often constrained by self-censorship. Measurement of this constraint is difficult because it is often unconscious, so it is useful to explore the underlying motivations. Greater-good arguments are an important motivator of self-censorship. Humans are social creatures who fear being accused of harming the greater good. When a scholar’s findings conflict with a paradigm alleged to serve the greater good, self-censorship is tempting. However, the greater good is not necessarily served by paradigms that invoke it. Discrepant data often lead to truths that a dominant paradigm obscures. Thus, the greater good is better served by a free flow of evidence than by conforming to a paradigm that evokes the greater good. This chapter presents an example in the Social Sciences. The paradigm of social harmony in the state of nature appears to serve the greater good, and evidence of aggression in the state of nature is often dismissed. But understanding the conflict in the state of nature can help people manage aggression today. This example can help scholars recognize and transcend the natural tendency to self-censor.

Abstract

This chapter focuses on academic freedom in the experiences of Black/African American doctoral students and presents an examination of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students (https://www.aaup.org/report/joint-statement-rights-and-freedoms-students) based on research and practice on the marginalized doctoral student experience. Discussion addresses AAUP policy Statements: Section I (freedom of access to higher education), Section II (freedom of expression in the classroom), and Section III (freedom of inquiry and expression). The purpose of this work is to increase awareness of issues serving as barriers to student rights and freedoms related to self-expression, cultural bias, and student activism at the doctoral level. Strategies that disrupt, minimize, and/or eradicate barriers to actively maintain and pursue student rights and freedoms will be addressed to emphasize their importance to supporting and/or hindering academic success, doctoral degree completion, and creating/sustaining pathways of transition into the career pathways.

Name Index

Pages 193-198
Content available

Subject Index

Pages 199-202
Content available
Cover of Faculty and Student Research in Practicing Academic Freedom
DOI
10.1108/S2055-3641202031
Publication date
2020-10-22
Book series
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-83982-701-3
eISBN
978-1-83982-700-6
Book series ISSN
2055-3641