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ERIC Number: EJ912099
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 0
Academic Freedom Revisited
Doughty, Howard A.
College Quarterly, v13 n1 Win 2010
One of the author's enduring concerns about the concept of academic freedom is with semantics. It has seemed to him that one of the biggest difficulties with discussions of academic freedom (as with many conversations about "value-laden" terms such as "democracy," "equity," and "justice") is that people begin from different positions and with different definitions in mind. When terms are defined differently by various parties to a discussion, it is hard to resolve disputes. Moreover, when circumstances change, already precarious definitions may have to be modified to adapt to new environments. Depending on what people mean by their words and how their words are to be used in new situations, substantially different policy implications may follow. As the title of this article implies, the author believes that people are now facing new circumstances. The changing circumstances he has in mind relate to the socially constructed rationale for institutions of higher education, alterations in patterns of finance, and a new view of how colleges and universities are expected to demonstrate accountability in the emerging postindustrial society. In the recent past, each of these has been infused with what is best described as the "market mentality," the belief that institutions do best when they are subjected to a pat on the back or a slap in the face from the "invisible hand" of consumer choice. It is this author's feeling that this market mentality may be in for a spanking of its own. In this article, he revisits the subject of academic freedom. The focus of the changes discussed in this article is postsecondary schools, and the locus of debate concerns both colleges and universities. The changes are complicated and made even more controversial by the emergence of serious debates within and among "two-year" colleges and "four-year" universities, as well as the host of hybrids now struggling for recognition and success.
Descriptors: Academic Freedom, Semantics, Definitions, Higher Education, Colleges, College Administration, Collective Bargaining, Academic Degrees, College Faculty, Part Time Faculty, Labor Relations
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A