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ERIC Number: EJ914141
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0560
The Politics of Academic Freedom
Thomas, Nancy L.
New Directions for Higher Education, n152 p83-90 Win 2010
Political pressure against higher education is nothing new but, as in the broader public square, the discourse seems to have reached a new level of invective, particularly since 9/11. Much has been written about allegations against the academy for its systemic left-leaning political bias in teaching and for protecting, under the banner of academic freedom, "dangerous" faculty out to indoctrinate students and undermine one version of the American way. Many of these strong accusations reflect not a difference of opinion, but a rejection of the very legitimacy of higher education itself. The claim is not only that the academy is too liberal; it is immoral, unpatriotic, and even dangerous to this nation. Many academics published books, articles, and op-ed pieces in the "Chronicle of Higher Education" or "InsideHigherEd.com" expressing the view that academic freedom is facing its most serious threat since the McCarthy era. Students, public officials, the media, and Americans more broadly need a better understanding of why academic freedom is critical to the work of higher education, and why the work of higher education is critical to a strong democracy. With fewer than half of the nation's young people attending college, it may be that Americans do not understand or value higher education's purpose. Academic freedom is a complex concept that warrants far more consideration. In this article, the author aims to address three specific concerns: (1) how academic freedom is framed and discussed; (2) faculty neutrality, particularly in the classroom; and (3) student rights. The author concludes with some suggestions on how the principles and practices of deliberative democracy can foster understanding of and commitment to academic freedom. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A