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ERIC Number: EJ970040
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
Fine Print, Restrictive Grants, and Academic Freedom
Miller, Kent S.; Bellamy, Ray
Academe, v98 n3 May-Jun 2012
When the representatives of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation came to Tallahassee in 2007 with checkbook in hand, they had every reason to expect a warm reception from Florida State University (FSU). Florida, along with much of the nation, was busy transferring money from higher education to prisons, and FSU was hurting. The foundation proposed a donation of nearly $6.6 million, with a $1.5 million initial grant to hire staff and fund fellowships and new undergraduate programs. An agreement was reached, and the program got off the ground without much publicity in its first years. By spring 2011, however, some muttering about outside influence on academic matters could be heard on campus and in town. The donor grant agreement and memorandum of understanding between the Charles Koch Foundation, the FSU Foundation, and the FSU economics department called for the appointment of five professors as well as other staff members, the establishment of a Program for the Study of Political Economy and Free Enterprise and a Program for Excellence in Economic Education, and the development of educational programs for undergraduates. The money had strings attached: the major one was the appointment of an advisory board chosen by the Koch Foundation. The board would determine which faculty candidates would qualify to receive funding, review all publicly provided material submitted by applicants for the professorship positions, and review the work of the professors to make sure it complied with the "objectives and purposes" of the foundation. Several clauses made clear that the Koch Foundation could pick up the marbles and go home if dissatisfied. In this article, the authors share the story and lessons from FSU. They suggest faculty members need to get involved in the grant-review process from the start by demanding more transparency and refusing to be compliant. The fact that most faculty members are now serving in contingent appointments increases the need to defend academic freedom.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida