Feb 26, 2024  
Policies and Procedures Manual 
    
Policies and Procedures Manual

06:02:00 Academic Freedom and Responsibility


Revision Responsibility: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Executive Officer: Vice President for Academic Affairs

Purpose

To describe academic freedom and establish expectations for academic responsibility for faculty.


Definitions

Academic Freedom - Freedom in the classroom in discussing the faculty member’s subject, being careful not to introduce into the teaching unrelated subject matter, and freedom in research and in the publication of the results, and faculty participation in institutional governance.

Academic Responsibility - Responsibility for the development and delivery of educational programs and services to students, obligation to participate in tenure and promotion review of colleagues as specified in policy, following the Guidelines for Faculty policy, and obligation to take appropriate professional action against faculty members who are derelict in discharging their professional responsibilities.

Policy

I. Scope

The following policy of Walters State Community College is an adaptation of the TBR: The College System of Tennessee policy (05.02.03.30) on academic freedom and responsibility within the system. The purpose of TBR policy 05.02.03.30 is to establish the criteria and support the processes regarding academic freedom and responsibility at TBR community colleges.

II. Academic Freedom and Responsibility

  1. The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing the academic subject, being careful not to introduce into the teaching unrelated subject matter.
     
  2. The faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of other academic duties. Research for financial gain must be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution, which is documented and signed by the faculty member and the appropriate academic officer(s).
     
  3. The faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When the faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, they should be free from college censorship or discipline, but the faculty member’s special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge the profession and the institution by the faculty member’s utterances. Hence, a faculty member should be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they do not speak for the institution.

Academic freedom is essential to fulfill the ultimate objectives of an educational institution — the free search for and exposition of truth — and applies to both teaching and research. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth, and academic freedom in teaching is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the faculty member in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. Implicit in the principle of academic freedom are the corollary responsibilities of the faculty who enjoy that freedom. Incompetence, indolence, intellectual dishonesty, failure to carry out assigned duties, serious moral dereliction, arbitrary and capricious disregard of standards of professional conduct — these and other grounds as set forth in TBR Policy (05:02:03:70), “Tenure for Community Colleges,” Section V, may constitute adequate cause for dismissal or other disciplinary sanctions against faculty members subject to the provisions.

The right to academic freedom imposes upon the faculty an equal obligation to take appropriate professional action against faculty members who are derelict in discharging their professional responsibilities. The faculty member has an obligation to participate in tenure and promotion review of colleagues as specified in institutional policy. Thus, academic freedom and academic responsibility are interdependent, and academic tenure is adopted as a means to protect the former while promoting the latter. While academic tenure is essential for the protection of academic freedom, all faculty members, tenured or non-tenured, have an equal right to academic freedom and bear the same academic responsibilities implicit in that freedom (see WSCC 06:01:01: “Guidelines for Faculty” regarding instructional, curriculum, and administrative responsibilities).

03/06; 10/13; 01/15; 05/16; 02/21; 08/22