Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A history of Academic Freedom helps put things in perspective

Save Academic Freedom has the fascinating history of Academic Freedom and then concludes with:

Nearly a century ago, the AAUP predicted that failure to ensure professional integrity would license the regulatory intrusions of trustees, legislators, and others. Now that is happening. And while the professoriate’s collective abdication of responsibility is not the sole explanation for these intrusions, it is a shamefully neglected piece of the puzzle.

Academic freedom belongs to the public — it is not the property of academics. Professors must explain why academic freedom is vital to our democracy — and prove that they deserve it.

Beset by budget shortfalls, rising tuition, poor learning outcomes, and scandal, our colleges and universities are under more scrutiny than ever. Demands for accountability have never been louder. Failure to meet those demands has never had a higher price tag.

Professors must decide how much academic freedom is worth to them. Is it worth policing themselves — consistently, consequentially, and transparently? If so, academic freedom might just have a future after all.

Hat tip: Instapundit

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