Academic Freedom at Florida CLAS

One of my colleagues informed me about a website at the University of Florida, hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The website provides information about academic freedom, and I’m impressed by the college’s effort to create the website. It addresses fundamental questions that people often have about academic freedom, tenure, and other significant university-related topics. The content is presented in a manner that is accessible to everyone, and it includes citations and links for further reading and research. I’ve included the link to the main content below.

  • Academic freedom is a set of norms and practices that guides faculty in the pursuit of research and teaching, as well as matters of shared governance, and as citizens to serve a democratic society for the common good.
  • Academic freedom includes the freedom to teach, discuss, question, and explore freely according to the standards of our disciplines.
  • Shared governance and tenure are important components to support academic freedom.
  • Students have a right to freedom in learning, including freedom to question and discuss material introduced in a course.

“The essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities is almost self evident. No one should underestimate the vital role in a democracy that is played by those who guide and train our youth. To impose any straitjacket upon the intellectual leaders in our colleges and universities would imperil the future of our Nation…. Scholarship cannot flourish in an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; other wise our civilization will stagnate and die.”

U.S. Supreme Court, Sweezy v. New Hampshire(opens in new tab), 1957

was designed and implemented over 80 years ago to act as a fundamental pillar supporting academic freedom. It allows faculty to pursue the search for knowledge and to educate students in a manner that is independent of and not beholden to any special interests. Tenured professors report their teaching, research and service activities annually and are evaluated at the department level along with all other faculty.

Source: Academic Freedom at Florida CLAS [Link –]