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3.7 Faculty

Comprehensive Standard: 3.7.4 The institution ensures adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom. (Academic freedom)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The fundamental value of academic freedom among the faculty is clearly reflected in the Statutes of the University of West Georgia and reiterated in the UWG Faculty Handbook. Article 5, Section 1A of the Statutes states:

"Any faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of results, subject to the adequate performance of his or her other academic duties, but research for pecuniary return shall depend on the approval of the President. Any faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his or her subject, but should be careful to present the various scholarly views related to the subject and avoid presenting totally unrelated material. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment" [1] (Faculty Handbook, Policy 109.01 [2]).

Academic freedom, however, must be balanced against the concept of academic responsibility. Again, both University Statutes and the Faculty Handbook explain:

"The concept of freedom should be accompanied by an equally demanding concept of responsibility.  The university or university teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession and an officer of an educational institution.  When such a person speaks or writes as a citizen, he or she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his or her special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and an educational officer, he or she should remember that the public may judge the profession and the institution by one’s utterances.  Hence he or she should at all times be accurate, should exercise restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he or she is not an institutional spokesperson" [3] (Faculty Handbook, Policy 109.02 [2]).   

As mentioned above, UWG polices on academic freedom and academic responsibility are published in the Faculty Handbook and the Statutes of the University. These publications are available on the website of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  In addition, the Faculty Handbook is typically distributed to the new faculty at the "New Faculty Orientation".

It should  be noted that there have not been any instances in which issues involving academic freedom have emerged at the University of West Georgia since the last SACS visit.

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