Academic Freedom and Responsibility

I. Introduction

The following policy on academic freedom and responsibility is in compliance with the Tennessee Board of Regents Policy on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (5:02:03:30) (adopted by the Board, April 2, 2004) and embodies all provisions and stipulations of the Board Policy. http://www.tbr.state.tn.us/policies/default.aspx?id=1482

II. Academic Freedom and Responsibility

Tennessee Technological University recognizes the principle of academic freedom pursuant to which:

A. A faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject, being careful not to introduce into the teaching extraneous subject matter;

B. A faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research/scholarship/creative activities and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of his/her other academic duties. Research/scholarship/creative activities for financial gain must be based upon an understanding with the authorities of Tennessee Technological University, which is documented, reduced to writing, and signed by the faculty member and the appropriate academic officer(s);

C. A faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of this University. When a faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, he/she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his/her special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a man or woman of learning and an educational officer, he/she should remember that the public might judge the profession and the institution by a faculty member's utterances. Hence, a faculty member should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he/she does not speak for Tennessee Technological University.

Academic freedom is essential to fulfill the ultimate objectives of an educational institution -- the free search for an exposition of truth -- and applies to teaching, research/ scholarship/creative activities, and service/outreach. Freedom in teaching is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the faculty member in teaching and of the student in learning. Freedom in research/scholarship/ creative activities is fundamental to the advancement of truth; and freedom in service/outreach is fundamental to the advancement of this University, the profession, and the community. 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 on Academic Tenure at Tennessee Board of Regents' Universities, 5-02-03-60, Section V. H. (http://www.tbr.state.tn.us/policies/default.aspx?id=1484) may constitute adequate cause for dismissal or other disciplinary sanctions against faculty members subject to the provisions of Article V. I.

The right to academic freedom imposes upon the faculty an 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 University 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, the full benefits and responsibilities of academic freedom extend to all individuals teaching at TTU, whether or not they are eligible for tenure.

[Approved by the University Faculty April 27, 2005.  Amendment of last paragraph approved by the University Faculty April 28, 2010.]

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