Category: academic freedom

Vice-Chancellors should welcome staff participation in the governance of their university’s international partnerships

Universities and higher education institutions in the UK have a more international profile than at any prior point in their existence. As a consequence, they face entanglement in geopolitical issues. In this post, Andreas Fulda, John Heathershaw and An…

In legislating for freedom of speech on university campuses, whose opinions will the government protect?

The Higher Education and Freedom of Speech Bill is currently moving through the committee stage in Parliament. In this post, Conor Gearty reflects on previous attempts to regulate free speech in universities and highlights potential unintended conseque…

More work is required to make academic “timescapes” worth inhabiting and to open up space for creative work

Is the problem with contemporary academia really one of constant acceleration? Ulrike Felt argues that focusing too much on acceleration overlooks a more complex phenomenon at work. What is needed is careful investigation of “time generators”, the key sites in academia that create binding temporal requirements and regulations. Many of academia’s recent reforms – to funding structures, assessment exercises, accountability […]

Universities under purdah: maintaining impartiality or restricting academic freedom?

Is purdah, intended to maintain the impartiality of the civil service, infringing on university researchers’ independence at a time when their expertise is most needed? Bob Ward explains the rules and argues that the next government should undertake a review of the guidance available, in order to ensure that purdah does not harm the public interest in the future. University […]

The moral baseline of social media policies: Institutions and scholars need to examine practices with a critical eye

Although scholars are often encouraged to promote their research online, institutional recognition of networked scholarship often appears to be as much about control and surveillance as about integrating public scholarship into academic criteria for success. George Veletsianos argues staff members, faculty, and administrators need to work together to devise forward-thinking policies that take into account the complex realities present in networked […]

The Professor Divide at American Universities and How to Fix It — The Case for a Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track.

The casual hiring of non-permanent teaching staff is a pressing issue for universities in the U.S. and the U.K. Jennifer Ruth focuses her analysis on U.S. universities in particular and shows to what extent this now common practice is deprofessionalizing the academic profession. Creating a tenure track for full-time faculty hired and promoted on the basis of excellence in teaching would establish a […]

Academic freedom under threat as US Congress targets climate change scholars.

A few weeks ago allegations surfaced over undisclosed ties between Dr Willie Soon, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and corporate interests from the energy industry. Dr Soon is now under investigation, and a Democratic member of Congress has used it as an opportunity to suggest climate change academics who have been invited by Republicans to give evidence at Congressional hearings […]

Podcast: Audible Impact Episode 4: Academics in Exile

In this podcast, we look at what happens when academics turn enemy of the state. Stephen Wordsworth, Executive Director of the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), talks about the beginnings of the charity first created to assist Jewish academics escaping the Holocaust, and how, 80 years later, academics in harm’s way from Zimbabwe to Syria, still rely on CARA’s support. Refugees from […]