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Academic Freedom

This guide is designed to provide basic information about the concept of Academic Freedom and resources for further information.

What is Academic Freedom?

What is Academic Freedom?   There are many definitions, but here are a couple:

1) "Academic Freedom means the freedom to teach and conduct research constrained only by two things - the professional standards of the relevant discipline and the legitimate and non-discriminatory institutional requirements for organizing the academic mission."  Mackinnon, Peter "What Do We Mean When We Talk About Academic Freedom?"  University Affairs October, 2011 p.35

2) "Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition."
American Association of University Professors- Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, 1940

Defining Academic Freedom

"This statement is designed to help clarify both what academic freedom does and doesn't do."

Nelson, Cary "Defining Academic Freedom" Inside Higher Education. December 21, 2010. 

Academic freedom: What it is, what it isn’t and why there’s confusion | Robert Quinn

AAUP Statement on Academic Freedom

American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

The AAUP definition of academic freedom includes:

"Academic freedom is the indispensable requisite for unfettered teaching and research in institutions of higher education. As the academic community's core policy document states, "institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition"