Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Academic Freedom

I'm struggling right now with the notion of academic freedom in higher education in Canada. I'm thinking about this notion in the context of religious higher education. At the institution where I teach, all faculty are required to function within a certain framework of belief. If any work of the faculty fall outside of this framework of belief, then there might be a problem. Technically, this might seem to indicate a lack of academic freedom, though it is also a move against the agreed-upon framework of belief.

At my institution, I am restricted by a framework of religious belief. At all institutions, all academic work is restricted by an agreed upon framework of belief. There are certain subjects and viewpoints that are not acceptable even at public universities, and that might jeopardize employment.

I suppose the crux of the discussion is, what does academic freedom actually mean? What does it mean to have academic freedom within the bounds of explicitly-stated religious belief? What does it mean to have academic freedom within the bounds of implicitly-stated agreed-upon discourse?

I am struggling with these questions, in the light of CAUT's continued blacklisting of religious-based academic institutions.

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