IV. Academic Freedom And Professional Ethics
Academic freedom is the freedom to discuss in the classroom matters deemed relevant to the business of a given class. It should be recalled that intellectual inquiry, which sometimes results in disagreements or controversy, is essential both to the pursuit of knowledge, and to production of valuable work.
Additionally, faculty members are entitled to their political rights, and to all the prerogatives of United States citizens.
However, faculty members should endeavor not to introduce into classroom teaching controversial material without bearing on material relating to their courses and/or disciplines, or unrelated to fostering intellectual awareness and/or critical thinking in their students. They should recall they belong to a learned profession associated with exercise of reasoned and reasonable discourse, and expression of informed opinion. Therefore, they should at all times strive to be accurate in their representations, and to show respect for the opinions of others.
Academic freedom allows faculty members to pursue research and scholarship, and/or to engage in creative expression without obtrusive interference or fear of institutional censure, insofar as these activities do not impinge on the rights and well-being of others (e.g., slander and libel, potentially harmful experimentation with human subjects, anything else that could physically or emotionally harm a student or other person). Faculty members may speak, write, or create works of art without institutional reprisal, retaliation, or constraint, as long as they do not represent themselves as speaking for or representing their institution.
However, faculty members must perform their academic duties as a professional priority, given that Richard Bland College is primarily a teaching college. They also are required to comply with federal and state laws and regulations, and applicable federal, state, and College policies.
Academic freedom in higher education helps ensure that colleges and universities serve the public good. This process best thrives where the search for truth, furthered by the exposition and ongoing assessment of ideas, is actively encouraged.
Richard Bland College generally endorses the Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure adopted jointly in 1940 and reinterpreted in 1970 by the Association of American Colleges and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).