David Moshman, professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has an excellent article at the Huffington Post on what academic freedom means, according to the AAUP's 1915 Declaration of Principles. NAS has written frequently on this elusive meaning, and we agree with the 1915 Declaration. As one of the foremost defenders of intellectual liberty and sound practice in higher education, this is a theme close to our hearts.
Moshman rebuts the common notion that academic freedom is a privilege strictly for tenured professors. Instead, he writes, the 1915 Declaration indicates that academic freedom:
- is intended to serve the common good
- relates specifically to matters of intellectual freedom
- applies to all teachers regardless of tenure status, and
- applies to students as well.
Well-put, Professor Moshman. He expands on these points in his article.
NAS has outlined our position on academic freedom, in which we affirm that students are entitled to academic freedom (there's even a word for this in German, Lernfreiheit). And we recently argued that anyone (including college administrators) who is committed to the search for truth through rational inquiry and dispassionate and scrupulous use of evidence deserves the protection of academic freedom.