3.7.4 Academic freedom
The institution ensures adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom.
Judgement of Compliance:
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) ensures adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom. The policies governing academic freedom, responsibility, and tenure were approved by the University of Tennessee (UT) Board of Trustees at its meeting of 18 June 1998 and revised 19 June 2003 and 16 March 2006 (pp. 10-11). These policies enumerate specific responsibilities of the faculty and University administration related to academic freedom for all faculty members regardless of tenurial status.
The UT Board's policies on academic freedom and tenure are also presented in Chapter 4 of the UTC Faculty Handbook, along with specific processes for appealing challenges to academic freedom.
The faculty senate has established a standing Faculty/Administrative Relations Committee charged with investigating and ruling on disputes between faculty members and University administration, which might include challenges to academic freedom. Members of this committee are elected from and by the full faculty.
As defined by UT Board policies, tenure confers substantial protection of academic freedom. According to the UTC Office of Planning and Institutional Research report on full-time faculty tenurial status and rank, as of Fall 2009, 52% of full-time faculty at UTC hold tenure, 19.5% are on the tenure track, and 28.6% are not on the tenure track. According to UT Board policy, tenure cannot be revoked for matters pertaining to academic or intellectual freedom.According to present and past chairs of the Faculty/Administrative Relations Committee, the Office of the Provost and Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the Office of the Assistant General Counsel, there have been no cases of faculty termination, revocation, probation, suspension, censure, etc. on grounds that might infringe on the faculty member’s academic freedom.
- UT Board of Trustees Policy on Academic Freedom, Responsibility and Tenure
- Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes, March 16, 2006, pp. 10-11
- Committee Structure
- Faculty Handbook, Chapter 4: Academic Freedom and Faculty Rights
- Full-time faculty tenurial status report (Office of Planning, Evaluation and Institutional Research)