Apr 14, 2024  
Faculty Handbook 2023 - 2024 
Faculty Handbook 2023 - 2024

2.1 - Academic Freedom and Responsibility

Kennesaw State University recognizes and is committed to upholding the First Amendment rights of all individuals, including the right to freedom of speech, academic freedom, and peaceable assembly.  Academic freedom rights of faculty extend only to classroom material and discussions, research, publications, and other academic activities germane to the subject matter being taught, researched, written about, or presented.  Please review Board of Regents Policy 6.5 on Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom and KSU’s Freedom of Expression Policy.  Additionally, KSU Kennesaw State University endorses the following statements as published by the American Association of University Professors in defining the academic responsibilities of faculty members (Excerpts from the 1990 Edition of the AAUP Policy Documents & Reports, pgs. 3-4, 77-78). Document is on file at the KSU Sturgis Library in the general reserve section.

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 expression. 

Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. It carries with it duties correlative with rights. 

  1. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution. 
  2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of appointment. 
  3. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and education officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution. 

Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators, and trustees an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression on and off the campus. The expression of dissent and the attempt to produce change, therefore, may not be carried out in ways that injure individuals or damage institutional facilities or disrupt the classes of one’s teachers or colleagues… Students are entitled to an atmosphere conducive to learning and to evenhanded treatment in all aspects of the teacher student relationship. Faculty members may not refuse to enroll or teach students on the grounds of their beliefs or the possible uses to which they may put the knowledge to be gained in a course. Students should not be forced by the authority inherent in the instructional role to make particular personal choices as to political action or their own part in society. Evaluation of students and the award of credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, whether personality, race, religion, degree of political activism, or personal beliefs. It is the mastery teachers have of their subjects that entitles them to their classrooms and to freedom in the presentation of their subjects. Thus, it is improper for an instructor persistently to interject material that has no relation to the subject, or to fail to present the subject matter of the course as announced to their students and as approved by the faculty in their collective responsibility for the curriculum. 

Instructional Responsibilities

Kennesaw State University also endorses the following statement on professional ethics for college and university faculty as published by the American Association of University Professors (1990 Edition of the AAUP Policy Documents & Reports, pgs. 75-76). Document is on file at KSU Sturgis Library in the general reserve section.

  1. Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end professors devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry. 
  2. As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Professors make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student’s true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom. 
  3. As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas professors show due respect for the opinions of others. Professors acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. Professors accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution. 
  4. As members of an academic institution, professors seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although professors observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Professors give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, professors recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions. 
  5. As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of other citizens. Professors measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

The principles of Academic Freedom and Instructional Responsibilities highlighted above require diligent processes in order to create the conditions in which faculty are free to pursue knowledge as they deem appropriate, and to protect the integrity of the faculty/student relationship. The practice of Academic Freedom may include, but is not necessarily limited to, freedom from the following:

  1. external and internal political pressure
  2. undue interference in course content
  3. retaliation or reprisal for expressing unpopular perspectives related to research, curriculum, pedagogy, and organizational procedures
  4. undue interference in grading and assessment criteria