3.7.4 Academic Freedom

The institution ensures adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

Prairie View A&M University has adequate procedures and safeguards in place to protect the academic freedom of faculty.

In keeping with the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure from the American Association of University Professors and indeed echoing much of that document's language [1], Texas A&M System Policy 12.01.1: Academic Freedom, Responsibility and Tenure [2] sets the framework for academic freedom at member institutions. Prairie View has designed its own statement, Rule 12.01.99.P1 [3]. Guiding principles include that "it is essential that each faculty member be free to pursue scholarly inquiry, and to voice and publish individual conclusions concerning the significance of evidence that the faculty member considers relevant" and "each faculty member is entitled to full freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject which he or she teaches, but should not introduce controversial matter which has no relation to the classroom subject." Even in non-traditional classroom environments, academic freedom is respected. Procedure DL 2.0 for Distance Learning specifically explains, "nothing in this procedure is to be construed to prevent faculty from continuing to develop materials and conduct on-campus classes in accordance with the traditional guidelines of the University or to restrict academic freedom" [4]. All policies described above are freely available online from the Policy Library as well as on the web pages for the School of Architecture and College of Nursing. Furthermore, the Faculty Handbook directs readers to Rule 12.01.99.P1 for matters of tenure and academic freedom.

Should faculty members feel their academic freedom has been challenged, they can use the grievance / formal complaint procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook, which is distributed [5]. The policies specify the time frame for responses to complaints and the required composition of grievance committees with tenured faculty representatives from each academic unit. PVAMU Administrative Procedure 80.10: Complaint and Appeal Procedures for Faculty Members also is available online and describes the grievance system [6]. For additional protection, the Faculty Handbook provides contact information for the Texas Faculty Association, a non-profit organization external to the university that offers assistance to faculty in academic freedom disputes [7].

Supporting Documentation and Links

Comprehensive Standards 3.7.4

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