Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 

Academic Freedom Report Completed

AUS website
The report into the state of academic freedom in New Zealand universities, commissioned by the Association of University Staff (AUS) last year, has been completed. A summary of the report, together with its recommendations, has been released to the media and can be read on the AUS website [www.aus.ac.nz] from Monday 13 March. Dunmore Press will publish the full report later in the year in book form.

Dr Donald Savage, Canadian higher education specialist who conducted the independent inquiry, consulted people from many sectors, including the universities, the government and the parliamentary opposition, the Ministry of Education, the Business Roundtable, the Academic Audit Unit and the Security Intelligence Service. The inquiry was publicised throughout the universities, and staff were invited to raise any related issues.

The report has three main parts:

Definitions of academic freedom
 Part A examines and clarifies various definitions of academic freedom
 It notes that the institutional form of academic freedom, university autonomy, requires a degree of self-governance necessary for local decision making, consistent with a respect for public accountability.

External challenges
Part B deals with external challenges and threats to academic freedom and autonomy, including those that arise from the relationship of the universities with central government. Various safeguards and structures to maintain academic freedom and autonomy are suggested. Some of these relate to:
 the functions of the new Tertiary Education Advisory Commission;
 ownership of the universities;
 the funding of research;
 controversial teaching and research;
 the research relationship between the university and the business community;
 institutions’ financial reporting requirements;
 developments in the World Trade Organisation; and
 the activities of the Security Intelligence Service



Internal challenges
Part C of the report deals with internal challenges and threats to academic freedom and autonomy. Recommendations here include:
 Universities should consider amplifying the definition of academic freedom in the Education Act with statements of their own, preferably in the collective employment agreement with academic staff.
 Emphasis is placed on the distinction between executive and legislative functions within the university and the roles of the governing council, vice-chancellors, deans and other academic administrators are examined.
 The statutory role of Vice-Chancellor as sole employer of staff is seen as concentrating too much power in one person and it is recommended that the function should be transferred to the council.

Finally, the report notes that UNESCO, in its recent policy statement on the status of higher education teaching personnel, placed some emphasis on collegial self-government as an essential operational part of academic freedom. It considers that the academic boards provide the key structure for this, notes that they have become increasingly ineffectual, and suggests ways of strengthening those bodies.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: Flying High - The Photography of Lloyd Homer

For 35 years, Lloyd Homer took over 100,000 photos for the New Zealand Geological Survey (now known as GNS), his cameras taking him to many of the most spectacular and remote corners of New Zealand.. More>>

Beating Aussies 52-51: Silver Ferns Win Netball World Cup

It's the first time New Zealand has lifted the World Championship trophy in 16 years and marks an impressive turnaround for the Ferns after last year's fourth place finish at the Commonwealth Games. More>>

ALSO:

DOC Alert: Penguins Ignore Police, Return To Sushi Shop

Department of Conservation rangers are on high alert for 'penguin call-outs' after they've been spotted waddling around Wellington. Yesterday the little blue penguins had to be removed from under a sushi store near the Wellington railway station, not once - but twice. More>>

Baldwin St's Steep Decline: Welsh Town Beats Dunedin For Steepest Street

Harlech, a sleepy town set in the hills of North Wales, boasts a beautiful seaside, a 13th century castle and stunning panoramic views. But the town can now add something else to the list - Harlech is officially the home of the world’s steepest street. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland