Openness on campus called for
Dr Donald Savage, the Canadian higher education consultant who has recently completed an inquiry into the state of academic freedom in New Zealand sees the academic boards of the universities as having a key role to play in ensuring that free discussion can take place on campus.
“Academic freedom implies free discussion and that can only take place in an open atmosphere. Closed doors are the enemy of free discussion,” said Dr Savage from Ottawa today.
“One of the keys to successfully functioning university governance structures is a vigorous local policy in favour of openness.
“Academic boards should therefore take a lead by investigating how open their university actually is and how openness can be extended in their institution,” he said.
“Academic boards should also actively resist attempts by administrators to impose external speech codes on staff and should play a key role in policing the adoption of performance indicators, particularly those that rely on mindless counting and record-keeping instead of academic judgment.”
“All such indicators should first be approved by the academic board,” said Dr Savage.