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Waikato Scholar Wins Academic Freedom Award

Tertiary Education Union
Media release
9 November 2012

Waikato Scholar Wins Academic Freedom Award

TEU will hold its inaugural Awards of Excellence ceremony next week. Among the recipients will be Professor Martin Thrupp from the University of Waikato, who will win an award for his defence of academic freedom.

Academic freedom is the crucial right of scholars to teach, research and speak up about ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities) without fear of reprisal, censorship or discipline.

TEU will honour Martin Thrupp for speaking out against national standards being introduced into New Zealand schools. In 2011 Professor Martin Thrupp had to defend his own right to research and speak out on a matter of public concern. Having criticised the government’s flagship school policy of National Standards, Martin found his research and university teaching under attack by the then minister of education Anne Tolley, print media and right-wing bloggers. Undeterred, Professor Trupp has continued to build a well-respected research programme on the National Standards. He has also continued his academic activism as a public speaker and in the media, and has provided academic leadership speaking out publicly, but always exercising his academic freedom in a responsible manner – using sound research evidence and argument.

TEU national president Sandra Grey says the new awards recognise the intrinsic values that make tertiary education a public good that benefits all New Zealanders.

"At the moment government policy values tertiary education’s economic outputs and labour market productivity. We wanted to take the time to recognise some of the less tangible but equally crucial things tertiary education and tertiary educators give to New Zealand. These awards recognise people who have shown excellence in student learning and participation, professional integrity, academic freedom and supporting research and learning," said Sandra Grey.
Award ceremony details
Venue: Kauri Room, Brentwood Hotel, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Date: Monday 12 November
Time: 6pm to 7:30pm


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