General Academic Freedom Policy
“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 exposition” (1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure).
Within Wilson University, we believe that all truth is from God and can be identified as God’s truth. Furthermore, the shape and manner of man’s creation allows man to seek, to find, and to grasp truth. While the truth is pristine, its pursuit, regardless of the degree of qualifications of the human seeker, cannot but always be, to varying degrees, partial.
We also affirm that the knowledge of truth will always be incomplete due to human fallibility which is endemic to the race, regardless of educational or academic credentials. Academic freedom thus guarantees freedom of inquiry in this ongoing searching for, and of, truth. As a Christian university, such inquiry shall be carried out from a Christ-centered perspective with maturity, careful judgment, and civility, within the comprehensive representation of Christian faith that is present within this university. Accordingly, Wilson University affirms its commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression in academic undertakings.
The university acknowledges that historically, academic freedom is defined both by generally accepted academic standards, as well as by the institutional mission and character.
Wilson University is committed to an academic community characterized by freedom to engage in rigorous scholarly inquiry and expression within an intellectual context shaped by the Pentecostal Christian tradition. Wilson University encourages and supports the pursuit of scholarly inquiry and expression in and by the faculty and students. The school also encourages this pursuit of scholarly inquiry and expression in a manner that extends and enriches the academic disciplines out of the unique resources provided by our institution’s identity.
Thus, at Wilson University, academic freedom is defined both by the commonly accepted standards of the academy as well as by those commitments articulated in the documents that are central to the university’s identity as a Christian university. These documents articulate the central commitments which shape the academic community, and thus the practice of academic freedom, at Wilson University: a belief in God who is Creator of all things through the divine Word and Spirit which became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ who is Savior of the world as the creator of all things, and in personal abiding in individuals by the Holy Spirit. These truths are exhibited in Scripture, which is God’s authoritative and infallible revelation, and in the Christian community as an expression and vehicle of God’s redemptive work in this world.
Principles for Faculty
- Faculty are entitled to the rights and privileges, and bear the obligations, of academic freedom in the performance of their duties. Specifically, faculty are free to pursue truth and knowledge within their disciplines in the classroom, in their research and writings, and in other public statements in their field of professional competence. At all times faculty should strive for accuracy, exercise appropriate restraint, and show respect for the opinions of others.
- Faculty are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject.
- Faculty are members of the global community, yet as scholars and members of the Wilson University community, faculty should be aware that public perceptions of the university will result from their utterances.
- In the practice of the academic vocation, complaints against faculty may be generated. Faculty shall be protected from any request to retract or modify their research, publication, or teaching merely because a complaint has been received. Only complaints alleging faculty violations of professional standards of the discipline or of advocating positions incompatible with those commitments articulated in the documents that are central to the university’s identity as a Christian university, and then only when the evidence supporting the allegation is more substantial than rumor, inference or hearsay. Alleged violations of the academic freedom policy should be referred to the dean of the school in which the faculty member teaches. The dean may recommend a sanction appropriate for the case at hand including counseling, disciplinary action or termination of employment.
- In the event that a faculty member believes his or her academic freedom has been unduly restricted, he or she may pursue resolution of this issue through the existing faculty grievance procedure as articulated in the Faculty Handbook.
Principles for Students
The student is responsible for learning and demonstrating mastery the content and skills of a course of study, while participating actively in the course’s intellectual community, according to standards of performance established by the faculty.
The student has a right to academic evaluations that represent the course instructor’s good faith judgments of performance. Course grades shall represent the instructor’s professional and objective evaluation of the student’s academic performance. The student shall have the right to know all course requirements, including grading criteria, and course procedures at the beginning of the course.
- To overcome the presumption of good faith, it must be demonstrated that an evaluation was based entirely or in part upon factors that are inappropriate or irrelevant to academic performance and applicable professional standards.
- The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.
- The student shall be free to take reasoned exception to information and views offered in the instructional context, and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, without fear of penalty or reprisal.
- The student’s behavior in the classroom shall be conducive to the teaching and learning process for all concerned.
- The student has a right to be governed by educationally justifiable academic regulations and professional standards. The administering unit shall inform students in writing of such regulations, including codes of professional behavior, at the time of the student’s entry into the academic program.
- The student has a right to accurate, timely, and clear information in writing at the time of entry into an academic program concerning (a) general academic requirements for establishing and maintaining an acceptable academic standing, (b) the student’s academic relationship with the university and the details of any special conditions that may apply, and (c) graduation requirements for the student’s academic program.
- Students are responsible for informing themselves of university and department requirements as stated in publications and in the university catalog. In planning to meet such requirements, students are responsible for consulting with their academic coaches.
- The student has a right to protection against improper disclosure of his/her education records and personal information such as values, beliefs, organizational affiliations, and health.
- The student has a right to be protected from personal exploitation and to receive recognition for scholarly assistance to faculty.
- The student and the faculty share the responsibility for maintaining professional relationships based on mutual trust and civility.