Academic Freedom and Responsibility Policy


This policy on academic freedom and responsibility was approved by the State Board for Community Colleges on January 29, 1969.

Document source: Thomas Nelson Community College Faculty Handbook.

To insure the college an instructional program marked by excellence, the Virginia Community College System supports the concept of academic freedom. In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, college faculty and students must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism. The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject, but he should be careful not to introduce into his teaching matters which have no relation to his field. Faculty and students must be able to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence and to participate as responsible citizens in community affairs.

The system also recognizes that commitment to every freedom carries with it attendant responsibilities. The faculty member must fulfill his responsibility to society and to his profession by manifesting academic competence, professional discretion, and good citizenship. When he speaks or writes as a citizen, he will be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his special position in the community imposed special obligations. As a professional educator, he must remember that the public may judge his profession and his institution by his utterances. Hence, he should at all times be accurate, exercise proper restraint, show respect for opinions of others , and make every effort to indicate that he is not an institutional spokesperson.

At no time shall the principle of academic freedom prevent the institution from making proper efforts to assure the best possible instruction for all students in accordance with the objectives of the institution.