Policy: Policy 3-2-12: Academic Freedom and Academic Standards Date Adopted: Oct 06, 2015
Department: Academic & Student Affairs Contact: Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs

Section 1: Academic Freedom

  1. Higher education activities are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual member of the faculty or the institution. The continued existence of the common good depends upon the free search for truth and knowledge and their free exposition.
  2. Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and is applicable to both teaching and research. Freedom in teaching is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the faculty in teaching and of the student in learning. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth and knowledge. A member of the faculty has freedom and an obligation, in the classroom or in research, to discuss and pursue the faculty members subject with candor and integrity, even when the subject requires consideration of topics which may be politically, socially or scientifically controversial. In order to insure the freedom to seek and profess truth and knowledge, as stated in Section 2.3 of the Nevada System of Higher Education Code (Title 2, Chapter 2), the faculty member, as defined in Section 2.2 of this chapter, shall not be subjected to censorship or discipline by the Nevada System of Higher Education on grounds that the faculty member has expressed opinions or views which are controversial, unpopular or contrary to the attitudes of the Nevada System of Higher Education or the community.
  3. The Nevada System of Higher Education is committed to the solution of problems and controversies by the method of rational discussion. Acts of physical force or disruptive acts which interfere with Nevada System of Higher Education activities, freedom of movement on the campuses or freedom for students to pursue their studies are the antithesis of academic freedom and responsibility, as are acts which in effect deny freedom of speech, freedom to be heard and freedom to pursue research of their own choosing to members of the faculty or to invited guests of the Nevada System of Higher Education. cf. NSHE Code, Title 2, Chapter 2, Sections 2.1.1, 2.1.2 and 2.1.4.
  4. Western Nevada College stands firmly behind these tenets of academic freedom, as well as the tenets stated in the American Association of University Professors 1940 statement on Academic Freedom.

Section 2: Academic Standards

  1. In a standards based educational system, standards, curriculum and instruction are purposefully linked to ensure that all students have the opportunity to meet high levels of excellence.
  2. Regents, university and community college administrators and faculty, full-time and part-time, tenured, tenure track and non-tenure track, are given responsibility for making fair and reliable decisions in a wide range of educational endeavor. Standards are part of the process of making choices that affect the lives of students, faculty, support staff, and community. Because of their impact, standards and the decisions made with them must be set consistently, prudently and fairly.
  3. Academic standards define what students need to know but not how students learn or how faculty teach. Standards set the focus and essentially define WHAT must be learned, within the confines of academic freedom, by all students. Student mastery of the standards is measured through course (and program) assessment tools.
  4. Standards are defined as the minimal material within a curriculum that must be taught to students. Academic standards define the knowledge and skills that students are expected to learn in a subject. High academic standards describe benchmark measures that define what students should know and be able to do at specified levels in college courses. High standards in each and every subject are the foundation for academic success. Academic standards are designed to provide a clear path for students to gain the proficiency that is required to learn increasingly complex material. Students who learn the knowledge and skills defined by the academic standards are on track to meet their educational goals.
  5. Content standards are designed to encourage the highest achievement of every student, by defining the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students should acquire from each course of study.
  6. Western Nevada College sets high academic standards in accordance with the NSHE Code and expects students to perform at their utmost ability, achieving their highest academic goals as demonstrated by their performance on assessment instruments.

Date(s) Revised   Date(s) Reviewed