||Policy 3-2-12: Academic Freedom and Academic Standards
||Oct 06, 2015
||Academic & Student Affairs
||Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs
Section 1: Academic Freedom
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.