UC’s Biological Science School gets critical

Posted By TEU on Aug 22, 2013 | 1 comment

Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 28

The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury has adopted a policy that promotes and affirms its duty to be a critic and conscience for society.  The policy, which also aims to preserve and enhance academic freedom, actively encourages staff to engage with the community, other scholars and government to present, where necessary, unpopular views.

Now that it has adopted the policy the school will set up a committee to coordinate critic and conscience activities and to maintain a repository of staff and student contributions towards its critic and conscience role.

TEU branch president Jack Heinemann, who works in the school, says the policy is an innovative attempt by the staff in the department to put their legislated critic and conscience responsibilities on an equal footing with their responsibilities to research and teaching.

“Universities have three responsibilities – to research, to teach and to act as a critic and conscience for their community. The first two responsibilities are closely measured and accounted for, but the third, despite its prominence in the Education Act, receives far less attention and support.”

“This policy encourages staff in the school to act responsibly. But also to actively use their academic freedom and take the risk when they need to say things that are unpopular or controversial, knowing they have the support of their institution and their colleagues,” said Jack Heinemann.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. 1500 rally against employment changes
  2. High jump and higher education – the fallacy of continuous improvement
  3. Bill to arrest student debtors at the border
  4. Why should academics care about living in a surveillance society?
  5. GCSB powers pose no threat to academic freedom

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