The Case for Adding Academic Freedom to College Ranking Metrics
Making the argument to consider academic freedom in college rankings.
Currently, college rankings are based on a variety of select performance indicators, such as student retention rates, reputation, admissions selectivity, and so on. However, one factor that is notably absent from these ranking metrics is the question of academic freedom. Here’s why we should consider academic freedom in college rankings.
As the cornerstone of the modern higher education system, academic freedom refers to the ability of teachers and students to pursue knowledge and research without the fear of censorship or retaliation. So, why is this important academic principle excluded from higher education ranking systems? Well, it’s reasonable to assume that academic freedom was once a given at most colleges and universities. However, in today’s political climate, this is no longer the case.
Recently, there has been a number of cases where politicians and interest groups have attacked professors who have made controversial statements on social media and placed pressure on their institutions to take retaliatory actions against the outspoken faculty. As such, many faculty members have found themselves silenced in the face of real threats to their livelihoods.
When academic freedom is compromised, so is the quality of education that students receive. Without discussions of controversial subject matter, students are not challenged to evaluate their assumptions and prejudices and, therefore, are not encouraged to develop intellectually. When rights to free inquiry, creativity, and innovative thinking are challenged, students are denied the education most associate with the best colleges and universities.
Because many prospective students refer to college rankings when making their enrollment decisions, it’s important that these rankings include data on academic freedoms. Adding this metric to the college ranking system ensures that students are empowered to make informed decisions about their educational journeys.
This is why we need to consider academic freedom in college rankings. Looking for a consulting firm with experience working with salary, legal, and other human resources issues? Then don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at McKnight Associates, Inc. We are ready to offer you hands-on human resources consulting for colleges, universities, medical centers, and organizations of all sizes.