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RSCC Policy PA-22-02; Academic Freedom and Responsibility

Roane State Community College
Policy Number: PA-22-02
Subject: Academic Freedom and Responsibility
  1. Introduction

    RSCC subscribes to the Tennessee Board of Regents institutional policies on academic freedom and responsibility and specifically acknowledges compliance with TBR Policy on Academic Freedom and Responsibility ( The RSCC institutional policy embodies and communicates clearly all provisions, definitions, and stipulations of the Board policy and provisions, definitions, and stipulations unique to RSCC.
  2. Academic Freedom and Responsibility

    RSCC recognizes the principle of academic freedom, pursuant to which:
    1. The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject, being careful not to introduce into the teaching unrelated subject matter.
    2. The faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of his/her other academic duties. Research for financial gain must be based upon a written, signed agreement between the faculty member and the appropriate academic officer(s).
    3. The faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of the institution. When the faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, he/she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his/her special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and an educational officer, he/she should remember that the public may judge the profession and the institution by the faculty member's utterances. Hence, a faculty member should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he/she does not speak for the institution.
    4. The principles of academic freedom and responsibility here defined are applicable both to faculty as defined in TBR policy and to non-tenure track full-time, part-time, or adjunct faculty.

Academic freedom is essential to fulfill the ultimate objectives of an educational institution - the free search for and exposition of truth - and applies to both teaching and research. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth, and academic freedom in teaching is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the faculty member in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. Implicit in the principle of academic freedom are the corollary responsibilities of the faculty who enjoy that freedom. Incompetence, indolence, intellectual dishonesty, failure to carry out assigned duties, serious moral dereliction, arbitrary and capricious disregard of standards of professional conduct and other grounds as set forth in RSCC policy PA-22-01 Section VII G may constitute adequate cause for dismissal or other disciplinary sanctions against faculty members. Access the complete detailed RSCC Policy PA-22-01, Academic Tenure, at

The right to academic freedom imposes upon the faculty the obligation to take appropriate professional action against faculty members who are derelict in discharging their professional responsibilities. The faculty member has an obligation to participate in tenure and promotion review of colleagues as specified in institutional policy. Thus, academic freedom and academic responsibility are interdependent, and academic tenure is adopted as a means to protect the former while promoting the latter. While academic tenure is essential for the protection of academic freedom, all faculty members, tenured or non-tenured, have an equal right to academic freedom and bear the same academic responsibilities implicit in that freedom.

TBR Policy Reference:
Revision Date Effective: 04/03/2006
Revision Approval By: Gary Goff, President
Original Date Effective: 01/11/1988
Original Approval By: Cuyler A. Dunbar, President
Office Responsible: Vice President Student Learning
Reviewed: 07/18/2017

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