By Dennis Pavlich, Sharon E. Kahn

What's the function and nature of educational freedom? Is it a vital and integral price or a foul suggestion in response to doubtful rules that via omission are racist and sexist? The essays in Academic Freedom and the Inclusive University relate ancient and philosophical views on educational freedom to present social and political pursuits, making an immense contribution to 1 of the main major highbrow debates presently attractive the modern collage.

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If the dominant interpretation of academic freedom is rooted in liberal principles, it is clear why initiatives for curriculum change and policies essential for an inclusive university are opposed as violations of individual rights and freedoms: the individual referred to in such discourse is the atomistic individual conceptualized in liberal thought; systemic inequalities inherent in the traditional university culture are simply not acknowledged. A basic question, then, is whether notions of individuality and freedom can exist apart from liberal discourse.

On the whole, the recent benefits to society have been immense, and the changes wrought by increased inclusiveness, professionalism, and the ascendancy of science have also been great. But, along the way, some important things have been lost. As we have assumed new responsibilities and new priorities and established new partnerships with business and government, the moral influence of our universities has diminished. We should not be surprised to learn from Alexander Astin’s annual surveys of first-year students’ attitudes that far more of those students now believe it is more important to go to university to prepare for a well-paying career than to find a meaningful philosophy of life.

On another level, the real problem may be loss of faith that the academy can develop a new, even if not permanent, conception of truth transcending radical deconstructionism, the unmasking of knowledge, with a world view focused on the integration of our new and our previous understandings. In this goal lies the great thrill of academic life. For us, truth is simply the horizon beyond which we cannot see – yet. , 1987). 2 John Gray, Isaiah Berlin (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996).

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