Month: August 2015

Why Academic Freedom is Important to Everyone (Not Just Academics)

The ongoing conflicts at the University of British Columbia that I wrote about last week have caused a lot of discussion about the concept of “academic freedom”. Unfortunately, a fair amount of that discussion has criticized academic freedom as nothing more than an excuse for lazy academics to do irrelevant work, or as something that’s only important to ivory-tower inhabitants fighting over trivial issues.

Clearly I’m biased on the importance of academic freedom,  because it’s extremely relevant to my occupation. But the right to academic freedom in universities is something that is, and should be, important to everyone. Here’s why. (more…)

Blogging, Academia, and Diversity

When Jennifer Berdahl was appointed to a faculty position in the University of British Columbia (UBC) Sauder School of Business, a UBC press release quoted her as saying that she intended to “create change by having a dialogue directly with people in organizations”. But during this past week, a dialogue between Berdahl and UBC has turned into a situation that has gotten a lot of attention.

I want to look at this situation not only because of how badly UBC is handling it, but also because it illustrates how addressing an organization’s diversity issues in an meaningful way requires much more than just public statements.

Here is the background to the situation. (more…)