Academic Freedom research essay contest for undergraduate and graduate students of the UO.

17 September 2014

United Academics of the University of Oregon announces the first annual UAUO Academic Freedom research essay contest for undergraduate and graduate students of the UO.

As the AAUP’s core policy statement argues, “institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. It carries with it duties correlative with rights.” (1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure).

The University of Oregon Senate has passed, and the UO President has signed, a strong and capacious Academic Freedom Policy that affords this fundamental freedom to all campus constituencies. Academic freedom, absolutely central to our educational and research mission, is a value we tend to assume rather than examine, and depend on rather than protect. It draws our attention mostly when it is overridden or abused. UAUO inaugurates this essay prize to expand consideration of academic freedom among UO student populations.

Essay parameters:

1500 words (exclusive of references);

one graduate and one undergraduate prize of $700 each.

Possible topics could include:

  • academic freedom: histories, individual cases, or court decisions;
  • the role of public universities in democracy;
  • the role of unions in academic freedom;
  • prominent figures in academic freedom debates, e.g., John Dewey;
  • limit-case scenarios in academic freedom: the debate around “civility;”
  • historical, legal, philosophical perspectives on academic freedom;
  • landmarks in the history of academic freedom in the U.S. and internationally

The list is not exhaustive, and faculty teaching courses in which academic freedom is thematized can help students craft topics appropriate to the contest.

Deadline: Dec. 14, 2014, 5 p.m.

Electronic submission to

Subcommittee of UA volunteers will evaluate the essays

Awards will be announced winter term 2015

Posted in Academic Freedom.