4. Eroding Academic Freedom through the Assessment of Academic Practice
Journal: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION Volume 2 Issue 2 Year 2020 pp. 67 - 87
The article addresses the practice of program and learning outcomes assessment adopted by many American universities. Arguing that the justification of administrative intervention into faculty’s teaching is based upon the separation of the content of a course or program from the form of that material, the article demonstrates that the form/content distinction is a false opposition. Further, the article demonstrates that administrative efforts to assess learning outcomes based on the idea that they will not affect the content follows an older and outmoded transmission theory of learning. To impose outcomes assessment upon faculty is to also impose the transmission theory of learning. This would constitute a threat to academic freedom. The article concludes with a call for faculty full participation into the assessment process including the design of assessments. Only when faculty are in the forefront of the process can academic freedom be preserved.