The Faculty endorse and adopt the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with 1970 Interpretive Comments issued by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the Statement on Professional Ethics adopted by the AAUP in 1966 and revised in 1987 and 2009.
Freedom in the pursuit and expression of knowledge is fundamental to the life of the institution. Academic freedom creates an environment in which faculty members may pursue their scholarly research, creative activities, publication, and teaching and related activities. It is essential to the university’s fulfillment of its mission to discover, produce and communicate knowledge to students, to colleagues, and to the community at large. This mission depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.
Georgia Tech faculty members are entitled to and guaranteed the protections of academic freedom in these endeavors, regardless of the campuses or branches of the Institute with which they are affiliated, inclusive of faculty participating in research, teaching, and related activities abroad. In safeguarding the rights to academic freedom for themselves and for others in the community, faculty also accept their share of responsibilities for the governance of the institution, for fulfilling their duties with intellectual honesty, and for protecting the rights of others in the community to learn, conduct research, and carry out the essential functions of the Institute free from interference or obstruction. Faculty further accept the responsibility to observe the stated policies of the Faculty Handbook. While academic freedom essentially coexists with established legal frameworks, on rare occasion the two may be in conflict.
Academic freedom in research and publication
Faculty are entitled to the full freedom to engage in their research or creative activities and to disseminate their work in scholarly and public venues, whether print, electronic, of by other means. Research should be conducted in accordance with Institute policies and procedures, and faculty are also expected to fulfill their other academic duties.
Academic freedom and instruction
Faculty are entitled to the freedom to discuss their subject in the classroom or other academic and related settings. As teachers, faculty encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their disciplines. Professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors.
Academic freedom as an individual
When faculty speak or write as individuals, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars, creative practitioners, and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times endeavor to be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for others, and should avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for the Institute.
Academic freedom and its relationship to shared governance
The Faculty adheres to the principle that “sound governance practice and the exercise of academic freedom are closely connected,” as expressed in the AAUP statement On the Relationship of Faculty Governance to Academic Freedom (1994). The statement further defines the close relationship of these distinct concepts as follows: “A sound system of institutional governance is a necessary condition for the protection of faculty rights and thereby for the most productive exercise of essential faculty freedoms. Correspondingly, the protection of the academic freedom of faculty members in addressing issues of institutional governance is a prerequisite for the practice of governance unhampered by fear of retribution.” Faculty maintain the right to criticize and seek revision of Institute policies.
Academic freedom and disciplinary action
Disciplinary action will not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom. If a faculty member believes a disciplinary action, including denial or delay of tenure or promotion, or termination of contract, violates their right to academic freedom, the faculty member may appeal, as outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
Academic rights and responsibilities
The Georgia Institute of Technology has embraced the ideas presented in the American Council on Education "Statement on Academic Rights and Responsibilities" as published on 23 June 2005.
In accordance with other sections of the Faculty Handbook, academic decisions impacting students and faculty (including grades, promotion, and performance evaluations) shall be consistent with the mission of Georgia Institute of Technology and based on considerations that are intellectually relevant to the subject matter under consideration. At no time shall students or faculty be disadvantaged or evaluated on the basis of their political opinions.
Any grievance based on an alleged incident shall follow the appropriate procedure outlined elsewhere in the Faculty Handbook.