MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) - A policy statement recently approved by Indiana’s
higher education commission will likely be clarified, after it sparked
concerns that it would restrict academic freedom at the state’s regional
college campuses, the education commissioner said.
Commissioner Teresa Lubbers told The Times of Munster the Indiana Commission
for Higher Education has “no interest or legal authority to dictate policy
to regional campuses.”
The commission’s policy, which was approved in October, states that,
“regional campuses should limit research to scholarly activity related to
faculty teaching responsibilities and research related to local and regional
Lubbers conceded that the policy’s language is confusing and likely will be
changed by the commission, which coordinates and reviews programs and
budgets from the state’s public colleges and universities. The panel’s 14
members are appointed by the governor.
The policy’s wording has prompted complaints from regional campuses around
the state. Senate leaders at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne even adopted a
resolution opposing the new policy, which they contend will limit free and
Their resolution states, in part, that “faculty at the Regional Campuses are
protected by academic freedom and may pursue any variety of scholarly
activities and research.”
John Applegate, Indiana University’s executive vice president for university
academic affairs, said the commission’s policy statement contained some
language he does not think fully reflects the body’s longstanding position
on faculty research activities.
“I’m very glad that Commissioner Lubbers has indicated that she understands
the issues and intends to seek modification of the policy accordingly,”
Applegate said, adding that he’s confident the commission “shares IU’s view
that academic freedom for all faculty members is a fundamental value that
should be embraced.”
Karen Schmid, Purdue University North Central vice chancellor for academic
affairs, also welcomed the news that the commission will likely revise the
policy statement. She said that at her campus “research is highly valued,
and faculty engage in many types of research.”
Lubbers wrote in a recent newspaper editorial that the commission stands
behind “our institutions’ right” to academic freedom.
“Beyond the funding aspect, the state has no role or authority in
determining the type of research activities taking place at Indiana
colleges,” she wrote.