Advertisement

PROSPECTS

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 481–497 | Cite as

Faculty perceptions of academic freedom at a GCC university

  • Michael H. Romanowski
  • Ramzi Nasser
Open File

Abstract

Massive oil revenues are currently fueling a surge in the number of educational institutions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, presenting leadership at all levels with many unprecedented questions. In particular, the growth and reform of higher education challenges the delicate balance between academic freedom and Arab cultural values. This paper describes faculty perceptions of academic freedom at a major GCC national university. Faculty members’ views and perceptions regarding academic freedom are presented based on interviews, questionnaire responses, and the authors’ own thoughts. Findings indicate that faculty members have complex and often contradictory understandings of academic freedom and related responsibilities and often engage in self-censorship. The authors discuss these findings by engaging in self-reflection regarding their own perspectives and personal experiences.

Keywords

Academic freedom Higher education GCC states Faculty perceptions 

References

  1. Al Missned, M. (2006). Speech by her highness Sheikah Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, at the opening of the conference on Arab Women Past and Present: Participation and Democratization, Doha, Qatar (March 3–5, 2006). www.mozahbintnasser.qa/pdf/GeorgeTown%20Speech.pdf.
  2. Al Shami, S. (2008, April). Towards a “knowledge-based economy” in Qatar: Can Syria follow suit? Forward Magazine. http://www.fw-magazine.com/content/towards-%E2%80%9Cknowledge-based-economy%E2%80%9D-qatar-can-syria-follow-suit.
  3. Altbach, P. G. (2007). Academic freedom in a global context: 21st century challenges. The NEA 2007 Almanac of High Education. http://firgoa.usc.es/drupal/files/Acad_Freedom_NEA_2007.pdf.
  4. American Association of University Professors [AAUP] (2006). 1940 statement of principles for academic freedom and tenure. http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/policydocs/contents/1940statement.htm.
  5. Arab Human Development Report (2003). Knowledge production in Arab countries. http://www.arab-hdr.org/contents/2003/ch3-e.pdf.
  6. Banks, J. A. (1998). The lives and values of researchers: Implications for educating citizens in a multicultural society. Educational Researcher, 27(7), 4–17.Google Scholar
  7. Barsky, A., & Wood, L. (2005). Conflict avoidance in a university context. Higher Education Research and Development, 24(3), 249–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beatty, K., Berrell, M., Martin, P., & Scanlan, T. (2002). Facilitating tertiary educational change in the Middle East: From defining cultures to a culture of quality. http://www.inqaahe.org/admin/files/assets/subsites/1/documenten/1241773347_15-beatty-facilitating-tertiary-educational-change-in-the-middle-east-from-defining-cultures-to-a-culture-of-quality.pdf.
  9. Carifio, J. (1976). Assigning students to career education programs by preference: Scaling preference data for program assignments. Career Education Quarterly, 1(1), 7–26.Google Scholar
  10. Carifio, J. (1978). Measuring vocational preferences: Ranking versus categorical rating procedures. Career Education Quarterly, 3(1), 34–66.Google Scholar
  11. Carifio, J., & Perla, R. (2007). Ten common misunderstandings, misconceptions, persistent myths and urban legends about Likert scales and Likert response formats and their antidotes. Journal of Social Sciences, 3(3), 106–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Finkin, M. W., & Post, R. C. (2009). For the common good: Principles of American academic freedom. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Giroux, H. A., & McLaren, P. (1996). Teacher education and the politics of engagement: The case for democratic schooling. In P. Leistyna, A. Woodrum, & S. A. Sherblom (Eds.), Breaking free: The transformative power of critical pedagogy (pp. 301–331). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Review.Google Scholar
  15. Herrera, L. (2007). Higher education in the Arab world. In J. J. F. Forest & P. G. Altbach (Eds.), International handbook of higher education (pp. 409–421). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Huff, T. E. (2005). Freedom of expression in the Muslim world. Society, 42(4), 62–69 (May/June).Google Scholar
  17. Human Rights Watch (2005). Reading between the “red lines”: The repression of academic freedom in Egyptian universities. http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2005/06/08/reading-between-red-lines-repression-academic-freedom-egyptian-universities.
  18. Jost, J. T., & Hunyady, O. (2002). The psychology of system justification and the palliative function of ideology. European Review of Social Psychology, 13, 111–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Karran, T. (2009). Academic freedom: In justification of a universal ideal. Studies in Higher Education, 34(3), 263–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kelly-Woessner, A., Woessner, M., & Rothman, S. (2009). Perception of political disagreement and self-censorship in downward communication. Paper presented at the ISPP 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p305670_index.html.
  21. Kennedy, D. (1995). Another century’s end, another revolution for higher education. Change, 27(3), 8–15.Google Scholar
  22. Khelfaoui, H. (2010). Higher education and differentiation based on knowledge. In A. F. Mazawi & R. G. Sultana (Eds.), World yearbook of education 2010, education and the Arab World: Political projects, struggles and geometries of power. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Kraince, R. (2008). Academic freedom in Muslim societies. International Higher Education, 51, 5–6.Google Scholar
  24. Krieger, Z. (2008). An academic building boom transforms the Persian Gulf. Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(29), A26.Google Scholar
  25. Mruck, K. (2000). Qualitative research networking: FQS as an example. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1(3), Art. 34. http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1051.
  26. Nadig, M. (2004). Transculturality in process: Theoretical and methodological aspects drawn from cultural studies and psychoanalysis. In H. J. Sandkühler & H.-B. Lim (Eds.), Transculturality, epistemology, ethics, and politics (pp. 9–21). Frankfurt am Main: Lang.Google Scholar
  27. Romani, V. (2009). The politics of higher education in the Middle East: Problems and prospects (Middle Eastern brief No. 36). Waltham, MA: Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University.Google Scholar
  28. Taha-Thomure, H. (2003). Academic freedom in Arab universities. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  29. Uddin, A. T. (2009). A motor of change for Saudi Arabia. http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/b/3473.
  30. UNESCO (1997). Recommendation concerning the status of higher education teaching personnel. http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13144&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html.
  31. Williams, R. L. (2006). Academic freedom in higher education within a conservative sociopolitical culture. Innovative Higher Education, 31(1), 5–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© UNESCO IBE 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationQatar UniversityDohaQatar
  2. 2.Center for Educational Development and ResearchQatar UniversityDohaQatar

Personalised recommendations