University of North Florida
Board of Trustees

  • Workshop
January 7, 2014
Herbert Center at ~8:30 a.m.

Members Present

Bruce Taylor, Hugh Greene, Carlo Fassi, Fred Franklin, Joy Korman, Rad Lovett, Oscar Munoz, Joannie Newton, Lynn Pappas, Myron Pincomb, Gordon Rakita, Lanny Russell, Sharon Wamble-King

Members Absent


Item 1 Call to Order

Chair Taylor called the workshop to order at 8:42 a.m.

Item 2 Approval of Minutes (March 19, 2013 and October 15, 2013)

Chair Taylor asked for approval of the minutes from March 19 and October 15, 2013. A MOTION was offered and seconded. The minutes were approved as presented.

Item 3 Academic Freedom

Chair Taylor asked Provost Traynham to introduce this conversation.

Provost Traynham introduced Dr. David Courtwright as a qualified colleague to speak about academic freedom. Provost Traynham remarked that Dr. Courtwright’s teaching and research had been recognized by the John A. Delaney Presidential Professorship, the UNF Distinguished Professor Award and many other notable awards.

Dr. Courtwright began the discussion by speaking about pedagogical effectiveness. He spoke about how provocative but reasonable conversation might put some people out of their comfort zone, noting that a good professor would also be a good administrator. Dr. Courtwright compared non-tenured to tenured faculty, clarifying that a tenured professor would have the ability to take more chances.

Comments were provided about political overtones and the suppression of those with different views; thus, eliminating the ability of students to engage in different sides of a situation. Dr. Courtwright clarified that all institutions were skewed liberal but, as long as faculty were aware of biases and made efforts to entertain contrary views, there should not be a problem. Trustees discussed the academic freedom policy, noting that students had rights within the policy not to be bullied based on biases.

Trustees discussed how tenure provided academic freedom. Dr. Courtwright clarified that tenured faculty had liberty to take more risks. Non-tenured faculty would be held to material taken from established credentials.

Trustees discussed the role of the Board as related to academic freedom. It was noted that the Board should establish parameters and guard against limiting academic freedom.

Chair Taylor stated that this had been a good discussion and should be revisited yearly. He clarified that the Board should not set the tone and tenure of academic freedom but that, with academic freedom came academic responsibility.

Chair Taylor adjourned the workshop at 9:15 a.m.