no safe change without values

‘no safe change without values’
The key roles of academic freedom and integrity
Amman 2014
Sijbolt Noorda
President Magna Charta Observatory
AECHE Amman 2014
what is magna charta?
• The Magna Charta Observatory of Fundamental
University Values and Rights is a non-profit
organisation based on the Magna Charta
declaration of 1988, founded by the University
of Bologna and the European University
Association (EUA)
• From its beginnings it wished to become a
worldwide program and project
AECHE Amman 2014
we are serving and representing a
community of signatories
• 29. Describe the mission and the vision of the University (official, as
reflected in the Statute or the Senate minutes)
• 30. Describe the institutional policy with respect to academic freedom.
What are your institutional standards and guidelines related to academic
• 31. Describe the institutional autonomy of your university vis-à-vis
national and founding authorities and the accountability measures that go
along with these autonomy types.
• 32. Does the implementation of academic freedom and of institutional
autonomy meet any difficulties in your university?
AECHE Amman 2014
subscribing to basic principles
‘ The university is an autonomous institution at the
heart of societies differently organised because
of geography and historical heritage; it produces,
examines, appraises and hands down culture by
research and teaching. To meet the needs of the
world around it, its research and teaching must be
morally and intellectually independent of all
political authority and economic power.’
[Magna Charta Universitatum]
AECHE Amman 2014
come and join the movement!
• it’s our ambition to be active and relevant
worldwide, in many diverse regions and in
various ways
• not as a hierarchy or a court of law, but rather
as a community of university people
• willing to dedicate their knowledge and
creativity to finding ways ahead
AECHE Amman 2014
two cases
1. academic independence and integrity in
terms of institutional statutes, strategies and
2. academic independence and integrity in
terms of academic skills and competences
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case #1
academic independence and integrity in terms of
institutional statutes, strategies and leadership
foundational qualities – not an elitist privilege
meant to enable teaching & learning and research, to
serve society – not an excuse for ivory towers or
authoritarian leadership styles
AECHE Amman 2014
it is a program, not a given
• for universities these qualities are crucial, so
a) they must be granted to them,
• Societies (governments; political, religious or
ethnic groups; businesses; private owners)
should realize that without these qualities
universities cannot be and deliver what they
should be and deliver
AECHE Amman 2014
it is a program, not a given
• for universities these qualities are crucial, so
b) they need good and regular in-house
• independence and integrity should be
practiced and protected at all levels
• faculty and students should realize freedom is
no excuse for ‘everything goes’
AECHE Amman 2014
Hosram Badrawi (Bologna 2007)
• ‘academic freedom is the intellectual and creative
foundation of the university’
• ‘faculty are expected to pursue truth and knowledge
and are conferred the right to research, teach and
discuss any topic without being subject to university or
system discipline or censorship. However, teaching
staff – as well as administrators – are expected to prize
accuracy, to exercise appropriate self control, to show
respect for the opinions of others, and thus ensure the
academic freedom of students and their rights of
access to the university’
AECHE Amman 2014
• ‘a college or a university is simply an institution of
higher learning’ (‘not a business or an industry,
not a political party or a social service, not a
religion nor a mosque’)
• this implies a clear set of responsibilities, partly
to the positive, partly to the negative (go for fair
analysis and unbiased inquiry, avoid conflicts of
interest and personal gain)
• these cannot be maintained solely on a private
moral base, but must have an institutional base
AECHE Amman 2014
case # 2
academic independence and integrity in terms of
academic skills and competences
these qualities or values are crucial in teaching and
a) because admission officers, teaching staff and
examiners should treat students fairly, and
b) because of the educational value of these
qualities: students should learn and acquire
AECHE Amman 2014
the value of academic skills
• in many societies there are signs that
graduates often lack the desired academic
qualities of graduates
• as a consequence of a narrowing reductionist
approach of HE?
• or as a corollary of mass enrolment in HE?
• or of new demands from society?
AECHE Amman 2014
sustainable competences
• we should seriously be asking whether the
competences of our graduates will be
sustainable during their careers
• and be in line with the needs of our (future)
AECHE Amman 2014
what is going on in society that (re)defines demand?
• growing complexities & social dynamics
• trust crisis & quest for integrity, transparency,
openness and accountability
• grand challenges requiring new ways of
multidisciplinary thinking
• globalization, culture blending & parochialism
• increasing competition & volatility
• et cetera
AECHE Amman 2014
what is going on in society that (re)defines demand?
• such trends are not only relevant to women and
men in a relatively limited number of leadership
• they affect many professions and responsibilities
at various levels
• and therefore should (re-)define ambitions and
goals in higher education
AECHE Amman 2014
the academic version of 21st century skills
• academic skills, in terms of powers of thinking
and argumentation, intellectual independence
& drive to inquire
• scientific integrity, in terms of working with
evidence, sources, methods & colleagues
• professional ethics, as part of socialization &
the ability to handle risks and complexities
• civic qualities, in terms of public interest &
world citizenship
AECHE Amman 2014
Magna Charta Universitatum
• in 1988 hundreds of European universities
signed the Magna Charta
• since then many more have done so
• convinced of the value of autonomy, academic
values and integrity for academia
• more than a conviction, a signature and a
statement is needed: maintenance and
regular updating
AECHE Amman 2014
Magna Charta Universitatum
• universities worldwide (should) engage in
critical self-analysis and strategic value
• the long time sustainability of academia is at
• in our Magna Charta community we discuss
these issues and share good practices in
regional and international meetings
• like this September in Uppsala, Sweden
AECHE Amman 2014
Magna Charta Universitatum
• I warmly invite you to join this meeting
• and hope to see many of you this September
in Uppsala, Sweden
• and find out that it makes sense to become
part of our community
AECHE Amman 2014
AECHE Amman 2014

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