Track

Non-Research Proposal / About SoTL

Proposal Abstract

Risk-taking teaching is memorable and the research shows students retain content deeply when their learning connects to emotional intensity. But how far do academic freedom and the First Amendment extend to faculty teaching techniques? In this session, the presenter will synopsize the body of law on the prerogative of faculty over their pedagogical devices – called the germaneness standard. Attendees will analyze actual examples and evaluate if the controversial teaching techniques are protected by the confluence of academic freedom and the First Amendment. Consequently, attendees will be able, with confidence, to continue engaging their students to achieve the best learning outcomes.

Proposal Description

Provocative statements might be an occasional selection in an impactful teacher’s repertoire. Risk-taking teaching is memorable and the research shows students understand and retain more deeply when their learning process connects to emotional intensity. But what if a student takes offense at what a professor says in her or his traditional or online course? Even ostensibly innocuous teaching techniques might upset someone. If and when that happens, is the professor on sure footing or shaky ground? How far does academic freedom extend to what faculty do in their teaching techniques? And to what extent does the First Amendment’s freedom of speech protection apply?

In this session, the presenter will harmonize the dilemma facing faculty in an ever-increasing fractious and litigious teaching environment. The presenter will synopsize the new and relatively consistent body of law on the prerogative of faculty over their pedagogical devices – called the germaneness standard. Attendees will recognize the boundaries determining where their unique teaching techniques are within the scope of germaneness, as impacted by academic freedom and the First Amendment. Attendees will also learn how on-campus, anti-harassment codes affect classroom speech, and will be given a summary of the AAUP’s 2015 report on the topic, wherein the drafters argue, inter alia, for a clearer demarcation between speech that is harassing and that which simply offends or upsets. Attendees will be provided opportunity to analyze actual examples from numerous universities and evaluate if the controversial in-class speech or teaching technique would be protected by the confluence of academic freedom and the First Amendment. Consequently, attendees will be able to apply the legal doctrines to their teaching so they can, with confidence, continue engaging their students to achieve the best learning outcomes.

Session Format

Presentation Session

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

 
Mar 29th, 4:00 PM Mar 29th, 5:00 PM

The First Amendment and Provocative Teaching: Lessons from the Evidence

Risk-taking teaching is memorable and the research shows students retain content deeply when their learning connects to emotional intensity. But how far do academic freedom and the First Amendment extend to faculty teaching techniques? In this session, the presenter will synopsize the body of law on the prerogative of faculty over their pedagogical devices – called the germaneness standard. Attendees will analyze actual examples and evaluate if the controversial teaching techniques are protected by the confluence of academic freedom and the First Amendment. Consequently, attendees will be able, with confidence, to continue engaging their students to achieve the best learning outcomes.