Accreditors Are Urged to Help Safeguard Academic Freedom Abroad

Scholars at Risk is best known for its work to help scholars persecuted in their home countries find temporary academic positions abroad. So Robert Quinn, the advocacy group’s director, would seem an unlikely speaker at a meeting of accreditors.

Yet Mr. Quinn’s presence on Wednesday at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s Summer Workshop is evidence of how, as more colleges venture abroad, they must wrestle with the challenges of extending academic freedom and other American higher-education values overseas. Of late, several cases—including Yale University’s new joint liberal-arts college in Singapore and an incident involving Wellesley College and a partner university in China—have raised academic-freedom concerns.

Mr. Quinn noted upfront that he does not have expertise in accreditation, but he suggested that accreditors could play a role in such discussions. For example, accreditation standards could address whether colleges should have statements of core academic principles as part of all international agreements, he said.

For his part, Mr. Quinn has proposed developing a model code of standards that universities could use in all types of international agreements, including overseas branch campuses, joint-degree programs, and even modest faculty and student exchanges. <Read more.>

Via Karin Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education.