ACADEMIC FREEDOM POLICY
Design Institute of San Diego is committed to academic freedom for all members of its academic community: faculty, students, and staff. Academic freedom is one of the underlining principles (core values) of the institution’s mission, scholastic activities, and service to the larger academic community and the public. Design Institute of San Diego welcomes intellectual pluralism and encourages the free exchange of ideas for all members of its academic community.
Design Institute of San Diego recognizes that faculty, working within a system of shared governance, are academically and experientially prepared and competent to both teach the courses for which they have been contracted and professionally evaluate their colleagues' teaching and scholarship.
The professional integrity of faculty is respected by the college and, therefore, the college grants reasonable latitude in the choice of course material and teaching methods so long as the specific learning outcomes specified for each course, vis a vis CIDA and WSCUC standards, are met.
Faculty, students, and staff are allowed latitude with respect to their scholastic activities, discussions, and the positions they take, however, Design Institute of San Diego also endorses the following portion of the American Council on Education’s Statement on Academic Rights and Responsibilities: "The validity of academic ideas, theories, arguments and views should be measured against the intellectual standards of relevant academic and professional disciplines. Application of these intellectual standards does not mean that all ideas have equal merit. The responsibility to judge the merit of competing academic ideas rests with colleges and universities and is determined by reference to the standards of the academic profession."
Under this policy, any member of the community can articulate or even advocate concepts or positions which may be controversial in nature without fear of reprisal so long as such articulation or advocacy does not result in a violation of the rights to a learning environment free of interference in the learning process and free from intimidation, harassment, mockery, or insult.
Academic freedom protects a faculty’s authority to make decisions regarding grades, so long as these decisions are based on considerations that are academically relevant to the subject matter and reflect a true merit. No member of Design Institute’s academic community should be disadvantaged or evaluated on the basis of their political, religious, or philosophical beliefs or opinions.
Design Institute shall not take adverse action based on a member’s exercise of academic freedom consistent with this policy. Any infringement of academic freedom will be immediately addressed and corrected.
Academic freedom guarantees that serious charges against a faculty member will be heard before a committee of his or her peers. It provides faculty members the right to due process, including the assumption that the burden of proof lies with those who brought the charges, and that faculty have the right to present counter-evidence, confront their accusers, and be assisted by an attorney in serious cases if they choose.
Policies designed to address rights, grievances and appeals are in place for all members of the academic community. These policies are published in the Catalog and on the website for students, the Faculty Handbook and Faculty Hiring package for faculty, and in the Employee Policies for staff. These policies may be accessed by any member of the academic community who feels they have suffered a violation of academic freedom.