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Academic Freedom and Contractually Limited Appointments

CAUT Policy Statement

Every member of the academic staff, regular and contract academic staff, has the right to academic freedom as defined in the CAUT policy on Academic Freedom. All academic staff employed by post-secondary institutions across Canada require academic freedom to meet fully their professional responsibilities, regardless of the nature of the contractual arrangements they may have with their institution.

The limitations of a contract for academic work, including teaching, research, and service, do not justify any limitation, dilution, or diminishment of the academic freedom of the member of the academic staff contracted to do this work.

Language explicitly recognizing academic freedom as essential to the effective performance of academic work should be used wherever possible in contracts governing the performance of this work. The use of such language discourages (where it cannot prohibit) misunderstanding and exploitation of academic labour. Such language offers a common ground on which to address difficulties that may arise during the fulfillment of a contract for academic work.

The academic freedom of academic staff on contractually limited appointments should not be pre-empted by job advertisements that explicitly exclude research, scholarly work or creative activities from the assigned duties and expectations, or that attempt to define teaching in reductive or inappropriately prescriptive ways.

Contractually limited appointments may involve remuneration or not; they may confer or recognize temporary, adjunct, visiting, or volunteer status; they may contribute to professional certification, and/or be sustained by a cost-recovery or for-profit arrangement; but in so far as they involve academic work they commit the employer to recognizing and respecting the academic freedom of those who contract to do such work.

Approved by the CAUT Council, April 2015.