Faculty perceptions of academic freedom at a GCC university
Massive oil revenues are currently fueling a surge in the number of educational institutions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, presenting leadership at all levels with many unprecedented questions. In particular, the growth and reform of higher education challenges the delicate balance between academic freedom and Arab cultural values. This paper describes faculty perceptions of academic freedom at a major GCC national university. Faculty members’ views and perceptions regarding academic freedom are presented based on interviews, questionnaire responses, and the authors’ own thoughts. Findings indicate that faculty members have complex and often contradictory understandings of academic freedom and related responsibilities and often engage in self censorship. The authors discuss these findings by engaging in self-reflection regarding their own perspectives and personal experiences.
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