How does academic freedom change society for good? | Ryan Stowers

How does academic freedom change society for good? | Ryan Stowers


The concerns that we have regarding academic
freedom is first of all I think it’s underappreciated and maybe taken for granted how unique it
is, and how absolutely critical it is. Universities historically have been places
where people have the freedom to pursue courses of study that maybe weren’t as popular at
the time or maybe controversial. And to prevent academics from being able to
do that is dangerous. It’s dangerous for the future of our culture,
of society. You think about all the ideas that have come
out of universities over the centuries. It’s really been a driver of innovation
and progress. And it was because people were in a position
to pursue those things that they felt they wanted to pursue without any outside or inside
infringement or prevention. And that is critical and I do think we take
it for granted. The research that scholars are producing can
have an incredible impact on culture and society and has really been a driver of innovation
and progress for decades and decades. We at the Charles Koch Foundation are supporting
numerous scholars who are doing this kind of impactful research and I’ve come up with
just a couple of examples. One that stands out is Carrie Petus-Davis
at Florida State University. She’s so focused on aspects of the criminal
justice system and specifically on the problem of recidivism. There are 13 million people in the United
States that are constantly being released from prison and then they end up back in prison. This is a huge problem and a huge barrier
preventing people from improving their lives. Carrie’s also frustrated that on average
a lot of the clinical research in this area takes on average 17 years to actually be implemented
to drive change. And so what she’s doing with 75 additional
researchers she’s focused on ten states with the goal of making sure that the research
they do and the changes that that research could drive are implemented in real time. And so this is kind of a paradigm shift. Again, none of this would be possible – Carrie’s
work wouldn’t be possible if she wasn’t able to be creative, to innovate within a
researcher’s context and to come up with ways in which she can help solve this huge
problem in society, recidivism

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

11 thoughts on “How does academic freedom change society for good? | Ryan Stowers

  1. I feel like academic freedom is helpful for some but for others it can be harmful since motivation is a big portion of research and wanting to learn in general. But for me I do think for me it has been helpful but unfortunately people I know struggle and choose not to study at all or even learn anything.

  2. Why do these videos never call out the war on academic freedom right now? Specifically the fact that it's one particular group of ideologues who have taken over academia and viciously oppose the free exchange of ideas… the woke left. They are overtly racist and sexist and they openly condemn free speech, one of the foundational values of Western civilization.

    They are the 21st century version of Christian conservatives from the 19th century: racist puritans who want to force everyone to speak and think like them.

  3. Academic freedom = 50% time to actually get educated about facts by experts, and 50% time to listen to fringe conspiracy theories from your fellow students at Rich Kid Day Care.

    Not all information is equal. Teach facts, not garbage.

  4. Short answer. Academic freedom allows the wildest imaginations to be checked and challenged. Likewise, it allows innovative ideas to be grounded in reality and make useful contributions to the world.

  5. Unfortunately academia has moments of illogical crazy too, universities need to be kept in check as well. It's a balance. I love modern ways – talking of "freedom" but no mention of the word 'responsibility'.

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