Welcome to Dave’s Free Speech Corner
This site contains many words concerning free speech in higher education in general and my situation in particular. Words are best understood when they are put into context. The purpose of these brief introductory videos is to provide a context for viewing and understanding the other materials I’ve posted on this website.
This presentation reflected the results of a survey study conducted at Berea College in the spring semester of 2018. It was presented at the Kentucky Academy of Science annual meeting in November 2020. The results showed that there were inconsistencies (i.e., dissonance) among respondents’ beliefs and between their explicit beliefs and actions. Surprisingly, once a situation was perceived to be a hostile environment, subjects did not believe it should be protected by academic freedom. Thus, academic freedom was afforded only in cases when it was not needed (i.e., situations perceived not to be hostile, offensive, or potentially hurtful).
You can find the PowerPoint Presentation itself here, or watch the video version below.
Sir Kenneth Robinson’s perspective on Educational Reform (11:40) is a provocative animation which provides a general context for education and the learning process. I’ve used this video for over a decade to engage my classes in conversations about learning and how we might preserve the zest provided by individuality within the constraints imposed by a traditional college course structure. One conclusion upon which we agree is that individual exploration, consistent communal preparation, and engaging conversation are more potent forms of learning than traditional lecture and high stakes testing. Students’ critiques of my course confirm the value of this alternative approach to education.
Dan Dennett’s Dangerous Memes (15:23) is a classic TED talk. I’ve used it in many of my courses including First-Year Composition, Cognitive Psychology, & Senior Research. Dennett provides a clear and succinct explanation of Richard Dawkin’s “memes” and goes on to explain the necessity of studying the ideas contained in memes scientifically. His insistence that science be used to examine and understand memetic dynamics provided the conceptual foundation for my seeking to collect information about attitudes and opinions about hostile environments and academic freedom in the survey that led to my dismissal from Berea College.
Pink Floyd’s classic VH1 “Another Brick in the Wall” (1982) is a “surreal musical drama.” It is so old that many students today are completely unfamiliar with it. At one level, it can be interpreted as a protest against the crushing effects of external authority’s oppression of education and learning. The video can also be seen as a reminder of the authoritarian within each of us that willingly sacrifices the joy of learning on the alter of conformity and authority. Everyone can use a little chaos now and then; lighten up & enjoy…