Autonomy of the university and academic community – responsibility and ethos
10th May 2017, Warsaw University of Technology, Little Hall
The university autonomy is for the academic community an indispensable factor in academic freedom, enabling the university to fulfill its mission through its employees. The Magna Charta Universitatum was signed in 1988 on the occasion of the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna. In this document the university autonomy is mentioned as the very basic principle underlying the university activities. Also currently the European University Association (EUA) assigns university autonomy a great deal in its documents and debates. The last EUA conference in Bergen was devoted to various issues related to the university autonomy. We are aware that the problem of university autonomy cannot be separated from the responsibility of our academic community and the care of a high academic ethos. However, the problem of university autonomy and its scope is often questioned, mainly by non-academics. They ask various questions, such as:
- Is indeed academic freedom, guaranteed by the university autonomy, a necessary condition for creativity or is it only an unreasonable privilege?
- Is the autonomy of academic institutions merely a sign of conservatism of the academic community?
Conference participants were able to address any questions to the above problems.
The lectures were delivered by Professor Jerzy Bralczyk (Warsaw University), Professor Andrzej Szostek (The John Paul Catholic University of Lublin), Professor Piotr Sztompka (Jagiellonian University), Professor Andrzej Kraśniewski (Warsaw University of Technology) and Professor Zbigniew Marciniak (Warsaw University).
During the conference, there was a discussion panel whose participants considered the following questions: Can autonomy, environmental social responsibility and academic ethos gain specific relevance in academically differentiated professions? The discussion was led by Professor Jerzy Woźnicki, President of Foundation of Polish Rectors and Chairman of the Main Board of Science and Higher Education. Participants of the panel were Professors: Ewa Chmielecka (Warsaw School of Economics), Marek Krawczyk (Medical University of Warsaw), Roman Morawski (Warsaw University of Technology).