Promoting Higher Education Values

Promoting Higher Education Values in a Difficult Environment

As a network dedicated to the protection and promotion of academic freedom, it has been disturbing for Scholars at Risk (SAR) to witness the breakdown in civil discourse on many US campuses in recent weeks. Though precipitated by the violence of Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th and of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in response, the current tensions come after years of troubling incidents, including violence, threats, open expressions of bigotry, and executive and legislative actions that undermine institutional autonomy and academic freedom.

In these incidents on US campuses, we see troubling reflections of the extreme attacks that SAR has been responding to for nearly 25 years. We feel compelled therefore to share lessons from that experience. We hope these might be helpful to you and your campus in navigating this moment, and in building cultures and practices which strengthen your institution for the long term.

Join SAR for a webinar on higher education values | December 14th, 2023

On Thursday, December 14th at 12:00 PM PT/3 PM ET, the Scholars at Risk Network and the SAR United States Section will host a meeting with SAR Executive Director Rob Quinn, for Americas network members where we can come together to air our concerns, learn from one another, and discuss how our higher education values can help us navigate the highly charged environments in which we find ourselves.

Register for the webinar


Read the discussion guide: “Promoting Higher Education Values”

SAR’s discussion guide “Promoting Higher Education Values” is aimed at assisting higher education institutions leaders, scholars, staff, and students. While the guide does not presume to offer specific answers or responses to any particular incident, it suggests a framework for analyzing situations and for constructive dialogue about values and values-related incidents. It also invites cooperation in developing a larger menu of possible actions aimed both at proactively developing pro-values cultures and norms of practice and at fostering informed, constructive responses to incidents when they arise.

A companion publication, Promoting Higher Education Values: Workshop Supplement, includes sample exercises and questions for discussion, for use by individuals or in guided seminars, workshops, and other public and private settings.