Debating Academic Freedom in India

Date: November 17, 2016 (Thursday)

Time: 16:30 – 18:00

Venue: T7, Meng Wah Complex, HKU

Speaker: Professor William G. Tierney

Chair: Professor Kai-ming Cheng

The presentation considers how academic freedom gets defined in the world’s largest democracy – India.  Professor Tierney puts forward what academic freedom is not, and then argue how academic freedom gets defined within the Indian context of the 21st century.  Currently, the role of universities in Indian society, in general, and the ability of academic staff (faculty) to speak out on an array of issues, in particular, has become a central concern within India.  Tierney’s purpose is neither to side with one or another interpretation of academic freedom but instead to delineate a way to think about academic freedom such that individuals might engage in scholarly debate that neither threatens one’s physical safety nor shuts down conversation.


Seminar: Academic Corruption:   Culture and Trust in Indian Higher Education

Date: November, 12, 2016

Time: 12:45-14:00

Speaker: Professor William G. Tierney

Chair: Professor Gerard Postiglione

Abstract:  The presentation investigates academic corruption in India.  The presentation is based on a modified case study that informs understanding of how corruption functions.  The presenter’s intent is neither to propose legislative efforts to stop such activities nor to suggest that the forms of corruption discussed is unique to India.  The presentation employs a theory based on the idea of organizational culture to come to terms with what systemic corruption is and how those within the academy might best confront it.  Professor Tierney’s goal is to offer a working definition of corruption and to suggest that it destroys the very core of the university – honest academic inquiry and excellence in teaching and research.