National Conference on Academic Freedom Set

March 23, 2000

Baylor is the site for "Exploring Boundaries: Academic Freedom at Religiously Affiliated Colleges and Universities" March 31-April 2, a national conference sponsored jointly by Baylor, the American Association of University Professors(AAUP), the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature.

"There is a widespread perception that Baylor is at the forefront of institutions that take academics and faith seriously," said Dr. Lynn Tatum, lecturer in religion, president of the Texas conference of the AAUP and organizer of the conference. "That the nation's premier, cross-disciplinary faculty organization (AAUP) wanted to hold a national conference at Baylor is a recognition of our status in the academy."

Keynote speakers for the conference include Dr. Nicolas Wolterstorff, The Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale University, who will speak at 7 p.m. March 31 on "Ivory Tower or Holy Mountain: Academic Freedom and Faith." Mary Burgan, AAUP general secretary, will speak at noon April 1 on "Faithful and Free: A Call for Academic Freedom." Both presentations will be inRoom 501 of the Cashion Academic Center.

An interdenominational worship service sponsored by Baylor will feature Dr. William J. Abraham, The Alonzo I. McDonald Visiting Professor in Evangelical Theological Studies at Harvard University, at 8:30 a.m. April 2 in the Meditation Foyer of the Armstrong Browning Library. He will speak on "The Shock of Divine Revelation."

"I expect the conference to be a lively exchange of ideas," Dr. Tatum said. "The speakers range from 'faith-takes-precedence' advocates to 'academic-freedom absolutists.' We wanted to gather the nation's most articulate, thoughtful and well-informed thinkers on the topic."

The conference will feature more than three dozen scholars from across the nation presenting topics such as the legal status of academic freedom, the polity of academic freedom, the implications of Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the proper role of external constituencies.

Participants will begin the conference with a tour of the site of the former Branch Davidian compound led by Dr. William Pitts, professor of religion, and Robert Darden, assistant professor of English. The conference will conclude Sunday with a luncheon and tour of the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village.

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