Olga Hunler

Olga Hunler

Dr. Olga S. Hünler is an Academy in Exile fellow in Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Location Germany


  • Thank you so much for joining us to think and discuss academic freedom and the core values of higher education. Please keep asking your dangerous questions and encourage change in your own institutions!

  • Hi everybody, thank you so much for enrolling the "Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom matters?" MOOC. I am very excited to learn with you and from you throughout this course. Please feel free to join the discussions and leave your comments after each section. And please feel free to ask your questions (dangerous or not).

  • Dear All,
    Thank you so much for completing the course. It is terrific that you joined us to learn and discuss more on academic freedom and the values of higher education. Please share your suggestions for improving this course or share your ideas on how to promote academic freedom in your own society, institution, and in your partnerships.
    If you would like...

  • I am glad you enjoyed the course but it is unfortunate (for me) to hear the way your views altered after the course :)

  • Hi everybody, thank you so much for enrolling the "Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom matters?" mooc. I am very excited to learn with you and from you throughout this course. Please feel free to join the discussions and leave your comments after each section. And please feel free to ask your questions (dangerous or not).

  • Dear Ann, thank you so much for bringing this "power" issue inside academia into participants' attention. Unfortunately, this type of power asymmetries is not uncommon, and we (as members of HE) should learn/develop better strategies to deal with them properly.

  • Thank you for joining us, sharing your comments, participating in discussions. We hope that this course will help you to promote and defend academic freedom and other core values in your own society, institution and in your partnerships.

  • Hi Ann, thank you so much for sharing this. Your research seems very intriguing. I hope we will find other opportunities to include different scenarios with different actors or settings in the future.

  • Hi everybody! Welcome to Dangerous Questions. I am Olga, a postdoc researcher and one of the lead educators of this MOOC. Please feel free to communicate your thoughts, raise your questions, engage in discussions through the weeks. Also please share the course with your colleagues/students/friends to join us. I am looking forward to learning with you and from...

  • Dear @catrionamanby maybe the workshop manual prepared by SAR (https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/resources/promoting-higher-education-values-a-guide-for-discussion/ ) might be helpful. It is more detailed and provides examples, discussion topics, etc.

  • I am asking genuinely, who is this "you" that you are referring in this post? Me as a person, course creators, academics, some category of left-liberal-pluralist academics in your mind...? I really couldn't understand whom you are addressing?

  • Of course, certain perspectives might prioritize certain values over others. And sometimes this prioritization could be related to their political perspective. For example, in certain societies access to education is a privilege which is only granted to certain classes or ethnicities. For some others, the state should strictly control the research and...

  • Dear @GrantA thank you so much for the link, I was unaware of this initiative. I will check the web page soon. I agree with you in a sense that academics sometimes might be biased about certain topics and their political, religious, social beliefs/positions might affect their objectivity. But as far as I observe, those biases or inclinations are not always...

  • Dear @AngelaLiberatore, I strongly believe that highlighting the relationship between academic freedom and democratic/pluralist societies is crucial. Thanks for this comment.

  • Dear @StephanNaro As we have tried to explain in the line drawing section it is not always easy to separate academic freedom from other types of freedoms. However, socially engaged definitions of academic freedom also cover the expressions of concerns and criticisms of academics on socially charged matters as well. So, of course, depending on the content and...

  • Dear @SueKinn, there is a short but informative article here about Wakefield's research:
    Academic freedom does not cover ethically questionable or scientifically unsound research. Or it cannot be used as an excuse or shelter for fraud or unethical research.

  • Hi Clive, by "bitchy" did you mean aggressive or judgemental or something else?

  • Hi @BronwynDee want to tell us a little bit about who are those ninkompoops? :)

  • Hi Eva, we would discuss proactive measures during the third week. I hope that would answer your concerns.

  • Hi @StephanNaro, UNESCO (1997) definition states that academic freedom is "the right, without constriction by prescribed doctrine, to freedom of teaching and discussion, freedom in carrying out research and disseminating and publishing the results thereof, freedom to express freely their opinion about the institution or system in which they work, freedom...

  • Hi everyone, I'm Olga. I am a post-doc at Bremen University, and I am one o the educators of the course. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts about the course and reading your comments on the topics of discussions

  • Thank you so much for joining us @RashydBilalov

  • I agree that this distinction can be confusing sometimes. The boundaries are not always very clear. I think it could be helpful to see those two hats context dependent. In essence, both of them protect academic’s opinions or expression but sometimes one of the hats could be handier depending on the context. Depending on the context, such as disagreements with...

  • Definitely, academic freedom covers students' right to receive objective information from professors. It also includes students' right to do research, publish their results, communicate their research findings. Furthermore, AF includes students' freedom to write an assignment/homework without censorship.

  • I think it is important to use critical thinking and questioning perpetually. Professional/academic standards of any particular field are not unchangeable rules. They can change and transform with emergent research or discussion.

  • There are differences in terms of commitment to core academic values in different universities. Sometimes those differences become more significant in some countries. But there also similarities within many universities as well. So starting with the similarities in core values and discussing the differences within the process might be an option sometimes.

  • Thank you @SophieBergmann raising this issue. The knowledge production and dissemination in "non-dominant languages" generally escaping from our attention when we discuss the values of HE.

  • Dear @ErnestoMedina and all, thank you so much for joining us in this course. And please share your experiences with us about your practical applications. The course will be online for a while, so please share the link with colleagues if you got some benefits from the course.

  • @FadiAbouDib Even though this argument is becoming very popular I still have a hard time to understand why being politically correct assumed to be compromised academic freedom. Academics do not have to use insults, defamation or discrimination to think/speak/write critically on the subject matter. For example, using non-discriminatory, non-homophobic,...

  • Unfortunately, there is no prescription for the perfect practices, every contact creates a new dynamic. What is valuable however is to be able to integrate all possible stakeholders. By ritualizing values, all stakeholders develop a culture of values and all parties establish different ways of constructive communication and dialogue.

  • Dear @AlbertSchram, I am very sorry to hear what you have gone through. But I am also very happy that you are here in these MOOC and discussing the values of HE despite you had a very discouraging experience.

  • Hi @FadiAbouDib, I couldn't understand the comparison you made. Could you please elaborate on a little bit? Thanks

  • @FELIXUlombeKAPUTU I am very sorry for what you have gone through. And I am glad
    that you are here and raising your voice for academic values.

  • Hi @NoorYafaie it is a very important question. Of course, what we consider as a violation is mainly depend on how we define it. On the other hand, even though there are some gray areas in line dropping and minor disagreements while defining, many scholars who worked on AF are more or less on the same page. There are different attempts to develop measurement...

  • Dear @AllanRoberts and @JACochrane I do not think this way of communication is the most fruitful one. The purpose of this course is to be able to discuss academic freedom exhaustively as well as to raise some ideas to promote and protect it. Let's join the dıscussion with us.

  • Great anecdote! I really enjoyed it. What I was trying to say is that the scientists have academic/scientific/ethical boundaries and being aware of those boundaries help us defending our academic freedom. It does not mean (self)censorship or silencing.

  • @FELIXUlombeKAPUTU It is very possible. Under certain circumstances, such as timing, political climate, administrative differences, the topic of the problem etc. the same institutions might be reluctant to adopt "socially-engaged" view but under the different circumstances, they could react more comprehensively.

  • Hi @LodewijkJanNauta there is a critical perspective on the misuse of free speech and academic freedom here: https://www.acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1715 It could be a stimulating reading I assume.

  • @SusanS Hi Susan I think it is fair to say that academic freedom encompasses the production and dissemination of the intellectual/scientific productions of every member of the academic community including students. Being a member of an institution makes the definition easier but AF must be protected for the academics who purged from their institutions as well....

  • @LodewijkJanNauta ops, language barrier :(

  • @LodewijkJanNauta thanks for sharing the article. I am going to read it asap. But let me raise another point (or two) what about scientific fields such as anthropology, political science or philosophy, which talking about the "hard facts" are a little bit of a trouble or what about animal/human drug experiments, studies on traumatic human experiences,...

  • Thank you for sharing the links.