Effective Practices for Academic Leaders
Legal Issues for Academic Leaders
Volume 3: Issue 2

Journal: 978 1 57922 207 9 / $20.00
Published: June 2008  

E-Publication (PDF): 978 1 57922 404 2 / $10.00
Published: May 2008  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
16 pp., 8 1/2" x 11"
Series: Effective Practices for Academic Leaders Archive
Executive Summary
Colleges and universities are subject to increasing litigation, legislation, and regulation on a myriad of issues. The law affects virtually every aspect of academic life. Thus, academic leaders must possess an adequate familiarity with the law to know when and where to go when legal issues or complaints arise. They must also understand the different sources of law to which they are subject (e.g., federal, state, local). For example, public and private institutions have many similarities and are treated the same under many statutes but are not always subject to the same legal parameters. Furthermore, academic leaders must be conscious of the ways in which an institution’s own promises, policies, and procedures can create expectations that may be legally binding and enforceable.
This briefing provides an overview of some of the most significant issues facing academic leaders today: academic freedom and free expression, faculty searches, promotion and tenure, discrimination, contracts, intellectual property, conflicts of interest and commitment, e-mail, student records, and managing the student-institutional relationship. The intent is not to provide legal advice but to raise awareness of key legal issues and how and when they may arise. The briefing concludes with general recommendations regarding how to work with institutional counsel, who can be a key partner in helping academic leaders avoid or manage legal risks and liability.

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