Faculty Civility and Academic Freedom: Protecting the Workplace while Preserving Academic Culture



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Civility among faculty can be a complicated and thorny issue when you consider the scope of free speech, academic freedom, and how social media blurs the lines between the personal and professional context. Get an in-depth examination of this increasingly important issue, including concrete steps academic leaders can take to improve civility on campus and address issues as they arise.

Facilitated by experts on civility and academic freedom, this online training will examine scenarios and concrete examples of managing incivility that will inform your own institutional policies and practices.

What You Will Get

  • A 90-minute recording you can use to train your team at any time
  • Access to the presentation materials; print them out and take notes
  • An FAQ document with common questions about free speech and academic freedom

A Program for Academic Administrators

This online training is designed specifically for department chairs, deans, legal counsels, and senior administrators who work with faculty and personnel issues. You will understand the:

  • Risks involved in ignoring “toxic” faculty conduct
  • Legal context in which civility may be appropriately addressed
  • Appropriate policies and procedures for addressing civility while also protecting legitimate academic freedom and constitutional concerns

Learning Outcome

After participating in this online training, you will be able to address civility issues within your faculty without violating academic freedom.


  • How the right to free speech affects an institution’s ability to address incivility
  • Considering collegiality during performance reviews, tenure, reappointment, and promotion processes
  • The impact of “controversial” social media use on the ability to teach, advise students, and conduct research
  • Recommended strategies for responding to an uncivil faculty member
  • Building a culture of civility in your department, college, or institution


Ellen M. Babbitt, Partner, Franczek Radelet

Ellen, a private practice attorney in Chicago, has over thirty years of experience as a counselor, litigator, and appellate advocate.  Since 1991, she has concentrated on the representation of colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning.  She regularly assists educational institutions and their administrators in drafting and updating institutional policies, including board bylaws, faculty handbooks, academic integrity policies, faculty codes of conducts, grievance procedures, ADA accommodation processes, and other compliance protocols.  Ellen has extensive experience representing institutions in government investigations, lawsuits, and administrative proceedings, scrutinizing compliance with statutory, governance, contractual, and accreditation requirements. Her practice encompasses work on behalf of public and private institutions, including graduate and professional schools, universities, colleges, religious schools, and museums.

Ellen currently serves on the board of directors of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).  She frequently presents at conferences, seminars, and webinars sponsored by NACUA, the American Council on Education, and other higher education policy associations, addressing significant legal issues affecting higher education.


Peter Land, Partner, Franczek Radelet, PC

Pete represents private and public sector higher education and business clients in a wide array of litigation and counseling matters, with an emphasis on employment law. Pete regularly advocates on behalf of institutions in court and agency proceedings, mediations, and arbitrations, as well as counseling on employment and student disputes, policy drafting, training, and government investigations.

Pete’s experience includes litigating employment discrimination and harassment cases, faculty terminations and tenure disputes, institutional governance issues, First Amendment disputes, student matters, school and program closings, non-compete agreement and trade secret disputes, and defamation and privacy issues. He has also counseled institutions on accommodation and leave requests pursuant to the ADA and FMLA, privacy issues and compliance with FERPA, academic program closures and institutional affiliations, reductions in force, compliance with Title IX student-discipline and gender-equity standards, accreditation issues, sensitive internal investigations, and investigations by the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights, the EEOC, and state and municipal administrative agencies. Pete has published and structured training programs on Title IX issues. 

Pete is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA). Pete has served on NACUA committees and has spoken at seminars addressing a variety of liability issues.


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