March 29, 2022

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Seminar Series Celebrates Faculty Research, Community Collaboration

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences will kick off a new seminar series with “Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the Contemporary Moment in Higher Education” at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12, in the University Center Theater.

Dr. Adam Wood, professor and head of the Department of English, will serve as moderator and commentator during “Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the Contemporary Moment in Higher Education.” He said this hour-long panel discussion “will consider the federally mandated legal requirements for — and social and cultural reactions against — the freedom of speech and expression on university campuses.”

“From there,” he explained, “the conversation will move to an analysis of academic freedom, which emerges from notions of freedom of expression and yet which also has its own unique aspects that often come into conflict with ideas of the student-centered university. Surrounding both the issues of freedom of expression and academic freedom is the current moment of higher education replete with notions of ‘safe spaces,’ ‘trigger warnings,’ and so-called ‘cancel culture.’”

Sandra Jones, director of VSU’s Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Dr. Peggy Moch, professor of mathematics and VSU’s campus representative for the American Association of University Professors, will serve as panelists.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences developed the seminar series earlier this year “to support research culture within the college and to facilitate the regional impact of faculty research,” shared Dr. Anne Price, associate professor of sociology and co-chair of the seminar series with Dr. Thomas Aiello, professor of history.

Price, Aiello, and members of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Community Advisory Board will work together to identify potential speakers and topics for the series to address throughout the year.

“We want this seminar series to focus on our college’s faculty research, and in particular, the research that faculty engage in collaboratively with community organizations, students, and faculty and staff across the university,” Price said. “Many presentations will consist of faculty presenting alongside community members on areas of shared focus. The series will also include academic examinations of contemporary public issues that have relevance for the local community.”

All presentations will be recorded and shared online.

Admission to the “Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the Contemporary Moment in Higher Education” panel discussion is free of charge and open to the academic community and the general public. Refreshments will be provided. Community organizations in attendance will have a chance to speak to College of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty about opportunities to collaborate on research and related initiatives.

Contact Dr. Anne Price at or Dr. Thomas Aiello at for more information.

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