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FIRE Faculty Network Conference happening this weekend in Chicago!

Faculty Conference 2021

Two years removed from the last time we gathered for FIRE’s Faculty Network Conference, we’re thrilled to officially return this weekend to Chicago, joined by a contingent of committed faculty. The Faculty Network Conference’s sessions begin this morning and run through tomorrow, Oct. 16, at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center.

This year’s slate of presenters bring a rigorous and heterodox body of research and commentary that promises to set a high bar for engagement and discourse among our attendees. Topics of discussion include a reappraisal of recent debates over campus “safe spaces,” examinations of campus diversity and inclusion requirements from a variety of pedagogical perspectives, student self-censorship in the classroom, faculty self-censorship on social media, and more. Our featured presenters are:

  • Daniel Cullen, Rhodes College
  • Elizabeth Niehaus, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • Anthony Rotolo, Grand Canyon University
  • Brian Soucek, University of California, Davis School of Law
  • Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Aaron Snyder, Carleton College
  • Jonathan Zimmerman, University of Pennsylvania
  • April Bleske-Rechek, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire; Ryan Owens,  University of Wisconsin – Madison; and Tim Shiell, University of Wisconsin – Stout

The Faculty Network Conference will be highlighted by this evening’s keynote address from Robert Zimmer, Chancellor of the University of Chicago. Zimmer’s accomplishments are many and widespread, both as a mathematician and a higher education leader. Zimmer served most recently as president of the University of Chicago from 2006 to 2021. Among his enduring accomplishments, Zimmer presided over the creation in 2014 of UChicago’s  Committee on Freedom of Expression. That committee, of course, produced the now famous Chicago Principles on freedom of expression, which have been emulated by dozens of universities since they were adopted by UChicago in 2015. We’re honored to have Chancellor Zimmer address this year’s conference. 

In light of COVID-19, we’re also taking steps this year to make the conference more accessible to Faculty Network members by livestreaming the sessions for faculty interested in tuning in. Faculty can get more information by signing up for FIRE’s Faculty Network or by emailing 

If you’re a faculty member interested in defending and sustaining academic freedom, free speech, and other civil liberties on campus, please consider joining the FIRE Faculty Network. By joining, you’ll receive information curated specifically for faculty, including the latest legal developments, strategies for activism, and noteworthy research and reporting related to free speech and academic freedom.

Here’s to a successful Faculty Network Conference! We hope you’ll join us online, and we offer our thanks to all our distinguished participants.

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