Lee to be awarded academic freedom honor

Laurie Thomas Lee
Laurie Thomas Lee

Laurie Thomas Lee, professor of broadcasting in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, will be recognized this week for her work in defending and promoting academic freedom.

The UNL Faculty Senate will present her with the James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award at 3:30 p.m. April 23 at the Faculty Senate meeting in the Nebraska Union Auditorium.

Lee earned the award for her understanding and explanation of the issues surrounding academic freedom when it is threatened and for giving speeches, authoring articles and appearing on numerous panels defending academic freedom, according to A. Dwayne Ball, a 2006 Lake Award recipient.

Lee publishes in law review journals and speaks on panels at national and international conferences about privacy and new technology.

The James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award was established in 1980 to honor an individual who "helps preserve the most basic freedom of all, the freedom to seek and communicate truth," according to the award description.

Supported by a contribution from former Regent Ed Schwartzkopf, the award is given by the UNL Faculty Senate based upon a nomination by the James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award Committee.

The Faculty Senate, established in 1974, is the governing body of faculty and administration and comprises 87 members elected by the faculty of various departments of UNL.

Lee’s nomination was supported by three UNL faculty members: A. Dwayne Ball, interim chair and associate professor of marketing; Michael Goff, senior lecturer of advertising and public relations and CoJMC’s chief academic adviser; and David Moshman, professor of educational psychology.

In his nomination, Moshman noted Lee has written extensively on issues of intellectual freedom and related issues of privacy and is an academic expert on media law. She regularly attends and actively participates in activities in support of intellectual freedom for students, teachers and researchers at all levels of education across the state of Nebraska. Lee has served on the Faculty Senate, the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska and the American Civil Liberties Union, Nebraska chapter.

Ball said Lee has organized Banned Book Week events co-sponsored by ACLU Nebraska and taken a particular interest in speaking out on the Patriot Act’s effect on libraries.

Lee holds a Ph.D. in mass media from Michigan State University, an M.A. in communications from the University of Iowa and a B.S. in telecommunications from Kearney State College.

She serves on the boards of the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (as president), ACLU Nebraska (treasurer), Bright Lights (former president) and the Cable Television Advisory Board.

On the national level, she has served on the boards of such organizations as the National Cable Telecommunications Association Academic Seminar and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (as former head of the Communications Technology and Policy Division). She has also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Media Economics and Southwestern Mass Communication Journal.

Previous recipients of the academic freedom award are: James A. Lake, 1980; Desmond M. S. Wheeler, 1982; James A. McShane, 1983; R. Burt Maxcy, 1984; Harry Crockett, Jr. 1986; Paul Olson, 1987; Dermot Coyne, 1988; James Cole, 1989; Campbell R. McConnell, 1991; Ned Hedges, 1992; Linda Pratt, 1994; Henry F. Holtzclaw, 1995; Helen Moore, 1996; David Moshman, 1997; Mary Beck, 1998; Wallace Peterson, 1999; Leo Sartori, 2000; Robert Haller, 2001; George Wolf, 2002; Ann Mari May, 2004; A. Dwayne Ball, 2006; John Bender, 2011.

More details at: http://go.unl.edu/74e