Professor accused of teaching intelligent design continues with full course load

The Daily News

The astronomy professor accused of teaching intelligent design will teach a full course load beginning this fall.

Professor Eric Hedin, an assistant professor of astronomy, was at the center of the controversy.

Joan Todd, executive director of Public Relations, said Provost Terry King and Professor Hedin have both reviewed the panel’s findings and are working together to ensure that course content is aligned with the curriculum and best standards of the discipline.

“The university is particularly appreciative for Dr. Hedin’s active participation and cooperation during this process. His academic credentials are an asset to the university. He remains an important and valued member of our physics and astronomy department,” Todd said.

The university also received some criticism for its method of reviewing Hedin and his classes, particularly from the Discovery Institute, an intelligent design organization that supports Hedin.

Discovery Institute said appointing a panel to review him and his courses was inconsistent with a similar case concerning George Wolfe, a music professor who received allegations that his political ideas were being pushed into his class in 2004.

Todd said the university’s responses to the Hedin and Wolfe cases are “fundamentally no different.”

“It is my understanding that at that time Provost [Beverly] Pitts reviewed the concerns and determined they required no further action in the Wolfe matter,” she said. “The process in the Hedin [case] at this point are very similar in that they both involved reviews to determine the validity of the concerns, and they both are likely to be resolved informally.”

Todd said the panel reported its findings to King, who then met with Hedin to gain his perspective.

While previous statements indicated that very little information could be shared due to the case being a personnel matter, Todd said the university doesn’t plan to release any information regarding the review.

Ball State President Jo Ann Gora said intelligent design is not a science and has no place in a science course in her statement on the case.

“Intelligent design is overwhelmingly deemed by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory,” Gora said. “Discussions of intelligent design and creation science can have their place at Ball State in humanities or social science courses.”

She also said academic freedom, which had become a key word for both sides of the controversy, wasn’t an issue in this case.


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue