Niehaus named University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellow

Elizabeth Niehaus

Niehaus named University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellow

20 May 2020    

Elizabeth Niehaus, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration in the College of Education and Human Sciences, has been named a Fellow of the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. 

Niehaus was one of ten fellows selected this year to receive a stipend to develop a project related to advancing the national conservation on expression and civic engagement on college campuses. The projects will focus on creating educational materials and programs to be used on college campuses to encourage viewpoint diversity and inclusivity among students. 

As a fellow, Niehaus will also get the opportunity to visit one of the ten UC campuses for a week to engage with students, faculty, administrators and others. 

“I am really excited about the opportunity to connect with other folks who are thinking a lot about the relationship between free speech and issues of diversity and inclusion on college campuses,” Niehaus said. 

Niehaus’ research project, "Self-Censorship or Just Being Nice? Understanding College Students’ Moral Reasoning around Free Speech in the Classroom" will explore college students’ moral reasoning – how they make judgments about what is right and wrong – around issues of free expression in the classroom.

Through surveys and interviews, she will examine students’ judgments about others’ classroom speech, and how they make decisions about whether or not to share their own perspectives in the classroom. 

Understanding how students are reasoning around these issues, she wrote, will provide a foundation for designing effective classroom environments where students can engage with a wide range of ideas and perspectives, and for creating effective co-curricular programming to help students develop more complex ways of engaging with controversial ideas on campus.

“I am looking forward to learning from other fellows, past and present,” Niehaus said, “and expanding my own thinking about these issues.”

Educational Administration
College of Education and Human Sciences