Intelligent design professor earns tenure at Ball State

AP News
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Posted: May 11, 2016 4:32 PM

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Ball State University in Indiana has granted tenure to a faculty member who was ordered three years ago to stop teaching intelligent design in a science course.

"I am pleased to have received approval for tenure and I look forward to continuing my professional contributions to Ball State University," Eric Hedin, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, told The (Muncie) Star Press (http://tspne.ws/1rVQL5R ).

Hedin drew attention in 2013 with his "Boundaries of Science" class. Ball State University President Jo Ann Gora told Hedin that intelligent design wasn't an appropriate subject for a science class. She said intelligent design is overwhelmingly regarded as a religious belief by the scientific community and not a scientific theory. Intelligent design holds that certain features of life forms are so complex that they can best be explained by an origin from an intelligent higher power, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Also in 2013, Ball State hired intelligent design advocate Guillermo Gonzalez as an assistant professor of astronomy, which combined with the Hedin controversy put the university at the center of a national education debate over science versus religion.

Hedin was hired into a contract faculty position in 2002 and into a tenure-track position in 2012. He previously taught at two Christian schools, Taylor University and Huntington College, now known as Huntington University.

Gonzalez also continues to teach at Ball State in a tenure-track position, according to a university spokeswoman. He has said he won't discuss intelligent design in his classes at Ball State. In 2008, Gonzalez was denied tenure at Iowa State University, and he went on to teach at Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts school in Pennsylvania, before coming to Ball State.

Ball State faculty can be granted tenure after a seven-year probationary period if they demonstrate achievement in teaching, scholarship and service in a professional capacity. Tenured faculty at Ball State are provided with freedom of teaching, opportunities for research and extracurricular activities, and economic security, according to the university's faculty handbook.

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Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com