Heterodox Academy began in September 2015 as a collaboration of 25 professors who were actively studying and writing about viewpoint diversity in the social sciences. In our first 9 months we produced 112 blog posts that attracted 350,000 readers to the site.
Along the way we got many requests from other professors who wanted to join, even though they were not studying viewpoint diversity directly. At the same time, the climate for free speech on many campuses seems to have worsened. And not just in America, but in the UK and Australia as well. In response, we decided to open up membership to any tenured professor in any field who is willing to endorse this statement:
“I believe that university life requires that people with diverse viewpoints and perspectives encounter each other in an environment where they feel free to speak up and challenge each other. I am concerned that many academic fields and universities currently lack sufficient viewpoint diversity—particularly political diversity. I will support viewpoint diversity in my academic field, my university, my department, and my classroom.”
Why only tenured professors? Because it can be risky to stand up for political diversity, particularly in an election year when passions are running high. Junior faculty have little job security. We therefore wanted to start by admitting more senior academics, many of whom are leaders in their fields. In the three weeks since we opened up membership, we have gained 50 new members, including a Nobel prize winner, a former president of the American Psychological Association, and a variety of names that you’ll recognize if you are in the academic world. At some point this fall we will open up membership to untenured professors too.
For our readership, this means expanded content, expanded disciplinary diversity, and expanded international coverage. For students applying to graduate school, it means a much larger list of professors who have pledged to support viewpoint diversity. Our hope is to grow the membership into the hundreds, and to have members at all of the major research universities in the English-speaking world.
If you are a tenured professor, we invite you to join.
If you are interested in campus trends, intellectual diversity, free speech, or unorthodox ideas, we invite you to explore our blog, which we just updated by adding tags that allow you to find posts related to your interests.
Please sign up for our weekly email too (via the homepage). We’re planning a variety of initiatives for the next academic year to improve the spirit of free and fearless inquiry that all of us cherish.