Heterodox Academy began 13 months ago as a collaboration of 23 professors and two grad students who had been writing about issues related to viewpoint diversity and political orthodoxy in the academy. In July we opened up membership to any tenured professor, not just in the USA but in other English speaking countries as well. We limited new memberships to full (tenured) professors because assistant (untenured) professors are much more vulnerable if they “stick their necks out” for what some may see as an unpopular cause.
We received a flood of interest. Our membership is now approaching 200 full professors, including a Nobel Prize winner, former presidents of the ACLU and the American Psychological Association, prominent authors, and a variety of names that you’ll recognize. Our membership is well balanced among professors who self-describe as progressive, conservative, centrist, and libertarian.
Now that we have established a reputation as a collaboration of academic insiders who are constructively engaged with improving the academy, and now that we have leading figures in most of the major academic fields, we think it is no longer risky for assistant professors to publicly declare their support for viewpoint diversity. We are not bomb-throwers; we are not cranky or angry. We’re not even very conservative – just 27% of our members self-described in that way. What we have in common is that we have all endorsed 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.”
If you are an assistant professor (i.e., with a tenure-track appointment at an accredited university), and you endorse that statement too, please join us
If you are a post-doc or adjunct professor with a Ph.D., we will be inviting you to join us in 2017 (as we are working to manage our growth slowly and learn as we grow).
We have an exciting year ahead, as we roll out various initiatives to encourage conversations about viewpoint diversity and free inquiry worldwide. If you are interested in campus trends, intellectual diversity, freedom of inquiry, or unorthodox ideas, we invite you to explore our blog and sign up for our weekly email.
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