We are a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities.

We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.

To reverse this process, we have come together to advocate for a more intellectually diverse and heterodox academy.

Recent Blog Posts

Research Summary: The Polarizing Effects of Online Partisan Criticism: Evidence from Two Experiments

We conclude that online partisan criticism likely has contributed to rising affective and social polarization in recent years between Democrats and Republicans in the United States, and perhaps between partisan and ideological group members in other developed democracies as well. We close by discussing the troubling implications of these findings in light of continuing attempts by autocratic regimes and other actors to influence democratic elections via false identities on social media. Read more →

Weekly Roundup of Heterodoxy—January 12, 2018 Edition

At Heterodox Academy

Teaching Heterodoxy: Syllabus Language to Support Viewpoint Diversity by HxA member Debra Mashek. Submit your strategy for teaching viewpoint diversity in your classroom.

Elsewhere on the Web

How the Right Weaponized Free Speech by Joan W. Scott, Chronicle of Higher Education

Evergreen copes with fallout, months after ‘Day of Absence’ sparked national debate, PBS Newshour

Saddle Up: 7 Trends Coming in 2018 by Julie A. Peterson and Lisa M. Rudgers, Inside Higher Ed

The ‘Right’ to Disrupt Free Speech on Campus–It Doesn’t Exist by George Leef, Forbes

Inmates are Classmates in this Program by Michael Anft, The Chronicle of Higher Education

More Speech or Enforced Silence? Stephen Rohde Reviews Two Recent Books on the Subject of Free Speech on Campus, LA Review of Books

Campus free speech fears ‘whipped up,’ says university boss by Judith Burns, BBC News

Read more →

Teaching Heterodoxy: Syllabus Language to Support Viewpoint Diversity

There’s broad agreement that the syllabus is a contract of sorts that spells out expectations, policies, and pathways through the inquiry at hand.  Equally important, I ask my syllabus to set the tone for the entire course. I pick my words carefully, hoping to signal my and my students’ reciprocal roles in the processes of teaching and learning. As students and faculty alike navigate ideological polarization, tribalism, and hostility, it feels especially important to get this tone-setting document right. Read more →

Weekly Roundup of Heterodoxy—January 5, 2018 Edition

Drexel Professor Whose Charged Tweets Drew Fire From the Right Will Leave the University, by Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education

Romanticizing the Hunter-Gatherer, by William Buckner, Quillette

Britain May Fine Universities That Limit Free Speech, by Scott Jaschik, InsideHigherEd

Is Higher Education Really Losing the Public? by Doug Lederman, InsideHigherEd

The Future of Trumpism is on Campus by Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic

“How is This Okay?”: At Yale, Campus Debate Turns into A Social Media “Cesspool” by Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair

FIRE Report: Spotlight on Speech Codes 2018: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses

Read more →

Weekly Roundup of Heterodoxy—December 22, 2017 Edition

At Heterodox Academy

2017 End of Year Letter from Jonathan Haidt

Research summary: The Wisdom of Polarized Crowds by Sean Stevens, HxA Research Director

The Campus Expression Survey: Summary of New Data by Sean Stevens, HxA Research Director

Essential Reading: Richard Shweder on the End of the Modern Academy by Jonathan Haidt

Elsewhere on the Web

Toward a More Self-Correcting Psychological Science by Lee Jussim*, Rabble Rouser (Psychology Today)

Biology and Culture: A Conversation with Bret Weinstein, Waking Up with Sam Harris (Podcast)

How Activists Took Control of a University: The Case Study of Evergreen State by Uri Harris, Quillette

Pushing back against the conservative caricature of higher education, Letters to the Editor in response to Elitists, crybabies and junky degrees: A Trump supporter explains rising conservative anger at American universities, Washington Post

Many Students Embrace Viewpoint Diversity. Why Won’t... Read more →

Research Summary: The Wisdom of Polarized Crowds

Sean Stevens is HxA’s Research Director

The founding of Heterodox Academy had roots in a collaboration between five social psychologists and one sociologist that produced a featured paper, and 33 responses to it, in Behavioral and Brain Sciences.  A number of specific recommendations to improve social psychology were made, but the main thesis was that increasing political diversity would improve the field by improving the quality of the research.  Now, there is a growing literature on how political beliefs can impact the research process (see here, here, here, and here).

Yet, one persistent criticism (see here) has been that increased viewpoint diversity in the academy will pit ideological biases against each other and lead to further polarization.  New research, summarized below, suggests that politically polarized editorial teams produced higher quality Wikipedia articles on politics, social issues, and science.  Although the debates between... Read more →

The Campus Expression Survey: Summary of New Data

Sean Stevens is HxA’s Research Director

Back in July, I presented some preliminary data from our Campus Expression Survey (CES).  The CES was developed by members1 of Heterodox Academy in response to students and professors who say they feel like they are “walking on eggshells”, not just in the classroom but in informal interactions on campus as well.  This post is a follow-up to that post and presents a summary of all of the CES data Heterodox Academy has obtained to date from 1,227 currently enrolled college students in the United States (a longer, more detailed report will be made available at Heterodox Academy shortly).

These analyses revealed a number of interesting findings, including:

53% of students surveyed reported that they do not think their college or university frequently encourages students to consider a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives. 32% of conservatives (vs.... Read more →

2017 End of Year Letter from Jon Haidt

Dear Members and Friends of HxA: 2017 was another astonishing year for those who care about universities, and another extraordinary year for Heterodox Academy. First, the universities. This year we saw an increase in intimidation tactics, uncivil behavior, and actual violence on campus. Most alarmingly, students joined with local activists to use violence as a tool to stop unwanted speakers, first at UC Berkeley and then at Middlebury College.... but the left had no monopoly on intimidation tactics... 2017 was a year of extraordinary growth and success for us. Here are a few stats and achievements for the year... Here are just a few of the initiatives we will roll out in 2018 to support these priorities... Read more →

Essential Reading: Richard Shweder on the End of the Modern Academy

This post is the first in our "Essential Reading" series. These posts make it possible for readers to get the basic idea of a major work quickly. Here is the first such essay: Richard A. Shweder (2017). The End of the Modern Academy: At the University of Chicago, for Example. Shweder describes the “modern” (as opposed to pre- or post-modern) conception of a university that was widespread in the 1960s and 1970s when he began teaching at the University of Chicago—an “ivory tower” conception in which the purpose of the university is “improving the stock of ordered knowledge and rational judgment.” He structures his essay around three ideals of the modernist university, and three threats that are now undermining those ideals. The three threats are: 1) the increasing pursuit of profit from research after 1980; 2) the rise of bureaucratic constraints on research, such as the creation of Internal Review Boards (IRBs) to govern all research; and 3) the rise of a post-modern form of expressive identity politics. This third point is the most important for our mission at Heterodox Academy, for this form of activism, when done by scholars, is sometimes in conflict with the cultivation of viewpoint diversity and the search for truth. When Shweder speaks of the “end” of the academy, it is a double-entendre. He refers to “end” as purpose or goal, but as he describes the three threats, it becomes clear that these threats may bring about the end (termination) of the modernist truth-oriented conception of a university. Read more →

Weekly Roundup of Heterodoxy—December 15, 2017 Edition

At Heterodox Academy

An Interview with John McWhorter about Politics and Protest

2017 Blog Recap: Defining Heterodox Academy’s Mission by HxA Communications Director Jeremy Willinger

We launched the Campus Expression Survey, a tool to measure the intensity of self-censorship in any group

Pre-sale alert: The Coddling of American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

Elsewhere on the Web

Limits on Free Speech? by Judith Butler, edited version of an address to the Berkeley Senate Forum

Judith Butler Overestimates the Power of Hateful Speech by Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

Bonfire of the Academies: Two professors on how leftist intolerance is killing higher education by HxA members Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein

Clausewitz on Campus: The Militarisation of the Universities by HxA member M. L. R. Smith, Strife

The Importance of Dumb... Read more →

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To improve the quality of research and education in universities by increasing viewpoint diversity, mutual understanding, and constructive disagreement.

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