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
We are beginning to see a few universities taking concrete steps to show that they value viewpoint diversity and the free and open exchange of ideas. An article over the weekend in The Wall Street Journal describes some of these steps and discusses them in the context of HxA’s newly revised Guide to Colleges. Read more →
Politically I am center-left, voted for Hillary Clinton, and I dislike our current president. Politics in the classroom does not unsettle me because I disagree with the liberal viewpoints. What unsettles me, rather, is the thought that my education is being politicized at the expense of timeless truths. I chose to study English because I wanted to improve my writing and reading abilities, because I value the literature of the language I speak, and because some aspects of the human condition are only accessible through books, plays, and poems. Reading Shakespeare should, of course, inform the way we think about systems of government, political leaders, and historical change. But it shouldn’t require an “I’m With Her” sticker and a subscription to The Washington Post. One will have a difficult time deciphering the hidden nuances of Julius Caesar if one is determined to view his character through the prism of current events... Read more →
Zachary Wood, President of Uncomfortable Learning (a group that invites controversial speakers to campus) and member of the Class of 2018 at Williams College, delivered compelling testimony on the value of free speech and viewpoint diversity in the academy at this week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on “Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses.” Wood, a self-described "liberal Democrat who supports many progressive causes" sees higher education as an opportunity for "students...to engage with people and ideas they vehemently disagree with." His full testimony is in the video below. Read more →
The revised Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges, released Monday, evaluates and ranks the top 50 US liberal arts colleges and top 150 US universities based on their policies regarding academic freedom and freedom of speech; their campus culture; and their history of handling controversial topics. Here is our methodology.
In the latest episode of Half Hour of Heterodoxy, Chris Martin interviewed Cristine Legare, HxA member and professor of psychology at UT Austin. We talked about why socio-economic diversity matters at universities, and how professors can incorporate contentious religious and political topics into classes.
Professors who comment on white racism and white supremacy are likely to have their statements misrepresented on sites like Campus Reform and The Daily Caller, writes sociologist Matthew Hughey, and these misrepresentations elicit harassment, intimidation, and violent threats. Professors who have received such threats include Saida Grundy, Zandria Robinson, and Tommy Curry—and most recently, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor,... Read more →
In this episode, Chris Martin (@Chrismartin76) interviews Cristine Legare (@CristineLegare), Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas-Austin. She specializes in the study of culture, cultural learning, and cognition. She is a winner of the 2015 APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. She serves on the executive board of Heterodox Academy (@HdxAcademy).
0:00 Why socioeconomic diversity is important 6:21 How UT Austin is increasing socioeconomic diversity 12:10 SES diversity is intertwined with viewpoint diversity 15:05 Cristine’s recent experience with controversial class topics 20:00 Positive class evaluations 22:49 Techniques to have productive conversations in class 26:30: Illustrating unproductive forms of dialogue
You can learn more Cristine Legare at her website.
Cristine’s argument for greater SES diversity can be found here.
Articles and books mentioned during the interview:Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict by Ari Norenzayan The... Read more →
Heterodox Academy (HxA) has just released a major update to its Guide to Colleges--the only resource available for college-bound high school students who seek exposure to a diversity of viewpoints and a culture of free and open discussion. Until now, students who prefer heterodoxy have had no way to find such schools. Read more →
I interviewed political science professor and HxA member April Kelly-Woessner (Elizabethtown College) about whether political tolerance is declining, why conservatives opt out of academic careers, and whether tolerance is lower among people who don’t attend college.
Megan McArdle writes about the partisan rift in explanations for why college has become more expensive, contrasting the liberal explanation that points to declining state support with the conservative explanation pointing to the student-loan industry, and exploring the evidence for each view.
The next dean of Harvard Law School will be John Manning. As Karen Sloan at Law.com notes, “Manning’s appointment is notable in part because his conservative background stands in contrast to most of his Harvard Law colleagues and that of his two immediate dean predecessors—Minow and current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.” Kagan brought Manning to Harvard Law in 2004 amid a hiring campaign to boost ideological diversity.
In a recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, Roger Bowen, former president of SUNY New Paltz, argues that first-year programs are the perfect time in which to teach “the meaning and purpose of academic freedom.” Read more →
This blog post contains the text of an email sent out on June 1 by Mike Paros, a professor of biology and veterinary medicine at Evergreen State College. So far, Paros is the only faculty member at Evergreen State College who has spoken out publicly in support of Bret Weinstein. (If you don’t know the background on the case, read this first.) In contrast to Paros, more than 50 professors at Evergreen have signed a letter demanding a “disciplinary investigation” of Weinstein. Paros and Weinstein are both members of Heterodox Academy.Paros sent the text of this email to the Evergreen staff and faculty email list on June 1. Since then he has tried to get it published in local newspapers, as his statement of support for Weinstein, but with no success. So we are publishing it here at Heterodox Academy as a show of support for Weinstein, Paros, and the right of faculty everywhere to question administrative policies in a reasoned and respectful way, as Weinstein did. Read more →
In this episode, Chris Martin (@Chrismartin76) interviews April Kelly-Woessner, Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Legal Studies at Elizabethtown College. She specializes in public opinion, mass behavior, and political psychology. She is the co-editor of The Still Divided Academy: How Competing Visions of Power Politics and Diversity Complicate the Mission of Higher Education (2011).
2:30 Marcuse reflected in a Harvard Crimson op-ed
7:21 Why political researchers mistakenly thought tolerance was increasing
8:10 Shutting down opinions reflects an insecurity about civic knowledge
12:00 Often, American government classes are taught by high school coaches
13:00 How do you teach students about political tolerance?
19:10 Are conservatives opting out of academia because of college experiences?
21:40 The role of viewpoint diversity in making people tolerant
23:35 At small colleges, students can’t self-isolate
26:28 Is there an effect among people who don’t attend college?
27:10 Social... Read more →
To increase viewpoint diversity in the academy.
- HxA releases updated Guide to Colleges
- Announcing the Viewpoint Diversity Experience
- Van Jones’ excellent metaphors about the dangers of ideological safety
- Why progressive professors should join HxA, especially now
- HxA top ten blog posts from 2016