guidetocolleges_logoOctober has been dubbed College Application Month by a number of states (Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and several others). As prospective students begin filling out forms and looking to see which campuses fit their idea of a supportive and robust learning and social environment, they look to a range of guides and ranking systems.

While many of these ranking systems include the traditional metrics about acceptance rate, student-faculty ratio and more, they cannot tell you whether the intellectual climate is vibrant, varied, and free, or whether it is conformist and politicized. Now, there is a resource that does.

Introducing the Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges made up of the top 150 national universities from US News & World Report college ranking guide (as of May 8, 2016). Incorporating a variety of metrics and factors, each school is given a “Heterodox Academy Score” factoring in:

  • Endorsement of the Chicago Principles on Freedom of Expression.
  • FIRE rating (based on the school’s protections for freedom of speech)
  • ISI Rating (a rating based on how conservative students are likely to fare at each school)
  • Campus incidents concerning free speech and political orthodoxy

In addition to prospective college students looking to identify schools that do not punish dissent, and that encourage heterodoxy- as opposed to orthodoxy- the Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges can also be used by:

  • Administrators hoping to gain insight on how their school stacks up
  • Alumni who want to know how their favorite schools are doing before they offer additional support
  • Parents looking to identify schools that will produce worldly, engaged adults, who do not expect authorities to protect them from ideas.
  • Academics looking to become part of a campus that supports free speech

The current edition of the guide is a first draft which will become more reliable as students and administrators point out mistakes in our categorizations, as we find more reports of incidents on campus, and as we add more columns to incorporate more sources of information.

In this first edition, the top two universities for encouraging viewpoint diversity are The University of Chicago, and Purdue. The top Ivy League university is Princeton. The two universities that seem least receptive to viewpoint diversity are the U. of Oregon and the U. of Missouri. The lowest rated Ivies are Brown and Harvard (tie).

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