Heterodox Academy Releases Updated Guide to Colleges:
Which campuses are best for students seeking exposure to diverse perspectives?


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. By now everyone has seen videos of college students shouting down speakers; everyone has heard about intellectual “safe spaces” that are created when controversial speakers come to campus. Some colleges offer students a politically orthodox culture in which students, faculty, and administrators are in general agreement about what is morally right, and therefore about which ideas, books, and speakers will be featured in an undergraduate’s education. Other colleges offer a politically “heterodox” culture in which exposure to a range of conflicting perspectives, theories, and speakers is seen as an essential part of a liberal arts education. Until now, students who prefer heterodoxy have had no way to find such schools.

The HxA Guide to Colleges begins with the US News list of the top 150 universities and the top 50 liberal arts schools. We then compute a “heterodoxy score” by integrating information from several sources, including ratings of speech codes by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, ratings of campus culture by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and our own analysis of recent campus events that allow us to code the faculty, administration, and students separately on their commitment to free inquiry and viewpoint diversity. We weight each component to reflect its likely importance for an incoming student — for example, the behavior of other students is weighted more heavily than the behavior of professors.

In our revised and improved Guide to Colleges, the top universities are: The University of Chicago, The College of William and Mary, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and George Mason University.

Scores on liberal arts colleges are generally lower than for research universities. Their smaller size may create stronger pressures for orthodoxy. Nonetheless, the colleges that seem to offer the best hope for encountering viewpoint diversity are three of the ones comprising Claremont Colleges (Pitzer, Harvey Mudd, and Scripps Colleges), along with Haverford College, and Washington and Lee University.

“We designed the Guide to Colleges to help college-bound students find the right schools. But we think it will be of use to university administrators too. To create cultures of free and open inquiry, where students are not afraid to voice their views or challenge their professors, schools must be aware of how they are doing with regard to maintaining and valuing viewpoint diversity on campus” said Jeremy Willinger, the organization’s Communications Director and Project Director for the Guide to Colleges.

We invite you to explore the Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges >>

Our Mission: Heterodox Academy works to increase viewpoint diversity in the academy.

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If you would like more information, please contact Jeremy Willinger at 212-992-6815 or email.