Heterodox Academy Membership Surpasses 1,000 Professors:
Viewpoint diversity is a vital issue among faculty
New York, NY – Heterodox Academy, an academic collaborative with a mission to advance viewpoint diversity in the academy, now counts more than 1,000 professors, along with 87 PhD-level graduate students, as members in our organization.
Heterodox Academy (HxA) started in September 2015 as a blog and research collaborative for 25 social scientists who studied the effects of political orthodoxy and diversity on academic research. As threats to free speech and free inquiry mounted during that academic year, many other professors wanted to join and express their support for viewpoint diversity. In response, HxA opened up membership to any tenured or tenure-track professor, and by January 2017 it had 400 members, including dozens from other countries, particularly the UK.
After several widely reported incidents where invited guests were shouted down and violently interrupted at UC-Berkeley, Middlebury, Claremont-McKenna and other universities, membership quickly increased. More and more professors saw the need for greater diversity of thought on campus and recognized the dangers posed by political orthodoxy to high-quality scholarship and teaching.
In May 2017, HxA opened membership to adjunct professors and to post-docs. It also created a new membership category for PhD level graduate students. On July 17, the thousandth professor joined. The distribution of members across the major political categories is among the most even to be found anywhere in the American university system:
No matter their background or political ideology, all new member endorse this statement when they join:
“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.”
HxA has produced a variety of tools that can help universities to measure the state of discourse on campus and to improve their student’s appreciation of viewpoint diversity. The organization offers a Fearless Speech Index to help measure and analyze who in a classroom- or campus- might feel intimidated around airing their political perspectives. We have also developed our Viewpoint Diversity Experience to help universities teach their students about viewpoint diversity and have conversations with those with whom they disagree politically. And, for high school students who are searching for a school that will expose them to political diversity, we offer our recently revised Guide to Colleges that provides the only ranked list of schools throughout the US based on their openness to viewpoint diversity and free speech.
“We initially projected that we would reach the thousand-member mark in late 2017. We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that a growing number of professors are concerned about the state of discourse on campus regarding political topics. We all know that America is terribly divided by politics. We want our universities to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” said Jonathan Haidt, co-founder of Heterodox Academy and professor at NYU-Stern School of Business.
Our Mission: Heterodox Academy works to increase viewpoint diversity in the academy.
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