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Heterodox Academy

2018 Open Inquiry
Award Winners

2018 oia

HxA presents the Open Inquiry Awards to honor exemplary individuals, groups, and institutions who are leading the way in improving classrooms, campuses, and scholarship by championing our values.

The HxA mission is advanced, in part, by the work of exceptional people committed across our institutions of higher education that advance open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in the classroom and across campus.

The 2018 awardees were nominated by members of Heterodox Academy and independently reviewed by members of HxA’s Open Inquiry Awards Committee, who developed a short list of up to three candidates for each category. The short lists were presented to HxA’s staff, Advisory Committee and Board of Directors — all of whom voted to select the winner for each award.

2018 Winners
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The University of Chicago

Institutional Excellence Award

For the college or university – or center or institute operating as part of a college or university – that has done the most to advance or sustain open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement either on its own campus or nationally.

The University of Chicago has long been a national leader in modeling an institutional commitment to free speech and open inquiry. Their “Statement on principles of free expression” (known as “The Chicago Principles) offers a framework for thinking about the importance of dissent and the role of the university as a platform for debate. These principles have been adopted by other campuses across the country.

The university held a conference with 66 college presidents and provosts to promote and expand initiatives around viewpoint diversity in late 2017. From the Dean’s letter to the class of 2020 informing them that they will “not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” to its chart-topping score on the former Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges initiative, the University of Chicago was the clear winner of this award category.

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Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, Harvard University

Leadership Award

Awarded to a person or group that has shown exceptional leadership in championing open inquiry, viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement in the academy and beyond.

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, earned the first Leadership Award for their shared efforts to marshal support for viewpoint diversity throughout academia.

George is a conservative and West is a progressive. Together, they created the statement on “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression” signed by thousands of professors and others. The statement says, in part:

“All of us should be willing—even eager—to engage with anyone who is prepared to do business in the currency of truth-seeking discourse by offering reasons, marshaling evidence, and making arguments. The more important the subject under discussion, the more willing we should be to listen and engage—especially if the person with whom we are in conversation will challenge our deeply held—even our most cherished and identity-forming—beliefs.”

They also take their partnership on the road, visiting campuses across the US to speak together about their joint efforts and the benefits of open inquiry and constructive disagreement.

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Alice Dreger, Historian and Author

Courage Award

Awarded to individuals who have shown consistent courage in pursuing truth despite social and professional costs.

Alice Dreger, a historian of science and medicine, embodies academic courage through her personal conviction and endurance when facing calls to restrict her scholarship. At Northwestern University, she made an open call against censorship after an administrator sought to censor some of her academic writing. As a result, she publicly resigned her post as a part-time medical humanities and bioethics professor.

While at Northwestern, Dreger wrote, “Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science” focusing on researchers who “get in trouble for putting forth challenging ideas about sex.” Since resigning her position, Dreger has spoken at many conferences and in other venues about academic freedom.

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Tenelle Porter, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Davis Karina Schumann, Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh

Exceptional Scholarship Award

Awarded to an academic who, through research or another form of scholarship, has greatly contributed to understanding of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement.

Tenelle Porter, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis, and Karina Schumann, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, share the Exceptional Scholarship Award.

Their article, “Intellectual humility and openness to the opposing view” in Self and Identity, was an investigation into recognizing the limits of personal knowledge and appreciating the intellectual strengths of others. The results underscore how greater intellectual humility can help us be open to those with divergent perspectives.

In Studies 1 and 2, participants with higher intellectual humility were more open to learning about the opposition’s views during imagined disagreements. In Study 3, those with higher intellectual humility exposed themselves to a greater proportion of opposing political perspectives. In Study 4, making salient a growth mindset of intelligence boosted intellectual humility, and, in turn, openness to opposing views.

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Outstanding Student Group Award

Awarded to a student group for making a particularly vital and durable contribution to open inquiry, viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement on their campus and beyond.

BridgeUSA advances viewpoint diversity by creating a network of student-run chapters on campuses across the U.S. where students can engage divergent ideas––as well as one another––through the practice of responsible discourse. With students increasingly reluctant to share perspectives in classrooms, BridgeUSA provides a venue to have honest, thoughtful, and fruitful conversations that highlight the benefits of ideological diversity and mutual understanding

Our awards committee was impressed with BridgeUSA’s commitment, convening power, and constructive approach to difficult conversations. BridgeUSA chapters currently exist on seven university campuses, with 12 additional chapters coming this calendar year. Their ongoing growth reflects the vitality of their mission and the desperate need for it on campus.

Heterodox Academy is the one place where I can play the token social justice feminist sex radical and still be in great company.

Alice DregerHistorian and Author
Alice Dreger

In a very short period Heterodox Academy has become the nation's leading champion of intellectual honesty, open debate and viewpoint diversity - for a simple reason: its members practice intellectual virtues that they preach.

David BrooksOp-Ed columnistNew York Times
David A Brooks
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Become a Member

Join our community of faculty, staff, and students in our efforts to improve the quality of research and education in universities through viewpoint diversity, open inquiry, and constructive disagreement.

Complimentary membership includes access to the new HxA Portal — a private online forum for HxA members and HxCommunities — invitations to members-only events, funding opportunities, professional development opportunities, members-only discounts to HxA Summits, and more.

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