Heterodox Academy selects Dr. Debra Mashek to lead initiatives increasing intellectual diversity, improving research, and calming campus rage
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Heterodox Academy (HxA), a collaborative organization dedicated to increasing intellectual diversity in higher education, has chosen Dr. Debra Mashek (@DebMashekHxA) to be its new Executive Director. Dr. Mashek is a social psychologist and Professor of Psychology in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts at Harvey Mudd College, where she teaches, among other courses, a first-year writing seminar about psychological perspective: “I’m Right; You’re Wrong.” Dr. Mashek has spent two decades studying how people form relationships, as well as the challenges and rewards of doing so.
“Heterodox Academy could not have found a better Executive Director,” remarked Dr. Peter Uvin, Dean of the Faculty at Claremont McKenna College and HxA member. “Deb Mashek is a great leader: deep scholarly insight into the chasms that divide humans and the bridges they can build to cross them; lots of practice bringing together people from different backgrounds and disciplines to create something they didn’t think possible; and a great sense of leadership, organization, and, maybe most importantly, good humor, to keep it all together and moving forward.”
“Deb Mashek is the ideal leader for Heterodox Academy,” said Heterodox Academy co-founder Jonathan Haidt. “She is a full professor of psychology who understands academic life. She has experience in university administration and knows how HxA can be of maximal help to students, faculty, and administrators. Deb focuses on the study of relationships, and much of what we do is improve connections among people who view the world differently, and who could benefit from interacting in positive ways within academic settings. Deb has already laid out a vision for the organization that is going to surprise and delight our members and many friends throughout the academy. Under Deb’s leadership, 2018 will be a year of transformation on American college campuses.”
HxA was founded to improve the quality of research and education in universities by increasing viewpoint diversity, mutual understanding, and constructive disagreement. Dr. Mashek has set forth the following priorities for the organization:
- Creating networks of engaged scholars and teachers
- Developing and disseminating more tools for use by campus constituencies
- Engaging more fully in the broader societal discourse about the importance of viewpoint diversity in research and education
Dr. Mashek earned a BS in psychology/biology in 1997 from Nebraska Wesleyan University and earned her MA (1999) and PhD (2002) in social/health psychology with an emphasis in quantitative methods from Stony Brook University. After completing a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at George Mason University, she moved to the Claremont Colleges, where she has served for 13 years as a professor at Harvey Mudd College. She has won multiple awards at both the local and national levels for her teaching and mentorship, published over 30 academic articles and chapters, and edited two academic books.
In addition to her strengths in research and teaching, Dr. Mashek has broad experience in university administration and systems change. After receiving tenure in 2011, she served three years as Harvey Mudd College’s Associate Dean for Faculty Development. Later, at the behest of the Deans of the seven Claremont Colleges, she directed grant-funded efforts to better leverage the colleges’ collective potential on the academic front. Based on the successes of that project, she was tapped to launch the new Office of Consortial Academic Collaboration, which serves five undergraduate colleges and two graduate institutions.
Heterodox Academy is a collaborative association comprised of more than 1,600 professors and graduate student affiliates who have come together to improve the quality of research and education in universities by increasing viewpoint diversity, mutual understanding, and constructive disagreement.
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