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Introducing HxA Campus Communities

Since 2015, HxA has connected professors, administrators, staff, and students who value open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in higher education.

To advance that mission, HxA’s 5,000+ members have shared ideas, convened gatherings, developed tools, conducted research, and built communities organized by academic discipline and region.

Today, HxA announces a major next step in our work: the Heterodox Academy Campus Community Network

HxA Campus Communities are groups of HxA members brought together on individual campuses. The mission of each HxA Campus Community is to promote the values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement on their campus. These groups exist to support each other’s daily work, showcase and model HxA values, and improve institutional policies, practices, and culture. 

The first cohort of Campus Communities will launch in January 2023. Each Campus Community will be led by two or three co-chairs from the campus, with financial and advisory support from HxA. Over time, these campus-based groups will grow and develop in different ways, based on the unique opportunities and challenges of each institution.

READ ON for more information about this program and how to apply. To download this information in .pdf format, click here.

Program Overview

Leadership

Each Campus Community will start with a group of two to three founding co-chairs, who commit to lead and grow the group over an initial three-year period. This role will start with a one-day orientation and workshop with HxA staff, and continues with ongoing organizational and communications responsibilities.

As they attract initial members and participants, Campus Communities will establish their own organizational and leadership guidelines in keeping with the mission of HxA and the policies of the local institution.

Core Activities

Campus Communities’ activities may include:

  • Monthly gatherings to plan, socialize, and share experiences and advice;
  • Academic activities and practical workshops aligned with HxA values; and
  • Dialogue with institutional leaders about the policies and practices that shape intellectual culture in the specific context of each local institution.

In the “founding period” of their first six months, Campus Communities will focus on laying the groundwork for long-term success by forming an organization; setting basic structures; recruiting members; holding regular meetings; and cultivating a sense of community within the group.

More Opportunities

As Campus Communities grow, HxA will make other resources and programs available by application. These may include:

  • “Heterodox Conversations”: large, campus-wide events featuring two speakers who model constructive disagreement
  • Additional workshops and trainings for Campus Community leaders and members, in-person and online
  • Local administration of Campus Expression Survey 
  • Intellectual retreats for members, with HxA partner organizations
  • Additional grant opportunities
  • Programs at future HxA conferences

Support from HxA

Each Campus Community will receive a commitment of at least $3,000 in program expenses funded by HxA for academic year 2022-23. These funds will support core activities during the founding period: outreach to prospective members and at least three events per semester (lunch meetings, receptions, and/or invitation-only events with guest speakers). 

In addition to financial support, HxA staff will also provide: 

  • Resources, coaching, and technical supports for:
    • Community building
    • Event planning
    • Member recruitment
    • Formation of official faculty and/or student groups
    • Communications with college/university administration and other faculty groups
    • Communications and media relations
  • A one-day, virtual orientation workshop for Campus Community leaders (mandatory)
  • An online discussion portal for Campus Community members
  • A public listing page on the HxA website with an opportunity to make an earmarked donation to HxA 
  • Connections to potential guest speakers and partner organizations
  • Collaboration opportunities for Campus Community leaders across institutions

Application

Who is eligible to apply?

Applications are open to groups of 2-3 lead applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • All are members of HxA (check the list; apply for membership)
  • All are active professors, instructors, administrators, staff, or graduate students at the same college or university.
  • All are willing to grow the HxA Campus Community as co-chairs (or designate a replacement) through Spring 2025. 
  • All agree to the Program Expectations outlined below.

In the spirit of viewpoint diversity, HxA encourages applicant groups that include diverse perspectives along disciplinary, political, and other lines. 

In addition to the 2-3 lead applicants, a founding group may include up to 2 undergraduate students as “undergraduate affiliate(s)” who are also HxA members. This is optional.

Retired/emeritus faculty and staff are welcome to be involved in group planning but should not be lead applicants.

Application Process

Group formation. Carefully review the program information on this page. Send any questions to CampusCommunities@heterodoxacademy.org. To connect with other HxA members on your campus, consult the member directory and encourage your colleagues to apply for membership.

Application. The application form is short and simple, and applicant groups can save their progress before submitting. 

Interview. All qualified applicant groups will be invited to a Zoom call, to meet HxA team members and discuss the opportunities at your campus. 

Selection. HxA hopes to support a significant number of Campus Communities in the first cohort, but some applicants may not be approved due to resource limitations or other reasons. Approvals will be communicated on a rolling basis.

Future Cohorts. Although the application process is simple and streamlined, HxA appreciates that not all interested applicants will choose to apply in 2022. Details about a second cohort of Campus Communities, launching in Spring 2023, will be available in January.

Timeline

  • Announcement and applications open November 14, 2022
  • Rolling evaluations, including interviews, begin immediately 
  • Deadline for first-cohort applications December 9, 2022
  • Public announcement of first cohort January 9, 2023
  • Online leader orientation for first cohort held around January 13, 2023

Program Expectations

Shared Commitments

Clear expectations from the start will help HxA members decide if starting a Campus Community is the right choice. All participating groups are asked to affirm these key guidelines: 

Live the mission. Campus Community messages and events should be crafted to elevate the discourse, in keeping with The HxA Way. Partisanship, single-issue campaigns, echo chambers, and provocation-for-its-own-sake may have their place, but an HxA Campus Community is not that place. 

Build community. A new Campus Community can lay a strong foundation by recruiting members, developing relationships, and thinking deeply about campus-specific issues. That’s why Campus Communities will start with a founding period, making them better prepared for deep work and potential controversies ahead.

Speak up with courage and charity. There are many ways to influence campus culture and policy, and sometimes those include taking a public stand. Each Campus Community will consider when and how it will communicate as individuals and as a group, and how it will handle internal disagreements. 

Share the learning. As part of a national (or international) network, each Campus Community can help all HxA members learn about what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to changing the culture of colleges and universities.

Respect the process. To protect everyone involved, Campus Community co-chairs will agree to follow college/university policies; respect the nonprofit status and trademarks of Heterodox Academy; take care of the people and funding involved in this work; and keep the HxA team in the loop about events, controversies, and successes and challenges. 

The Fine Print

  • Organizations and Finances

    In most cases, a Campus Community will start as “a project of” Heterodox Academy, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, with HxA paying approved expenses directly. For example, when a Campus Community holds its first series of member meetings, event expenses such as meals and speaker fees would be charged directly to HxA.

    In many cases, Campus Community leaders will then work to form an officially sanctioned faculty group, following local rules and policies. In some cases it may also be advisable to establish an official student group and/or an independent nonprofit organization. Institutional rules and circumstances vary, and HxA staff will advise and assist Campus Community leaders in navigating local systems. 

    Over time, material support from HxA may take the form of in-kind goods and services; direct-paid expenses; grants to groups or organizations; and/or payments to individuals. Wherever possible, HxA will avoid creating the inconvenience of a reimbursement structure. 

    HxA will cultivate donors to support the work of the Campus Community at a specific campus of their choice. Gifts to HxA may be designated to support a particular Campus Community; a portion of such gifts may be used to cover HxA’s administrative costs directly relevant to the Campus Communities initiative.

    Because perceptions about our financial support can influence HxA’s brand identity and effectiveness around the world, HxA reserves the right to decline or limit any gift, or to limit Campus Community donations to donors affiliated with each institution. 

  • Naming and Branding

    Internally to HxA’s staff and membership, each Campus Community will be known simply as “Heterodox Academy – (Institution Name),” but official names may vary according to local rules and the preferences of each Campus Community. Please note that:

    • There may be local limits on the use of university names and trademarks, especially before official recognition;
    • The Campus Community should describe itself as “a Heterodox Academy Campus Community” wherever possible.
    • In the event that a Campus Community and HxA choose to part ways in the future, the continuing group would be required to stop using the trademarked terms “Heterodox Academy,” “Heterodox,” and “HxA.”

    HxA will provide further resources for using the HxA name and logo in campus-facing communications.

  • Memorandum of Understanding 

    The rules and relationships described on this page will be formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding or similar agreement between HxA and each Campus Community or its leaders.

FAQs

ABOUT HxA AND CAMPUS COMMUNITIES

  • What is Heterodox Academy?

    Heterodox Academy (HxA) is a nonpartisan nonprofit that works to improve the quality of research and education by promoting open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in institutions of higher learning. Learn more about our work. 

  • Why is HxA starting a Campus Communities Network?

    HxA has long supported specific member communities, many of whom have hosted events and conducted research on campus. In their work to Reclaim the Culture of Higher Education, HxA members have increasingly sought ways to connect in-person and engage with questions of policy and leadership that are central to campus culture. Creating HxA Campus Communities is a natural next step.

  • How is HxA different from other outside groups who come to campus?

    We aren’t an outside group. HxA is a collaborative of professors, administrators, staff, and students, and each HxA Campus Community comprises members from that specific college or university. That “insider” perspective and love for the academy shapes HxA’s approach to every conversation about improving intellectual life.

  • Does this mean HxA will be reducing its support for the existing HxCommunities?

    Not in the least. HxA’s disciplinary and regional communities will continue to be fully supported, and new opportunities for these groups will be announced soon. As a membership organization at a pivotal moment for higher education, HxA seeks to connect more members, in more ways, for more impact.

  • I’m an alumnus/alumna. Can I help bring an HxA Campus Community to my alma mater?

    We’d love to talk! Please reach the HxA team at CampusCommunities@heterodoxacademy.org.

PROGRAM DESIGN

  • How many Campus Communities will be part of the first cohort?

    There is no predetermined number. HxA will consider all completed applications and approve Campus Communities based on available resources and applicant readiness. 

  • Will the program be the same on every campus?

    No. The mission and core activities will be the same everywhere. The specific form and focus of different Campus Communities will vary based on local needs, interests, and circumstances.

  • Will HxA continue to provide financial support after the first year?

    Yes. As your Campus Community grows, HxA will continue to support it with staff time and resources. Since this is a new initiative in a pilot stage, more details are not available.

  • What if my campus is particularly hostile to certain kinds of public events?

    Don’t be discouraged from starting a Campus Community. Where, when, and how to offer public events will be something to consider with help from HxA.

  • I would like a specific guest speaker to come to my campus. Can I count on that?

    Unfortunately, no. HxA can’t guarantee any particular speaker, but the HxA team can support Campus Community leaders in planning for, inviting, and hosting interesting speakers.

  • Will every Campus Community member be required to join HxA?

    Co-chairs and undergraduate affiliates are required to be HxA members. Learn more and apply to become a member. 

    Campus Communities are encouraged to invite regular participants to become HxA members, and a larger group of HxA members will be helpful in gaining access to certain programs.

    That being said, HxA Campus Communities and their events should be “porous” and welcoming to all, particularly at campus-wide events. 

LEAD APPLICANT / CO-CHAIR ROLE

  • Will the co-chairs of Campus Communities be financially compensated?

    No, co-chair is a volunteer role.

  • Will Campus Community co-chairs’ names be publicly listed?

    Not immediately, but yes. Once a Campus Community is announced to local stakeholders, the co-chairs names will be publicly listed on HxA’s directory page. 

  • Will co-chairs need to accept funds personally and/or pay taxes on those funds?

    No. HxA will pay for program expenses directly at first, and in some cases transition to a formal funding agreement with a formal organization.

  • What if a co-chair leaves the group or the campus?

    Academic life includes graduations, sabbaticals, and other changes, which may or may not be predictable. HxA asks that lead applicants make a good-faith commitment to staying actively involved through Spring 2025, and to seek a replacement if a vacancy occurs.

  • Will Campus Community co-chairs be expected to spend time raising money?

    No. Co-chairs are welcome to connect with interested alumni and other supporters, but the typical co-chair will be a busy person who focuses time on group development and event planning.

ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION PROCESS

  • How can I find HxA members on my campus?

    Please search the public listing. 

  • I’m not an HxA member yet. Can I join now and be a lead applicant?

    Yes. Lead applicants should be HxA members or have an application pending at the time of submission. Learn more and apply to become a member.

  • My institution is outside the United States. Can I still put together an applicant group and apply?

    Yes.

  • I’m a university executive or administrator. Can I be a lead applicant?

    Yes.

  • I am active on campus now but I plan to retire by Spring 2025. Can I still be a lead applicant?

    Yes.

  • I’m an undergraduate student. How can I get involved?

    Undergraduate students can be listed in the application as affiliates. Encourage your professors, administrators, staff, and graduate student friends to get involved! At least two lead applicants (not undergraduates) are required.

  • I have an existing campus faculty group. Can we become a Campus Community?

    It depends on the specifics of the existing group’s structure and membership. Please inquire by email to CampusCommunities@heterodoxacademy.org.

  • What if more than one group applies from my institution?

    HxA will support one Campus Community per college or university. If multiple applications are submitted from the same place, HxA will coordinate with both/all of them to consider a joint effort.

  • What counts as a single college or university? Can lead applicants come from different parts of the same larger system?

    Campus Communities are meant to bring together members of the same institution, including for in-person meetings and events. A state university system is probably too large for a single Campus Community, but a college with nearby extension campuses might be just fine.

  • I am already promoting open discourse on my campus. How do I connect with HxA?

    If you have already started a group, program, or other effort to promote HxA values on your campus, please send the details to membership@heterodoxacademy.org.

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