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Case Studies Database

HxA’s Case Studies Database highlights a range of critical interventions that faculty, students, administrators, and staff are implementing across the landscape of American higher education. Each case reveals effective, tested strategies for cultivating open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement on campus. By sharing these stories, we hope to inspire more efforts to strengthen the university’s pursuit of truth and knowledge.

 

Use the filters to search cases by intervention type, case lead, year, state, and more. If you have implemented an effective intervention on your campus, consider submitting a case for inclusion in the database.

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Are you advancing open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement on your campus? We want to hear about it. Submit your case study for consideration.

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Explore the Database

Click on the interactive map pins — or switch to list view — to see campuses where faculty, administors, and students have implemented effective interventions. Click on the intervention title to learn more about each one.

California

  • Steven Brint
    Steven Brint Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at University of California-Riverside
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. Steven Brint, an HxA Member and participant of the HxSociology Community, is using an FFO grant to research the views of STEM scholars on the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Building on a study by Komi T. German exploring views on these policies from arts and humanities scholars and social scientists at the University of California, Brint's study will expand the sample to investigate the views of natural scientists, medical scientists, and engineers at the same campus. A presentation and panel discussion will take place next spring when the study is complete.

Colorado

  • Matt Burgess
    Matt Burgess Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at University of Colorado Boulder
Teaching Award: This Open Inquiry Award (OIA) is awarded to the educator(s) who has most effectively integrated open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, or constructive disagreement into the classroom and/or curriculum. Matthew Burgess, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, an Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Economics, and Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, is the inaugural Teaching Award winner. Burgess is an environmental scientist who believes in exposing students to a wide range of perspectives. He advocates for a bipartisan, truth-informed approach to climate change, saying, “any approach to addressing climate change that doesn’t pursue and follow the truth will fail. Any approach that is not bipartisan—nor gains broad public support—will fail in a democracy.”

District of Columbia

  • Joseph Bubman
    Joseph Bubman Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Studies, Georgetown University
  • Kira Hamman
    Kira Hamman Assistant Teaching Professor, Mathematics and Director of the Honors Program at Penn State University – Monto Alto
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. This grant-funded project advances the HxMid-Atlantic Community’s mission of promoting open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement at community colleges and four-year public and private universities across the Mid-Atlantic through 1) Dialogue Across Difference workshops and Difficult Conversations skills classes for students, and 2) sharing of lessons among educators and administrators.

  • John Hasnas
    John Hasnas Professor of Ethics, McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. John Hasnas received FFO funding to support the Symposium on the Ethics of Freedom of Speech. Twelve scholars representing diverse disciplines and ideological viewpoints were invited to consider this topic and write original essays, which were assembled into groups based on their content, for presentation at the symposium on November 19, 2021, and subsequent publication in a Georgetown University public policy journal.

Delaware

  • Lindsay Hoffman
    Lindsay Hoffman Associate Professor, Communication at University of Delaware
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. HxA member Lindsay Hoffman is utilizing an FFO grant, along with resources and buy-in from campus stakeholders, to scale up existing work and create a lasting presence at UD. Through campus experiences including a symposium and facilitated dialogue; research on best practices; and tools to help other campuses follow their lead, she is cultivating opportunities for the UD campus to model civil dialogue for the next generation.

Iowa

  • Kristi Costabile
    Kristi Costabile Associate Professor in Psychology and Director of the Social Cognition and Perception Laboratory
  • Stephanie Madon
    Stephanie Madon Professor of Psychology
Kristi Costabile's team was awarded HxA's Increasing Open Inquiry on College Campuses Research Grant (IOIOCC) which specifically funds studies of interventions that may increase college students’ empathy and perspective-taking, intellectual humility, curiosity, or open-minded cognition, or decrease their self-censorship. Costabile’s program of social cognition research suggests that narrative cognition reduces egocentric tendencies and encourages empathy for others. Her team’s research project will test the efficacy of an online intervention in which perspective-taking and empathy skills are enhanced through daily storytelling of everyday experiences. They propose that regular practice of telling stories will lead to a narrative cognition mindset that, in turn, will result in less biased social judgments.

Illinois

The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. HxA Member and HxK-12 Education Community member Christina LaRose received grant funds to organize a virtual conference, which aimed to empower stakeholders in education to advocate for, and incorporate, diverse perspectives and critical thinking in the classroom. More than 150 educators and administrators attended.

Indiana

Sara Konrath's team was awarded HxA's Increasing Open Inquiry on College Campuses Research Grant (IOIOCC) which specifically funds studies of interventions that may increase college students’ empathy and perspective-taking, intellectual humility, curiosity, or open-minded cognition, or decrease their self-censorship. College campuses are microcosms of our increasingly pluralistic society, and students often encounter others who differ from them. Konrath’s team believes that curiosity can help students empathically approach difference, rather than avoid it. Across two experiments, they will attempt to increase students’ curiosity in the hopes of motivating them to empathize with peers who hold different beliefs. Overall, this project aims to develop tools that college instructors can use in their classrooms, especially when discussing complex social topics.

Louisiana

Laurie O'Brien's team was awarded HxA's Increasing Open Inquiry on College Campuses Research Grant (IOIOCC) which specifically funds studies of interventions that may increase college students’ empathy and perspective-taking, intellectual humility, curiosity, or open-minded cognition, or decrease their self-censorship. Group norm theory (e.g., Crandall et al., 2002) is a useful framework to understand self-censorship and political opinion expression on college campuses. O‚ÄôBrien‚Äôs team proposes that fear of violating social norms can lead to self-censorship, and they will test an educational intervention to alter perceptions of campus norms. They hypothesize that educating students about existing political diversity on campus will change perceptions of local campus norms, decrease self-censorship, and increase political opinion expression.

Michigan

  • Jeffrey Breneman
    Jeffrey Breneman Vice President for Government Relations at Western Michigan University
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. Jeffrey Breneman, a member of the HxHigher Ed Leadership, is using an FFO grant to engage campus and the Kalamazoo regional community in interactive, educational opportunities that promote civil discourse, viewpoint diversity, and free speech rights and responsibilities through the We Talk initiative he and others founded in late 2019._More than 1,000 campus and community members have participated in this grassroots movement, which is committed to the idea that free speech and social justice can be reconciled and has the support of WMU students, faculty, staff, and campus and community leaders. We Talk programming is designed to shape a vision of what people can achieve by actively engaging with others with diverse backgrounds, interests, and viewpoints through learning/engagement opportunities, resources, and tools. Activities include a 2-day campus/community visit by a nationally recognized author in fall and spring semesters, monthly free speech cafés featuring campus and community panelists, and a conversational exercise that promotes connection and compassion—Moving Conversations @ WMU. Most events are recorded by student videographers, which are published on YouTube and promoted as resources available to campus and the public to support learning in the classroom, workplace and at home.

North Carolina

  • Kevin Marinelli
    Kevin Marinelli Executive Director, Program for Public Discourse at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. Through this grant-funded symposium, HxA member Kevin Marinelli is bringing together public discourse and deliberation program directors and associates from campuses across the country to connect with one another, communicate their ongoing initiatives, share their successes and challenges, engage diverse pedagogical techniques, and, ultimately, pool their intellectual resources in the effort to advance a robust framework of rhetorical and deliberative pedagogy well into the twenty-first century.

New Jersey

Exceptional Student Group Award: This Open Inquiry Award (OIA) is 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. Princeton Open Campus Coalition (POCC), an undergraduate student organization dedicated to fostering a campus environment free of fear and intolerance at Princeton University, is the 2020 Outstanding Student Group Award Winner. POCC aims to promote free speech and academic freedom and to encourage free inquiry, civil dialogue, and robust discussions between the university's affiliates.

New York

  • Jay van Bavel
    Jay van Bavel Associate Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University
  • Steve Rathje
    Steve Rathje Graduate Student at University of Cambridge; Visiting Researcher and Postdoctoral Scholar at New York University
  • Sander van der Linden
    Sander van der Linden Professor of Social Psychology in Society at University of Cambridge
Jay van Bavel's team was awarded HxA's Increasing Open Inquiry on College Campuses Research Grant (IOIOCC) which specifically funds studies of interventions that may increase college students’ empathy and perspective-taking, intellectual humility, curiosity, or open-minded cognition, or decrease their self-censorship. In a two-part project, van Bavel and team will start by connecting Twitter to self-report data to examine how certain social media behaviors correlate with various psychological traits. They aim to determine the types of Twitter accounts that tend to be followed by those who are high in open-mindedness, intellectual humility, and affective polarization. They will then instruct a large sample of participants to follow a number of “constructive” accounts associated with open-minded cognition and unfollow “polarizing” accounts associated with affective polarization. This data-driven intervention will contribute to an understanding of how online social networks can contribute to open-minded cognition and political polarization.
  • John McWhorter
    John McWhorter Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University
Leadership Award: This Open Inquiry Award (OIA) is 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. John McWhorter is a public intellectual and prolific writer who has produced counter-narratives to contentious issues steeped in orthodoxy throughout his 20+ year career. His nominator describes him as‚ "an inspiration and a gadfly in his articles on race and justice," adding that, "his role as a Black intellectual committed to a genuinely open inquiry about issues of race, policing, and justice in America has been essential. McWhorter is championing an actual conversation, in contrast to the imposed and ill-thought-through orthodoxy we are living through now."

Ohio

  • Brandon Warmke
    Brandon Warmke Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University
  • Justin Tosi
    Justin Tosi Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas Tech University
Exceptional Scholarship Award: This Open Inquiry Award (OIA) is 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 Justin Tosi is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas Tech University, and Brandon Warmke is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University. They were jointly selected as 2020 Exceptional Scholarship Award winners in part for their book, "Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk," which was featured on the Half Hour of Heterodoxy Podcast. They also co-authored, "Moral grandstanding and political polarization: a multi-study consideration," which was published in the Journal of Research in Personality.
  • Cynthia Frantz
    Cynthia Frantz Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Paul Brehm
    Paul Brehm Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Steven Gray
    Steven Gray Associate Professor in theDepartment of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University
  • Rebecca Jordan
    Rebecca Jordan Professor and Chairperson of theDepartment of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University
  • Evan Kresch
    Evan Kresch Assistant Professor of Economics at Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • John Petersen
    John Petersen Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology at Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Rumi Shammin
    Rumi Shammin Professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Johanna Jauernig
    Johanna Jauernig Research Associate at Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies`
Cynthia Frantz's team was awarded HxA's Increasing Open Inquiry on College Campuses Research Grant (IOIOCC) which specifically funds studies of interventions that may increase college students’ empathy and perspective-taking, intellectual humility, curiosity, or open-minded cognition, or decrease their self-censorship. When thinking about complex and controversial topics such as systemic racism, socialist policies, or climate change, we all have assumptions — some explicit, some implicit — about what factors are important and how they relate to each other. Disagreements between people on different sides of an issue often stem from differences in these “mental models.” In this experimental project, Frantz’s team will employ the fuzzy cognitive mapping software “Mental Modeler” (developed by co-PI Gray) as a tool to students (1) articulate implicit and explicit assumptions about their understanding of controversial societal issues, and (2) understand the viewpoints of those who disagree with them.

Pennsylvania

  • Kira Hamman
    Kira Hamman Assistant Teaching Professor, Mathematics and Director of the Honors Program at Penn State University – Monto Alto
  • Joseph Bubman
    Joseph Bubman Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Studies, Georgetown University
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. This grant-funded project advances the HxMid-Atlantic Community’s mission of promoting open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement at community colleges and four-year public and private universities across the Mid-Atlantic through 1) Dialogue Across Difference workshops and Difficult Conversations skills classes for students, and 2) sharing of lessons among educators and administrators.

Texas

  • Justin Tosi
    Justin Tosi Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas Tech University
  • Brandon Warmke
    Brandon Warmke Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University
Exceptional Scholarship Award: This Open Inquiry Award (OIA) is 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 Justin Tosi is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas Tech University, and Brandon Warmke is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University. They were jointly selected as 2020 Exceptional Scholarship Award winners in part for their book, "Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk," which was featured on the Half Hour of Heterodoxy Podcast. They also co-authored, "Moral grandstanding and political polarization: a multi-study consideration," which was published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

Utah

  • Jeff Glenn
    Jeff Glenn Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at Brigham Young University
  • Cougar Hall
    Cougar Hall Professor in the Department of Public Health at Brigham Young University
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. Jeff Glenn and Cougar Hall will partner with Living Room Conversations to organize and evaluate a series of on-campus conversations in which students with diverse perspectives participate in structured dialogues around divisive public health-related topics such as COVID-19, mental health, and racism. The grant-funded project will train undergraduate students to facilitate these conversations with the goal of increasing respect and shared understanding across differences at BYU and in the broader community.

Virginia

The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. Funded by an FFO grant, Siddhartha Roy, HxEES Moderator, spoke with Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, on research integrity, the self-correcting (?) nature of science, and the scientific and political reasons guiding or obstructing journal retractions in our COVID-19 era.

  • Mike Weaver
    Mike Weaver Director of the Bradley Study Center at Virginia Tech
  • Ellington Graves
    Ellington Graves Director of Africana Studies in the Department of Sociology and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Virginia Tech
The HxCommunities Flexible Funding Opportunity (FFO) is a grant award of up to $30,000 to support programs, projects, and events which demonstrate support of and/or have the potential to promote the heterodox values of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in education. The Bradley Study Center and the Virginia Tech Office for Inclusion and Diversity partnered for this FFO-funded project to support a campus-wide dialogue on freedom of expression and civil discourse. Professors Robert George, Princeton University, and Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary, engaged in a public conversation on the Virginia Tech campus on March 17, 2022, focusing on the importance of both free speech and civil discourse. A series of in-person and virtual discussions among students and faculty to address the challenges of fostering these core values within the unique context of Virginia Tech followed the event.
Not seeing your state? Submit your case study for consideration. submit a case study

About the Data

HxA's Case Studies Database relies on institutional data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS is a system of twelve interrelated surveys conducted annually by the National Center for Education Statistics to describe post-secondary education in the United States. IPEDS mandatorily gathers information from colleges, universities, and technical/vocational institutions that participate in federal student financial aid programs. Institutions that are not eligible for federal student aid may voluntarily request to be a part of IPEDS. Learn more about IPEDS here.

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