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controversial topics

To Tease Out Heterogeneity and Combat Polarization, Make Some Topics *More* Controversial

It has long been a talking point on the right that leftist professors are ‘indoctrinating’ college kids (an elaboration on why many quite reasonably hold this belief is available here). However, a number of recent studies suggest that this narrative is incorrect: students can reliably determine what their professors’ political beliefs are, and when they..

institutional service

Shaping Campus Culture through Institutional Service

Whether at a small residential college or a huge university, professors are typically expected to do at least some institutional service.  In fact, at those colleges and universities with a particularly strong tradition of faculty governance, the service load can ostensibly account for as much as third of a faculty member’s workload; the actual time..

Viewpoint Diversity

Viewpoint Diversity in Student Affairs

Viewpoint diversity criticisms have become increasingly commonplace within higher education. While most concerns focus on the potential chilling effects of ideological disparity among faculty members, criticisms aimed at student affairs administrators have started to gain traction in recent years. Sam Abrams, professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College, began the discussion with his 2018 study..

free speech

There’s Been a Lot of Talk About Campus Free Speech Problems. It’s Time to Focus on Solutions

Two months into the new school year and it’s clear that free speech challenges on campus are not going away. Amid ongoing tensions over censorious protests, controversial speakers, and resignations, there have been new lawsuits over student organizations and bias response systems that continue to make waves. The federal government has issued a new warning..

active listening

Want Free Speech and Meaningful Classes on Campus? Encourage Listening.

Well-publicized incidents of speakers being disinvited or shouted down on college campuses, “watch lists” that single out professors at ideological variance from the lists’ creators, and general education classes that many students cannot imagine have real world utility are among the many things that have led some to declare a “crisis” in higher education.  The..

faculty step up

Faculty, It’s Time to Step Up

Colleges have a responsibility to create environments where curious students can explore and grow. Heterodox Academy has guided this effort by drawing attention to the need for increasing open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in academia. Now it’s up to us to do the work. In 2017 I worked with a small group of..


How Universities Have Been Part of the Problem (And Can Be Part of the Solution) for America’s Civic Crises

The United States has seen great increases in how many of us take part in higher education. The percent of Americans who’ve completed four years or more of college has grown nearly sevenfold  just since 1940. Illiteracy rates have plummeted. We have even seen consistent growth in Americans’ average IQ, the so-called “Flynn Effect” from..

flip side logo

Using The Flip Side in the Classroom

In today’s hyper-partisan world, it’s a small comfort to know that Democrats and Republicans at least agree about their disagreements. In a recent survey, 81% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and 76% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said Republican and Democratic voters cannot agree on basic facts of issues. Their viewpoint was validated by a..

curiosity memorization

Curiosity is One Key to Heterodoxy. Forced Memorization is Not

Research shows that intellectual curiosity and openness to ideas are important for academic success. These traits are also relevant for heterodoxy—that is, the more curious people are, the more they will be appreciative of different viewpoints. Studies show that curiosity (but not knowledge) predicts bipartisan attitude convergence about environmental threats such as climate change. Thus,..