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Applied Heterodoxy: Fostering Ideological Diversity (Without it Blowing Up In Your Face)

Virtual June 2, 2021 Members and Graduate Affiliates Only

Main Workshop: Wednesday, June 2 (5–6:30pm ET)
Follow-Up Sessions: June 8, June 14, June 18 

The critical need to preserve space for viewpoint diversity has never been clearer – on campus and off. But how exactly to go about doing that practically is less clear. Is it possible to cultivate heterodoxy in ways that build trust while proactively diffusing likely concerns that could arise in the current fearful environment? Applied Heterodoxy 101 summarized best practice conclusions based on decades of experience doing this on the ground — taking concrete steps to create a climate where diverse viewpoints thrive while leaving relationships intact. Beyond the usual agonizing soul-searching and clashes of will, there is good news: namely, a set of accessible strategies that make heterodoxy more achievable (and more enjoyable) than you might think.

The first session shared practical insights gained from three specific approaches we’ve experimented with in over a decade of applying Moral Foundations Theory to the thorny problem of our deepening divisions (campus-wide model, classroom-based model, and community-based model). We shared data we’ve gathered evaluating these approaches, alongside introducing frame-shifting concepts for establishing a culture that embraces difference of opinion. That includes frameworks to elevate the practice of heterodoxy, group strategies to prevent the usual “us vs. them,” and indirect means for defusing escalation of tension (or “what billiards can teach us about conflict resolution”).

The second session was a smaller group workshop experience where we went deeper with a limited number of participants. Based on a survey of participants, each workshop squarely addressed key challenges and concerns of each cohort — applying more directly practiced insights from the first session, sharing innovations and brainstorming solutions. Accepted applicants were able to choose from three dates for the second session.

About the workshop leaders:

  • Workshop Leaders for Applied Heterodoxy

    This course pairs two colleagues whose relationship formed around how very much they disagree — Dr. Jacob Hess, co-author of “You’re Not As Crazy As I Thought (But You’re Still Wrong)” and Liz Joyner, Founder & CEO of The Village Square, one of America’s most innovative civic incubators. They’re such fans of disagreeing they teamed up to create Respect + Rebellion, a speaker’s bureau for heterodox pairs just like themselves. Dr. Hess works at a tech company that makes apps to overcome pornography addiction, chemical dependency, and depression, and is Editor-in-Chief at Public Square magazine.  Previously a practicing clinical social worker, Ms. Joyner has applied her training to address the growing partisan divide in what former NEH Chair Jim Leach called “a model for the land.”

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Heterodox events are public conversations among academics and experts on a focused topic that offer an opportunity to showcase our values in action, and provide timely discussion of pressing topics. We are currently hosting regular virtual events in addition to periodic live events. Nearly all events, virtual or live, will be recorded and posted on our YouTube channel following the event.


If you have any questions about our events, inquiries about accessibility, or requests for accommodations, please contact us at

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