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Tools & Resources

Guides & How-To's

Resource Guide: Why Open Inquiry Matters

“The whole educational process will be enriched
and enlivened by a multiplicity of voices and perspectives

– Nadine Strossen, Former President of the ACLU

Over the past twelve months, there has been a marked rise in legislative attempts to restrict speech of faculty and staff at universities across the United States. Threats to open inquiry (the ability to ask genuine questions and share ideas without fear of rebuke or censure), however, are not new, nor are they the domain of any particular political party. Our 2020 Campus Expression Survey data show that roughly half of undergraduate students in the U.S., regardless of their political ideology, agreed that the climate on their campus prevents people from saying things because others may find them offensive. Many faculty members, administrators, and staff at universities have expressed similar concerns

In an environment where open inquiry is not valued, effects on research and learning  can be severe: special interests can set back or snuff out important innovations, avoidable problems can fester and spread, and personal and intellectual growth can be stunted.

We’ve therefore compiled HxA event recordings, blog posts, podcast episodes, and tools on the value of, and debates around, open inquiry, academic freedom, and free speech in education, which we hope will spark conversation and demonstrate the relevance and importance of these topics. We encourage you to use them in your classrooms and on your campuses.

HxA Top Picks

Event Recordings

  • Why Heterodoxy Matters in the World
    Steven Pinker, best-selling author, Harvard Professor of Psychology, and HxA member, considers why open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement matter beyond the academy.
  • A Fine Balance: Academic Freedom and Academic Responsibility
    Former college presidents Judith Shapiro and Brian Rosenberg discuss academic responsibility and what it means for professors to have full freedom in the classroom and in their research.
  • Which Ideas Gain Entry to the Academy?
    Panelists Coleman Hughes, Dan Mogulof, Judith Shapiro, and Keith Whittington analyze the claim that the academy would benefit from a wider range of viewpoints.
  • Does Mill Still Matter?
    In honor of the second edition release of All Minus One, this panel conversation with editors Jonathan Haidt and Richard Reeves and illustrator Dave Cicirelli addresses the importance of open inquiry in society.
  • Big Questions and Heterodox Answers
    Alice Dreger, Shadi Hamid, Angus Johnston, John McWhorter, Jason Stanley, and Kmele Foster identify key tensions and unanswered questions vis-à-vis viewpoint diversity, open inquiry, and constructive disagreement in the academy and beyond. 

Blog Posts

Reports

  • Campus Expression Survey (CES)
    Each year since 2018, HxA has administered the CES survey to gauge the extent to which college students believe that they can safely express their opinions on campus.
  • Gallup-Knight Data
    In 2016, Gallup, the Knight Foundation, and the Newseum Institute conducted a landmark study on free expression on campus. HxA hosts this data and makes it available for analysis using an easy, intuitive, and accessible visualization tool.
  • Academic Freedom in the UK
    A summary of a report about attitudes towards academic freedom in the UK conducted by Eric Kaufmann, Professor and Assistant Dean of Politics at University of London, and Tom Simpson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at University of Oxford.
  • Attitudes About Free Speech on Campus are Changing (Part 1)
    In this three-part series, former HxA researcher Sean Stevens analyzes data in response to claims from skeptics that the threats to open inquiry and free speech on college campuses are overblown. See Part 2 and Part 3.
  • Few Academics Support Cancel Culture
    Eric Kaufman shows that only 1 in 10 academics in the social sciences and humanities back campaigns to dismiss professors who report controversial findings around race and gender. 

Podcast Episodes

Tools and Resources

  • All Minus One
    Based on John Stuart Mill’s famous essay, On Liberty, Mill’s work comes to life in a way that is accessible and relevant to modern readers. This page includes activities for classroom settings.
  • The HxA Way
    Use these five norms and values in classrooms and at events to facilitate open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement.
  • PEN America Campus Free Speech Guide
    Practical, principled guidance for students, faculty, and administrators with the aim of keeping campuses open to a broad range of ideas and perspectives.
  • Discussion Guide: Your Voice is Your Superpower This book and discussion guide introduce young children to viewpoint diversity and free speech.
  • Campus Expression Survey (CES) Manual
    To gauge the extent to which college students believe that they can safely express their opinions on your campus, you can administer the CES on your campus using this administration manual.
Tools & resources Thumbnail

Contribute tools & resources

We are compiling a compendium of initiatives, policies, programs, and other innovations that have been deployed in classrooms, on campuses, and in disciplines to support open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement. We want to hear practical strategies, tools, and resources that have worked for you, and that others can readily adapt and implement in their own institutions. These can range from entire courses to syllabi, reading lists, and research. Learn more & contribute.

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