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The nomination period for the 2020 Open Inquiry Awards has closed. HxA expects to announce the award winners in December 2020. In the meantime, you may review past award winners.

In order to address society’s most intractable problems, learners must weave together the best ideas from heterodox perspectives. In their absence, important questions and ideas can go unexplored, key assumptions can go unchallenged, and tribalism can go unchecked, eroding the quality of research and teaching. To honor the institutions and individuals doing the complex work of improving classrooms, campuses, and scholarship, Heterodox Academy (HxA) seeks nominations for the 2020 HxA Open Inquiry Awards.

HxA’s U.S.-based* members, graduate affiliates, and student affiliates participated in the award nomination process, which closed September 15, 2020.

If you do not belong to one of these groups, learn how to join HxA here.

We recognize the extreme impact that COVID-19 has had on higher education, and we hope that our community will submit nominations for their colleagues who have done excellent work through this crisis – for those who have continued their great work and those who have risen to the challenges currently facing higher education.

*As a 501c3 organization registered in the United States, HxA is unfortunately prohibited from running certain programming outside of the United States. 

Categories for Nomination

Institutional Excellence Award: For the college or university – or center or institute operating as part of a college or university – that has done the most to advance or sustain open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement either on its own campus or nationally.*

Leadership Award: For the person who has most effectively championed the principles of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in the academy and beyond.

Courage Award: For the person who has demonstrated consistent courage in pursuing truth, and embodies bravery in championing the principles of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in the academy despite social and professional costs.

Exceptional Scholarship Award: For the academic(s) who, through research or another form of scholarship, has best advanced knowledge of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, or constructive disagreement.

Outstanding Student(s) or Student Group(s) Award: Given to undergraduate or graduate students (or student groups) who have made vital and durable contributions to open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement on their campus.

Teaching Award: For the teacher(s) who has most effectively integrated open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, or constructive disagreement into the classroom and/or curriculum.

*As of August 11, 2020, the Institutional Excellence Award has been expanded to include centers and institutes operating as part of colleges and universities. The award was previously only open to colleges and universities.


Nominators must meet the following criteria*:

  • Be a member, graduate affiliate, or student affiliate
  • Those awaiting approval for their member or affiliate application may nominate, but if rejected the nomination will not be considered
  • Be a legal resident of the United States
  • Be at least 18 years of age and not a minor in their state of residence

*Please review awards rules for full criteria.

Awards Process

Members of HxA’s Open Inquiry Awards Committee will independently review the full slate of nominations for each award. They will meet to develop a shortlist of three to five nominations per awards category based on the above Evaluation Criteria. The Awards Committee may also decide not to short-list any nominees in an award category. The shortlists will be presented to HxA’s management team, the HxA Advisory Council, and the HxA Board of Directors, all of whom will review the short-list nominations, and then vote to select the winner(s) for each award. 

Those voting will also evaluate nominees based on the above Evaluation Criteria. The nominee from the shortlist who receives the greatest number of votes will be the awardee from that category. In the event of a tie, there will be a run-off vote. The winners will be announced in December 2020.

Review Past Award Winners

Download Call for Nominations

Review Awards Rules

Please contact us at with any questions you may have about this opportunity.

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