Reason Podcast

Heterodox Academy Fights For Intellectual Freedom and Diversity Among Professors: Podcast

Deb Mashek explains why intellectual diversity can't be optional if we're serious about higher education.


Heterodox Academy

For all the student speech that's being squashed on college campuses these days, higher education faces an even-more serious threat: intellectual conformity among professors, researchers, and scholars. Over the past 25 years, for instance, the "American academy went from leaning left to being almost entirely on the left. Similar trends and problems are occurring in the UK and Canada."

Enter Heterodox Academy, a group of academics and scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and research sciences that has its origins in a blog started in 2015 by New York University's Jonathan Haidt. The group currently claims over 1,800 professors and graduate students as members whose mission is "to improve the quality of research and education in universities by increasing viewpoint diversity, mutual understanding, and constructive disagreement."

"Ideological frameworks, including political orientation, powerfully inform the assumptions scholars and professors make, the questions they ask, the outcomes they value, and the way they interpret their data and their world," Heterodox's founding documents argue. "When campuses don't include ideologically diverse voices and don't engage seriously with dissenting ideas, students and scholars miss the opportunity for their thinking to be challenged." The group offers a wide-range of resources, ranging from a blog to a podcast to an online library of texts and videos, that are designed to help start and sustain wide-ranging, serious conversations among academics.

Headquartered in New York, Heterodox Academy recently sponsored a day-long "Open Mind" conference (you can watch the whole thing on the group's website) featuring scholars and journalists from all over the political spectrum.

I spoke with Heterodox Academy's Deb Mashek about her goals for the conference and the group. A Ph.D. in social-and-health psychology who was a full professor at Harvey Mudd College in California, she became Heterodox Academy's first full-time executive director earlier this year.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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  1. You can’t have diversity if you are all supposed to think the same way.

    1. I’m making $80 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $120 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss. This is what I do…

    2. Lefties need a propaganda arms of the Democratic Party and they found it at collegeses.

  2. There’s nothing wrong with out liberal/libertarian colleges which can’t be fixed by removing the threat of right-wing bigoted can’t-keep-up goobers. Why don’t you hicks go back to Bob Jones University instead of bothering your betters?

    /Somebody had to say it

  3. Not seeing the transcription…

  4. I can’t see universities suddenly instituting affirmative action for what they see as Nazis, even though they do have the Molotov-Ribbentrop precedent.

    More likely, I think the horrendous student loans, bureaucracy, and SJW mentality will make online education more attractive while leaving trad universities tp those idiots who don’t want an actual education. Students in practical programs (engineers and hard sciences) will pay for college with apprentice-like jobs, or arrange with investors to treat their education as an investment. No real idea. I just believe that this SJW-ridden bureaucratic nightmares can’t continue to get worse and worse and still maintain “responsibility” for higher education. Something’s got to give, and it wlll be the capable leaving the SJWs in the dust.

    1. The colleges and professors see this trend and are fighting more skills based apprenceticeships.

  5. I celebrate your diversity as long as you agree with me.

    Join me in a 1993 flashback protest and we mob flash the movie theatre for showing Mrs Doubtfire.

    The crime of giving the female lead to a male shall not go unpunished even in the past.

  6. Heterodox studies take place at almost all colleges.

    Just look for the such-and-such professor of Marxism.

  7. Nice, but this really needs to be taken to the next level:…..-u-why-not

  8. The problem is that left wing academics in the humanities view any conservative view as simply beyond the pale, invalid, and a violation of academic norms. Views such as men and women differ, capitalism is good, communism is bad, religion is good, feelings are not as important as logic and evidence, and the founding fathers and great minds of the past should be studied. All of these things are completely out of bounds so how could someone with these views get hired?

    1. Certain disciplines do seem to be almost entirely corrupt in that way. I don’t think it’s all of the humanities, but it’s getting close.
      If there is anything essential to learn from a liberal arts education it is how to write well and effectively and how to be intellectually rigorous. I think a lot of college programs are failing badly at teaching these skills.

  9. If she gave up a full professorship at Harvey Mudd, then are they going backwards? Or is HM one of the few places where it is safe to be nonlefty?

  10. Under 60% = almost all?

    1. “Almost no conservatives or right-wingers” would appear to be more accurate.

  11. Just restart McCarthyism and drive all the marxists out of their jobs. Blacklists galore. Communists should never be teaching anyone ever.

    1. At this point it would probably just get turned around and used to drive out the rest of the non-leftist academics. That has the same problems as hate speech laws. It has to be a cultural shift and I don’t know how that’s going to happen at the universities.

    1. She says in her article “but we are not arguing about whether we should open up an Obamacare exchange in Chad.”

      But that’s exactly what we are arguing. The left thinks we should provide the welfare state to anyone from anywhere who makes it here, plus pretty much all of Mexico.

    2. Man, there is a lot of stupid shit on that twit-thread.

      1. “the Trump-Fox-NRA right”

        Balko’s shift to the progressive left is finally complete, it seems.

        1. Something something something dark side.
          Something something something complete.

  12. “When campuses don’t include ideologically diverse voices and don’t engage seriously with dissenting ideas, students and scholars miss the opportunity for their thinking to be challenged.”

    What the hell makes you think the statists want their ‘thinking’ challenged?
    They took over education for a specific reason. To fully implement newspeak in the next two generations.
    Newspeak is the true terror of 1984, not the damn cameras – – – – – –
    The great-grandchildren of the baby boomers will not be able to think, let alone say, the phrase “individual rights”.

    1. This is why these people should be beaten and imprisoned where we find them. They have declared war on individual freedom. Better stop them before they actually succeed.

  13. Excellent podcast, but I’d suggest, for the future, shock collars for host and guests that will deliver a jolt whenever the wearer says “whatnot” more than twice.

  14. Britain is totally losing freedom of speech, probably due to their tradition of a vague “living” definition of what democracy might be rather than trying to write down a few key points that just can’t be shortchanged. Lately you have the idea in England that reporters can be tossed in prison for reporting on what courts are up to in controversial and secret trials of older males of a certain religious/ethnic persuasion who were marrying very young girls indeed.

    Then there is the new rule that “conversion therapy” should be a crime in Great Britain. I do not advocate anyone kidnapping gay people off the street and forcibly trying to convert them (not even parents) but I certainly do not understand why someone who is unhappy with the gay lifestyle and wanting to leave it should not be able to talk to anyone they want about it. So what if Group X claims that no therapy works and all are harmful? There are many thousands of therapists out there for weight loss and very few folks who lose lbs and keep them off. Yo-yoing is bad, experts say. Maybe all therapies should be outlawed.

    Former Congressman Anthony Wiener (aka Carlos Danger) was spotted not long ago undergoing his sexual behaviors modification therapy, which apparently involved going on a group horse back ride in a park. Wiener was hanging on to the saddle horn with both hands and looking terrified.

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