Phi Beta Cons

If a Student Is Actually Looking for Intellectual Diversity….

Suppose that your soon-to-enter-college son or daughter wants to attend a diverse school — diverse, that is, not in the sense of a student body with just the right percentages of people from every possible group, but diverse in faculty philosophy. This student actually relishes intellectual combat and does not want an academic monoculture. Is there any useful information in that regard?

Yes, there is. Heterodox Academy has just posted its Guide to the Most (and Least) Politically Diverse Colleges, First Edition. Jon Shields and Josh Dunn compiled the list, and write, “But after locating more than 200 self identified libertarian and conservative professors in six disciplines in the social sciences and humanities… we discovered that they are not evenly sprinkled across elite colleges and universities. In fact, many prestigious universities have no libertarians or conservatives at all. But happily, a few excellent schools, though still dominated by progressive academics, employ at least some right-of-center professors across a range of departments in the social sciences and humanities.”

Among the institutions that look pretty good in their analysis are Emory, George Mason, UVA, Texas, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, and (to a lesser extent) Harvard. Most of the Ivy League, however, is bad when it comes to intellectual diversity.

For all the rhetoric we hear about how student body diversity is so important to improving the educational environment on a campus (an extremely dubious claim that ought to attract some truly strict scrutiny from the Supreme Court when it rehears Fisher next week), you’d think that colleges would make at least some effort at getting an intellectually diverse faculty. That does not appear to be the case. You look in vain for faculty postings that say, “libertarian or conservative scholars encouraged to apply.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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