Colleges have become increasingly characterized by orthodoxy in what types of questions can be asked and what sort of ideas can be shared. This is as true in the research lab as it is in the classroom: professors and students alike describe the toll that self-censoring and the threat of social censure have taken on learning, discovery, and growth. While many have signaled alarm about the state of open inquiry on American college campuses and in scholarship, efforts to address the concerns have lacked the systematic coherence that will be needed to create durable culture change. With support from the Templeton Foundation, Heterodox Academy will cultivate that coherence by engaging the Big Question: How do flawed human beings find truth? We seek funding for six specific activities, linked together in our theory of change: (1) Convene scholars to interrogate the role of viewpoint diversity in research and the disciplines; (2) Collect nationally representative benchmark data using the HxA Campus Expression Survey; (3) Identify and develop metrics to measure campus climate; (4) Identify and develop interventions to improve campus climate; (5) Create the HxA Distinguished Academy honor; and (6) Expand our HxDisciplines initiative. If successful, students, faculty, and administrators will be eager to engage with people who see things differently, ready to dig into evidence and argument with openness, intellectual humility, and curiosity, and at the same time thinking critically about the quality of evidence and argument. All of us will live up to the aspiration and promise of the academy with confidence and conviction that ideas are at the very core of why this revered institution exists. And, as students leave the academy to tackle the many pursuits that await them, they will do so with the habits of heart and mind firmly in place that will enable them to engage constructively, creatively, and effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
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