Inaugural members include Boise State University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of California, Berkeley
Heterodox Academy (HxA) is the world’s largest nonpartisan nonprofit member organization committed to improving research and education by promoting the ideals of viewpoint diversity, open inquiry and constructive disagreement. The HxA membership is made up of more than 5,400 faculty, staff and students who come from a range of institutions – from large research universities to community colleges. They represent nearly every discipline and are distributed throughout 49 states and across the globe.
The HxA Campus Community Network aims to influence campus culture and institutional practices by activating and empowering members to promote HxA ideals. Boise State is one of 23 campuses chosen among the initial cohort. Other campuses include Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley.
All member institutions went through a selective process, including interviews with HxA leadership, before being chosen. According to HxA President John Tomasi, “Boise State University stood out to us as a great example of how interdisciplinary scholars with diverse viewpoints can come together to build something new. Boise State’s co-chairs show tremendous promise to build a thriving campus community, and have already demonstrated HxA’s values through their campus work. We can’t wait to see their contributions in this new capacity.”
The co-chairs of the HxA Campus Community at Boise State are Nafees Alam, assistant professor in the School of Social Work; Don Plumlee, associate professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering and associate dean of the College of Engineering; and Matt Recla, associate director of University Foundations.
Alam states, “HxA’s vision, ‘great minds don’t always think alike’, sets the standard for viewpoint diversity and inclusion, consistent with the contents of our character. We often think of diversity and inclusion in the context of external demographics, it’s time we consider diversity and inclusion in the context of internal demographics.”
Recla notes, “Over the past few years, I’ve had conversations with faculty and students that represent a wide variety of perspectives on the complex and controversial issues on our campus, in the Boise community, in Idaho and in the nation more broadly. Two things in common among many of these conversations are a concern that the views they represent will be criticized or censored, but also a desire for spaces to share, to listen, and to learn.”
Boise State’s HxA Campus Community has long-term objectives of providing a forum for faculty, staff and students to express differing viewpoints modeled on HxA values of open inquiry and constructive disagreement. It is partnering with the Institute for Advancing American Values in pursuing its aims. IAAV has been working since 2020 to promote conversation across different viewpoints through events such as the Distinguished Lecture Series, Idaho Listens and Boise State Listens events, which draw university and community members from diverse walks of life. Andrew Finstuen, the inaugural director of the institute sees the partnership with HxA as a chance “to further the institute’s mission to talk and listen to each other respectfully about the issues and values that have shaped the Treasure Valley, the state and the nation.”
The Institute for Advancing American Values and Boise State’s HxA Campus Community invite university faculty to a welcome event on March 9 at the Alumni and Friends Center, where they will briefly share ongoing events and share plans for exciting endeavors involving the university and community. Hors d’ oeuvres and refreshments will be provided.
Students, faculty or staff interested in learning more can contact any of the Campus Community co-chairs: Nafees Alam (email@example.com), Don Plumlee (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Matt Recla (email@example.com).