0xEph, a (new?) valued member of the EphBlog community asks:

I think that Williams would be a better educational institution if professors modeled thoughtful approaches to issues rooted in a wider range of intellectual and ideological traditions. How do you do this, though?

Almost any method that works with regard to racial diversity can be used to increase political diversity.

No one would ever ask you directly if you are a “Republican” just as no one now ever asks you directly if you are an “Hispanic.” They look for markers, for the emphasis you place on your ethnic heritage, for the claims you make — in your resume, your personal statement, your cover letter and your recommendation letters — about it. The same would apply for political diversity. Candidates interested in highlighting their politics would do so. Candidates who choose not to do so may safely be presumed to not be planning on being engaged in the campus conversation about politics. And that is OK! But Williams would have no more problem identifying and hiring (openly) politically diverse Ph.D.’s than it does identifying and hiring Hispanics.

Do you list political club membership on your resume? Do you volunteer to help Republican/Libertarian/Conservative non-profits? Have you spoken to such organizations? Are you a member of Heterodox Academy or the National Association of Scholars or the Federalist Society? Have you written op-eds or blog posts about your political views? Are you active, at your current university, in the conversation about political diversity? And so on.

During your campus interview, no one would ever ask something as stupid as “Are you Hispanic?” or “Are you a conservative?” That would probably be illegal and, even worse, would be rude. Instead, you will be asked open-ended questions about how you see yourself, outside of the classroom, participating in the Williams community, about how your background prepares you for that role, about what viewpoints you think might be missing. You then get to tell Williams anything you like.

Every single method which Williams has used for decades to increase racial diversity could be used to increase political diversity.

First, provide a count. You can’t fix what you don’t measure. Williams counts the number of Black faculty, and makes that number public. We could do the same for various measures of ideological diversity.

Second, create a parallel to the Bolin Fellowships — perhaps the EphBlog Fellowships — which would provide funding for conservative Ph.D. students to come to Williams, teach a class or two, and work on their research.

Third, create and nurture academic structures which would naturally hire more ideologically diverse faculty, in the same way that certain departments at Williams are much more likely to hire racially diverse faculty. Looked at a certain way, Leadership Studies, and its associated Stanley Kaplan secret funding sources, does this already.

Fourth, bribe departments. Former Faculty Dean Buell has been, for years, telling departments that, even if they aren’t authorized to hire someone this year, she would be willing to entertain “opportunity” hires of Black/Hispanic candidates. Why not do the same for candidates who increase the ideological diversity at Williams?

You can argue that political diversity is not important and that Williams should no more care about the politics of individual faculty members than it cares about their astrological sign. That is a defensible position. But the suggestion that Williams could not, if it chose to, easily increase political diversity among the faculty is just nonsense.

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