PS: Political Science & Politics

The Profession

Diversifying the Academy: How Conservative Academics Can Thrive in Liberal Academia

Robert Marantoa1 and Matthew Woessnera2

a1 University of Arkansas

a2 Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg


Researchers have long recognized that higher education is dominated by professors whose politics are well to the left of the American political center. The cause and implications of this ideological imbalance have been intensely debated since the 1960s. Although critics of higher education, such as David Horowitz, argue that the political imbalance in academia is largely the result of ideological discrimination, emerging research on the views, values, and experiences of the professoriate tells a more complex story. Despite the relatively small numbers in the academy, the findings suggest that many conservative scholars can succeed in a predominantly liberal environment. Drawing on the latest research, as well as their own personal experience, the authors outline steps that conservative faculty can take to avoid needless political conflict and work happily in a profession largely dominated by the Left.

Robert Maranto is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership, in the department of education reform at the University of Arkansas. He can be reached at

Matthew Woessner is associate professor of public policy in the School of Public Affairs at Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg. He can be reached at