The Dearth of Conservative Professors Explained

Liberals outnumber conservatives in the academy. That’s a known fact. What explains this divergence? Some have attributed it to liberals creating a hostile environment for conservatives. But new research calls that view into question and offers an intriguing alternative explanation.

As described in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Matthew Woessner (a conservative academic) and April Kelly-Woessner (a liberal academic) looked at surveys completed by 15,569 college seniors, and what an analysis of the data suggests is that “the personal priorities of those on the left are more compatible with pursuing a Ph.D.” “Liberalism is more closely associated with a desire for excitement, an interest in creative outlets, and an aversion to a structured work environment. Conservatives express greater interest in financial success and stronger desires to raise families. From this perspective, the ideological imbalance that permeates much of academia may be somewhat intractable.” Or, put differently, this imbalance may not be going away any time soon.

To delve further into their research, you can read their report online here.

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  • Stephen says:

    Would you not also say that historically it is true that in general “liberals” believe that science and research will reveal answers to improve the human condition (humanism), whereas conservatives have tended to have viewed creation as a divine order which is inherently, therefore, impossible for man to fully understand and master?

    If this is the case, then there is obviously more motivation for the liberal thinker than the conservative thinker to pursue higher-level research.

    (I do not think that there are many who hold fast to either position as outlined above; I am presenting generalities to see whether we can find any answers through these stereotypes.)

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