In celebration of the hundredth issue of its journal, Academic Questions, the National Association of Scholars has published an article from the journal online titled “One Hundred Great Ideas for Higher Education.” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff was invited to submit one of these hundred ideas, and his suggestion was that colleges should teach the habit of debate. Why?
This simple practice is essential to overcoming “confirmation bias” and parochialism. The modern academy teaches students through word and, more powerfully, through example, the exact opposite of independent thought. Students and professors report that it is not “safe” to “hold unpopular views on campus,” and research indicates that a strong relationship exists between one’s level of education and the number of dissenting viewpoints encountered: Those with the least education talk to the greatest number of people with whom they disagree, while those with the highest level of education talk to the lowest.
Greg has more in the article, so please take a look. Longtime Torch readers will recognize a lot of other names among those making suggestions as well.