The Contented Professors: How Conservative Faculty See Themselves within the Academy

44 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2016

See all articles by Samuel Abrams

Samuel Abrams

Sarah Lawrence College; Hoover Institution

Date Written: December 1, 2016


Liberal faculty have long outnumbered conservative faculty on college campuses and that quantity has increased substantially over the past decade. I formally show that over 60% of faculty identify as liberal compared to just over 10% being conservative in 2014 and this is quite a change from the parity present in the early 1980s. This previously unspecified ideological imbalance on campuses has led to cries of discrimination against right of center professors and scores of reports from both academic and popular press sources which have chronicled the concerns with this “beleaguered” and “oppressed” minority on campus. Drawing on the decadeslong faculty survey from the Higher Education Research Institute, I empirically examine how conservative faculty actually see themselves on campuses today and inject quantitative measures into the debate about ideological diversity among our nation’s professors. The data clearly reveal that conservative faculty are not only as satisfied with their career choice - if not more so - as their liberal counterparts, but that these faculty are also as progressive in their teaching methods and maintain almost identical outlooks toward their personal and professional lives.

Keywords: Campus Culture, Professors, Politics, Professorial Careers, Ideology, Survey Data

Suggested Citation

Abrams, Samuel, The Contented Professors: How Conservative Faculty See Themselves within the Academy (December 1, 2016). Available at SSRN:

Samuel Abrams (Contact Author)

Sarah Lawrence College ( email )

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Bronxville, NY 10708-5999
United States
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6104206706 (Fax)

Hoover Institution ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

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