Conservative Studies at the University of Colorado

Last week, the University of Colorado announced that Steven Hayward has accepted a one-year appointment as the university’s first “Visiting scholar in Conservative Though and Policy.”  Hayward, who holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Claremont Graduate School is the author of several books, including volumes on Reagan and Churchill, and has held positions at the American Enterprise Institute, Pacific Research Institute, and the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. He is also a contributor to Powerline, where he announced his appointment.  While at Colorado, Hayward will teach four courses, including two in Constitutional Law, one in political thought, and one on “Free Market Environmentalism.” Here are reports on the appointment from the WSJ and Chronicle of Higher Education.

Hayward’s appointment is the result of the University’s efforts to respond to complaints that there is a lack of ideological and viewpoint diversity on the faculty.  While Hayward’s appointment is for one year, the position is privately funded for the next three years, largely by university alumni.  Others considered for the appointment included Linda Chavez and the Brookings Institution’s Ron Haskins.

Is Hayward’s appointment a good thing for viewpoint diversity on university campuses?  While his presence will provide some additional viewpoint diversity on the Colorado campus, it also smacks of the sort of tokenism many on the Right condemn.  Peter Lawler sees the appointment as “conservative affirmative action” and Max Boot fears this sort of thing will encourage the further academic ghettoization of conservative thought.  Jim Huffman, former dean at the Lewis & Clark law school, expresses similar concerns.  Half of the country may have right-of-center views, but a single token is supposed to constitute balance?  How sad is it that a major university would have to create a position like this to ensure a minimal range of viewpoint diversity on campus.  Through all this, Hayward is keeping things in perspective.