Compromising Scholarship: Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education

George Yancey, a professor of sociology at the University of North Texas, has focused his research on racial and ethnic bias. His recent books include Interracial Families: Current Concepts and Controversies and Interracial Contact and Social Change. Yancey’s newest study in Compromising Scholarship documents the bias of university faculty against members of various groups. Professor Yancey, aware that scientists, just like other Americans, are hesitant to reveal any prejudice or bias, focused his study on “collegiality” in an attempt to distract respondents from the research interest in bias. Yancey conducted his study via Internet survey and blog analyses in the fall of 2008. The survey questioned samples of faculty members in social science, physical science, and humanities departments about their preference for hiring members of twenty-seven different political, religious, sexual, and social groups.

The results make a unique contribution to the bias literature, as the survey data confirm both public suspicion and speculation found in previous studies and anecdotal stories: that university professors in general are somewhat liberal and try to exclude members of conservative religious denominations and conservative political and social groups from joining their university. This book will likely appeal most to those who are concerned about the influence that liberal teachers in higher education have on the minds of students. Of particular interest to Latter-day Saint readers is the bias that was expressed against potential colleagues belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 51:3
Purchase this Issue