From the Chronicle of Higher Ed: Two researchers (a husband and wife) have crunched data to explain academics are so liberal and why conservatives aren't interested in the academy. Turns out, it isn't political bias, class considerations, or the trauma of disagreement.
Instead the Woessners looked at differences in interests and personality. They found that in a variety of ways, conservative students were less interested than liberals in subject matter that often leads to doctoral degrees, and less interested in doing the kinds of things that professors spend their time doing.
For example, liberal students reported valuing intellectual freedom, creativity, and the chance to write original work and make a theoretical contribution to science. They outnumbered conservative students two to one in the humanities and social sciences — which are among the fields most likely to produce interest in doctoral study. Conservative students, however, put more value on personal achievement and orderliness, and on practical professions, like accounting and computer science, that could earn them lots of money.
The Woessners also found that conservative students put a higher priority than liberal ones on raising a family. That does not always fit well with a career in academe, where people often delay childbearing until after they earn tenure.
The research led the Woessners to conclude that if higher education wants to attract more conservatives to the professoriate, it should smooth the way financially, offering subsidized health insurance and housing for graduate students, and adopting family-friendly policies for professors.
Yes! Hear, hear! Let's raise salaries and graduate stipends, too! Anything, ANYTHING, to make the profession more appealing to conservatives. That is a sacrifice I am eminently willing to make.