Exemplifying our Open Academy commitments

CMC Professors Heather Ferguson and Jon Shields in the hallway of Kravis Center.

In keeping with CMC’s mission to educate students for thoughtful and productive lives and for roles in responsible leadership, The Open Academy is a critical response to the educational imperative of our time: Overcoming what divides us to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

The Open Academy is rooted in three CMC Commitments that are foundational to the College’s academic experience and programs: Freedom of Expression and Open Inquiry, Diversity of Viewpoint and Experience, and Constructive Dialogue.

Professors Heather Ferguson and Jon Shields have been tapped as the inaugural faculty co-directors of The Open Academy.

“As faculty co-directors, Heather and Jon are each committed and highly qualified to make powerful contributions to The Open Academy and expand its impact on our campus and nationally,” said Heather Antecol, vice president for academic affairs and the dean of the faculty.

Ferguson is an associate professor of Ottoman and Middle Eastern history. Her teaching resonates with students, who honored her in 2021 with the Glenn R. Huntoon Award for Superior Teaching. Her scholarship has also been recognized, earning the 2019 Koprülü Book Prize by the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association for The Proper Order of Things: Language, Power, and Law in Ottoman Administrative Discourses, as well a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship. In addition, Ferguson has taken on leadership roles across The Claremont Colleges, including her selection as a 2018 7C Claremont Faculty Leadership fellow.

Shields, a professor of government, teaches courses on controversial issues, such as policing, free speech, and culture wars. He is the author of three books on the American right, including Trump’s Democrats (coauthored with Stephanie Muravchik). His writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. Shields, who will serve as chair of CMC’s Government department next year, is also a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance and Heterodox Academy.

“As faculty leaders and inaugural co-directors, Heather and Jon exemplify and champion our Open Academy commitments in all ways,” said President Hiram Chodosh, “We are all moved by the enormous promise of their appointments and critical roles in the future of CMC, the academy, and our efforts to bolster the educational foundations of our democracy.”

Anne Bergman


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