The University of Colorado on Wednesday announced five finalists for the second year of the Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy program.

Steven Hayward is now filling the position for the first year of the three-year pilot program, teaching several classes and hosting speakers, events and discussions throughout the 2013-2014 academic year.

More than 20 donors contributed $1 million to support the program designed to add a conservative perspective to the university community, long perceived as a haven for liberal thought.

The finalists are:

Terry Anderson, president of the Property and Environmental Research Center and senior fellow of the Hoover Institution.

Bradley Birzer, Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies and history professor at Hillsdale College.

Arthur Herman, author of "Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age."

Gary Libecap, professor of corporate environmental management at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Department of Economics at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Ron Haskins, who was a finalist for the position last year and has been a senior fellow and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution since 2001.

The scholar, selected this year by a community advisory committee, could serve in 2014-2015 or in subsequent school years.

Ann Carlos, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and chairwoman of the conservative scholar search committee, said the committee wanted to streamline the hiring process for the conservative scholar, and decided this year that it may name two finalists for the next two years.

That plan also worked for the candidates, many of whom already have commitments for the upcoming school year but wanted to be considered for 2015-2016.

"We also recognize it's extraordinarily costly to have 10 people involved in a continuous search for the same person, essentially," Carlos said. "It was between the candidates themselves and the recognition of the cost and time; we thought, well, perhaps we can be efficient and streamline and say we know we are filling out these next two years and we want to get the best candidates."

Carlos said the program is still set to run for three years, but the committee also wanted to start thinking about what could happen if the program is reinstated for a fourth year or beyond.

The search committee is composed of CU faculty and community members such as CU President Emeritus Hank Brown and former Boulder Mayor Bob Greenlee, among others.

In his first semester as CU's conservative scholar, Hayward taught two classes, hosted four events under the conservative scholar program and appeared on numerous panels and discussions.

Carlos said the campus and Boulder reception of Hayward has been very welcoming.

"The campus is about an exchange of ideas in a scholarly context, and so (Hayward) is sort of the mechanism for opening discussion in the classroom and I think between the campus and the community at large," she said. "It's been very collegial, very cordial, very welcoming."

Hayward, who is a little more than halfway done with his year at CU, said he's enjoyed meeting students and faculty members on the Boulder campus through his courses and events.

If he were to change anything about the position, Hayward said he would have the conservative scholar teach already-established classes within one department.

"Conservative thought is not a subject like biology; it's a point of view that fits into any subject depending on what your background is," he said. "I was always against the idea of having a set-aside conservative studies program or conservative person floating around like a free safety in football."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or