Should universities award ‘bonus points’ to female professors’ course evaluations to remedy gender bias?
Sarah Pritchard, an associate professor at Cornell University, says colleges should add bonus points to female faculty members’ teaching evaluations to combat students’ overwhelming gender bias.
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The Ivy League professor describes female instructors as inherently disadvantaged and says schools should ensure a “level playing field.” according to Gabby Morrongiello, reporter for Campus Reform.
College students across America are typically required to complete evaluations at the end of each semester. These materials are often distributed to students in-class prior to final exams and used by administrators and professors to assess both curriculum and job performance.
Weeks after the evaluations are completed—once grades have been submitted and campuses have cleared out for summer—professors will undo the manilla envelopes in which they’ve been collected and survey the damage.
“And, like each year, what they’ll find has been pervasively slanted by gender bias,” says Sara Pritchard, an associate professor of science and technology at Cornell University in New York.
Pritchard has been a full-time college professor since 2004. Throughout her years in academia, she has become increasingly disturbed by what she claims is an ongoing dilemma for many female scholars.
“I’ve read some of the research on gender bias in course evaluations, heard shocking stories from female colleagues, and, unfortunately, seen the issue in my own evaluations,” Pritchard wrote in a recent column for The Conversation— an online blog written by, and intended for, individuals in the academic and research communities.
According to Pritchard, female professors are more likely to find personal attacks and “comments that have nothing to do with their teaching abilities or competencies” embedded in students’ feedback regardless of whether they teach at the undergraduate or post-baccalaureate level.
“For instance, it’s common for female faculty to read comments about their appearance and fashion choices,” she writes.
Echoing the sentiments of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Pritchard cites a recent “gendered language” study which claims that college students are more likely to describe female instructors as “bossy,” in addition to more flattering words like “nice,” “approachable,” or “helpful.” The same study indicates that male instructors are more often characterized as “funny,” “genius,” or “brilliant.”
Source: Campus Reform