Writing in the Conversation, Sara B. Pritchard, an Associate Professor of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University, writes about the pervasiveness of "gender bias" that she claims is harming female professors in the United States.
"Now that most colleges and universities have completed their spring semesters, course instructors are opening up sealed manila envelopes, all over the country, to read their teaching evaluations," she begins her article, titled, "Should female faculty get bonus points to correct for gender bias in student evaluations?" She continues, "And, like each year, what they’ll find has been pervasively slanted by gender bias."
According to Pritchard, this is not a new phenomenon. "As a professor," she explains, "a member of the academy and a woman, I am deeply concerned about the professional and societal consequences of such bias. I’ve taught at four different institutions since 1996, full-time since 2004. 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."
After explaining what she sees as gender bias, Pritchard then proposes a "temporary" solution: "Female faculty should receive an automatic correction — that is to say, a bonus — on their quantitative teaching evaluation scores. The bonus should be determined by average gender bias in teaching evaluations at their institution or national averages."
Then, when teachers are reviewed, their evaluation "should then be based on these adjusted data, not those laden with unconscious (and possibly conscious) bias."
Finally, Pritchard concludes, if gender bias is not dealt with, the stakes are high.
"Without a more diverse faculty that reflects the true breadth of our society and our world," she writes, "we will lose vital scholars, leaders and role models."
H/T Campus Reform
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