Are College Students “Naturally Biased” Against Female Instructors?

Are College Students “Naturally Biased” Against Female Instructors?

A new study claiming to demonstrate bias in how college students evaluate female instructors has been making a lot of waves in the media recently. The study, published in the journal Innovative Higher Education, found that students in an online course gave lower ratings to instructors who were presented as female compared to those who were presented as male.  In response, Slate ran an article entitled “Best Way For Professors To Get Good Student Evaluations? Be Male,” in which they called the results of this study “astonishing” and concluded that “men still get bonus points for showing up male.” Likewise, Jezebel ran an article entitled “Students Give Male Instructors Better Evaluations, Says Science,” in which they claimed that this study demonstrates that “college students are naturally biased against female instructors.” But are college students in general really so hostile to the idea of being taught by women? Looking across all of the science out there on this topic, you’ll find that the story is much more complicated than these media reports let on.

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Take A Moment To Thank Your Favorite College Professor Today

Take A Moment To Thank Your Favorite College Professor Today

If you all will allow me a day off from sex talk, I’d like to share a personal story. I learned this week that one of my favorite professors from my college days, Dr. Robin Powers, passed away from cancer. She was a pivotal figure in my life and I can honestly look back and say that I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today without her help. Dr. Powers was so much more than just another one of my teachers—she was also a mentor, a friend, and a major source of inspiration for entering the field of psychology.

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