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.Read More
Yes, you read that headline right. Last year, the president elect of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Lazar Greenfield, resigned from his position after penning a controversial Valentine’s Day editorial in Surgical News. In his editorial, Greenfield cited a controversial journal article published a decade ago which found that women who did not use condoms reported fewer depressive symptoms than women who practiced safe sex . Based upon these results, some scientists have argued that semen may have antidepressant properties. Greenfield is an apparent believer because he wrote in Surgical News that “there’s a deeper bond between men and women than St Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there’s a better gift for that day than chocolates.” Female surgeons around the world were offended (and rightfully so) at Greenfield’s implication that semen is the best “gift” for women. Most media outlets that covered this story focused only on the sexism embedded in Greenfield’s editorial, but if you’re anything like me, you probably couldn’t help but wonder whether the study Greenfield cited has even a hint of scientific validity. Does it really provide evidence that semen has beneficial effects on women’s psychological well-being? Let's take a closer look at the research.