4 Things I’ll Miss About Academia—And 4 Things I Won’t

4 Things I’ll Miss About Academia—And 4 Things I Won’t

I made a major career move this summer. After working ten years as a college professor, I decided it was time for something new: I left academia to become a full-time author. My reasons for this were both personal and professional. 

It was a tough decision to leave the academy because there are a lot of things I love about it. So here are four things I’ll miss about being a college professor—and four things I won’t miss at all.

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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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College Professor Told To Stop Teaching About Prostitution, Or Else

College Professor Told To Stop Teaching About Prostitution, Or Else

Dr. Patricia Adler, who teaches a popular course on the topic of deviance at the University of Colorado, Boulder, was recently warned by university administrators that she must stop giving her regular lecture on prostitution, or run the risk of being fired and losing her retirement benefits. Adler, who has reportedly given this lecture forty times over the last two decades, was stunned by this development, as were many college faculty members around the world, myself included.

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Have Some Human Sexuality Courses Crossed The Line?

There has been a lot of controversy over college-level Human Sexuality courses lately. For instance, a student at Western Nevada College just filed a lawsuit against her school and instructor because she attended a Human Sexuality course in which students were allegedly required to masturbate, keep a sex journal, and discuss their own sexual history as part of a paper assignment. And last year, a well-known sex researcher made headlines after it was discovered that he held an event for his Human Sexuality students outside of class in which a nude woman was sexually stimulated by a motorized sex toy on stage. These are just a few examples of cases where the media has questioned whether some of these classes have simply gone too far (see here for details on a few other cases that have attracted media attention over the years). In this article, I offer my thoughts on this subject based upon my own teaching experiences.  
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Do Sexy Students Make Teachers More Likely To Divorce?

A few years back, a journal article entitled Teaching May Be Hazardous to Your Marriage was published.1 This article reported a study showing that men who teach at the high school and college levels have a significantly increased likelihood of being divorced or separated compared to guys in other occupations (the same finding did not hold true for women). The researchers interpreted this finding as evidence that being exposed to teenage women on a regular basis is harmful to men’s marriages by creating a contrast effect. That is, male professors are thought to be more inclined to divorce because their wives don’t look as good in comparison to the teenage beauties who populate their classrooms on a daily basis. The title of this paper and the language used by the authors (who repeatedly mention the “real consequences” of working in higher education) imply that people who are married to male teachers might want to start sending their husbands to work with blindfolds on. But is there really any cause for alarm?
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