Gender bias exists in professor evaluations
The New York Times - 12/16/2015
Just like internal teaching evaluations, Viacom’s Rate My Professors gives students a platform to say whatever is on their minds, with anonymity and without fear of retribution. Many professors have wondered (based on some damningevidence) how strong a role gender bias plays in evaluations.
Since Rate My Professors is the only place that puts large numbers of evaluations in the public eye, it offers a unique chance to see how language is used to describe male and female professors differently. I downloaded most of the reviews from the site in 2014 — about 14 million of them — and made an interactive website (which you can explore here) to pinpoint precisely how often different words are used to describe men and women. (I statistically guessed at gender using lists of first names from the Social Security Administration). Many users of my site expect sexism to take the form of objectification. But while Rate My Professors (and its infamous chili peppers) do promote a lot of verbiage about teachers’ looks, students are just about as likely to call men “hot” or “sexy” as they are women.