Holiday Messages for the LGBTQ Community

Some holiday love:

This season, supportive moms [and dads] have gathered to send a holiday message to all LGBTQ children, teens and young adults who are without family support and who would like a “stand-in Holiday Mom”–or 40! Knowing that not every mother is ready to accept her own LGBTQ child exactly as-is (as hard as this is for us to imagine), we moms have written to extend our love beyond that of our own family.

Teaching evaluations

A reader writes:

There is ample evidence that implicit bias skews course evaluations to the disadvantage of minorities and women–particularly unattractive women. Some time back I recall someone at this site remarked that she was told that the surest way to improve one’s evaluations was to lose 20 pounds. And it’s true.

Course evaluations are mandatory at my university and the plan now is to switch to online evaluations the results of which will go directly to administrators. Currently in my department at least tenured faculty don’t have to submit evaluations to their chair or other administrators. I never have.

I’d like to (1) compare notes about policies at other universities regarding course evaluations and (2) make the case that this use of evaluations should be resisted. It is a plain empirical fact that assessing women on the basis of evaluations puts us at a disadvantage–particularly if we’re unattractive.

I hope someone at this site can write on this. Setting up what is in effect a university-sponsored is detrimental to the interests of women, minorities, and unattractive people in the profession, it sends the message to students that going over instructors’ heads to the bosses is appropriate behavior, and it undermines the professional autonomy of all faculty.

This seems an excellent topic to discuss. Do put your thoughts in comments!

Uganda: The Fight for Women’s Land Rights

Uganda: The Fight for Women’s Land Rights

“In 2001, after the death of her husband, and her son shortly afterwards, Helen Kongai was left with no money and the threat of losing her land – the land on which she had long lived and farmed. But while Ugandan culture dictates that a husband’s family take back any land after he dies, Helen fought successfully to keep it.

“Now, at the age of 50 and a successful farmer, Helen runs a residential training centre from which she has trained thousands in sustainable organic agriculture and offers gender studies lessons in an attempt to bridge the gap between men and women, overcome customary discriminatory practices, and help women gain equal access to land…”

See also:

Send a Cow: Supporting African families out of poverty

Helen Kongai – Ugandan Farmer: How small scale agriculture transforms the lives of women in Uganda

Recognizing the African woman farmer