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 ratemyprofessor.com 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!