Examining the Relation Between Race and Student Evaluations of Faculty Members: A Literature Review (2007).

ABSTRACT. The assertion that scholarship is limited on the relation between ethnicity and student evaluations of faculty members is perhaps an understatement. While there is a wealth of scholarship on the relation between gender and student evaluations of faculty members, little has been published on how ethnicity (of both faculty members and students) informs students’ rating of teaching effectiveness. Throughout research into issues specific to minority faculty members there are passing references to the sometimes unfair use of student evaluations to determine faculty tenure, promotion, and merit pay; but these references do not and cannot serve as pertinent scholarship on how a faculty member’s ethnic background creates biases that reveal themselves in those evaluations. In one of the few essays that address the relation between ethnicity and evaluation, Heidi J. Nast explores, among other things, “student resistances to multicultural teaching and faculty diversity [and] the risks that derive from problematic institutional deployment of student evaluations as a means of judging multicultural curricular and faculty success” (103). Nast’s essay is especially revealing in the following articulations. First, “students use evaluations to register anger and disapproval at having to negotiate topics and issues in a scholarly way which conflict with heretofore learned social values and assumptions.” Second, the likelihood of negative evaluations increases when faculty members “curricularly address issues of homophobia, racism, classism, misogyny or heterosexism.”

Williams, D. A. (2007). Examining the relation between race and student evaluations of faculty members: A literature review. Profession, 168-173. https://doi.org/10.1632/prof.2007.2007.1.168

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