Many college students use Rate My Professor as a tool to create the perfect schedule with the best professors. It is a site where students anonymously rate their professors from their college; however, many students do not realize that this site might be discrediting many well qualified female and minority professors. On March 4th, Inside Higher ED reported a new study showing that students tend to give higher ratings to white male professors.
This new study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. It stated that in their anonymous reviews on the site students would use words such as "genius" or "brilliant" to describe their white male professors more than their female and minority professors. So, why is this the case? Well, it turns out that those described as "genius" and "brilliant" were in fields, such as physics, that are unfortunately lacking in female and minority professors. These findings could also lead to a deadly cycle. According to Inside Higher Ed, in the education system teacher evaluations are highly valued when it comes to hiring and promoting. If white male professors are getting higher reviews then their female and minority coworkers, then this shows why there is a lack of diversity within certain fields.
So, does this mean that there is a bias against female and minority professors on sites such as Rate My Professor? Well there is definitely a pretty large gender and race gap on the site. Students will eventually lean away from this harmful stereotype, but until then it might be smart to use caution and reason before trusting the reviews on these kind of websites.
Photo Credits: Jan Ingar Grindheim Flickr.com