According to the results of a climate survey that leaders of the American Economic Association called the first of its kind for the organization, which were released in September, 62 percent of black women reported experiencing racial or gender discrimination, or both. That was the highest percentage of any racial group. “I would not recommend my own (black) children to go into this field,” wrote one respondent. “It was a mistake for me to choose this field. Had I known that it would be so toxic, I would not have.”
The American Sociological Association has issued a cautionary statement on the use of SETs, endorsed by 17 other professional associations (including the American Historical Association and the American Political Science Association). The statement also offers better solutions, including:
Ask students to give feedback about their own experiences, not assign ratings, and use evaluations to locate patterns in a professor’s teaching over time, not to compare that professor to others.
The statement also provides examples of colleges that have taken a holistic approach to assessing teaching. The University of Oregon, for instance, has created a framework that includes peer review, self-reflection, and student feedback.
Pamela Newkirk, in “Why Diversity Initiatives Fail” in the Chronicle of Higher Ed today, writes about the ways that target-of-opportunity hiring fails, paying attention to history, and who’s responsible for the pipeline.
If anything, the trend is moving toward a flattened diversity-for-all mantle that embraces diversity of all kinds while ignoring the history and legacy of structural racial disadvantage baked into the educational system.
. . . Unless and until white America — including academics and those who claim progressive values — comes to terms with the reality of persisting injustice, diversity initiatives will continually fail.
Women tend to sit further forward when driving. This is because we are on average shorter. Our legs need to be closer to reach the pedals, and we need to sit more upright to see clearly over the dashboard. This is not, however, the “standard seating position”, researchers have noted. Women are “out of position” drivers. And our wilful deviation from the norm means that we are at greater risk of internal injury on frontal collisions. The angle of our knees and hips as our shorter legs reach for the pedals also makes our legs more vulnerable. Essentially, we’re doing it all wrong.
This Wednesday, Nov 13, at 6:30 in Gilman 75, Women & Gender Studies is holding a town hall to discuss the future of Teaching Fellows in the program. To learn more, visit the WGS Teaching Fellows blog and consider signing the open letter.