Students Say They Prefer White Male Professors: We Cannot Allow That, Can We?

The University of California, Berkeley lets students evaluate professors. The University does not like the results.

Campus Reform reports Berkeley Prof Wants to Nix Student Evals After White Male Profs Score Higher.

A University of California, Berkeley professor suggested scrapping end-of-semester student evaluations for hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions after claiming that the grades and evaluations are biased against female instructors and people of color.

“Over the next few weeks, students will get the chance to evaluate their professors and TAs. They’re going to get it wrong,” UC Berkeley history professor Brian DeLay tweeted on Sunday. “They’ll be harder on women and people of color than on white men. Tenured white male faculty, in particular, should help their students understand this.”

Thanks to reader CJ for this article.

"I Know Better"

There you have it. Let's not ask students what they want because "I, Brian DeLay, know the students will get it wrong."

Bear in mind, this is after constant hounding of students, virtual elimination of freedom of speech on campuses, and the creation of "safe zones" etc., where saying anything against women, people of color, gays, lesbians, transgenders is not tolerated.

I suggest, the students are indeed biased, but in the reverse manner that know-it-alls like Brian DeLay suggest.

For the record, one of the best professors I had in college was Ms. Tong, an Asian lady who taught calculus. I suspect she would have blown away the ratings of the other math teachers.

There was no one in that class who had anything but complete respect for her.

It is the height of arrogance for DeLay to tell students that he knows they are biased and wrong.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (44)
No. 1-17
2banana
2banana

Or maybe, simply, affirmative action hires don't make the best professors.

Wonder how past students of Elizabeth Warren feel on her teaching skills.

Stuki
Stuki

At a campus where half the students are Asian.....

Runner Dan
Runner Dan

Who will work harder to keep their job, a tenured professor or non-tenured? Perhaps the study reveals discrimination in awarding tenured positions.

Better yet, make all teaching positions non-tenured with employment contracts renewed yearly based, in part, on student evaluations and the teacher’s salary requirements. Immigrant teachers encouraged to apply, of course!

Schaap60
Schaap60

I filled out these evaluations 30 years ago at UCLA. I never once thought about the TA or professors' race or gender. I recall having numerous female professors and TA's, and a fair number of minorities, though many fewer. My wife went on to TA in grad school at UCLA and actually still has her evaluations. She's also a minority and never thought the evaluations were biased in any particular way based on gender or race. Ironically, both of her minority parents were tenured college professors at a Cal State University. One received a Teacher of the Year award based on student evaluations. Good thing they didn't teach at an oppressive and backward place like Berkeley.

We had a good laugh over this post. More virtue signalling and "we know better than you" nonsense.

gregggg
gregggg

The Berkeley campus is close to Hollywood... Its' a disease and it spread.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

"Wonder how past students of Elizabeth Warren feel on her teaching skills."

Grade F You are clearly disparaging a native American Indian.

Ron Cataldi
Ron Cataldi

As a college educated, above-average IQ white male, I don't get worked up about this kind of stuff, because I know that I actually do have a big advantage, and none of these kinds of efforts are going to do anything about it. My family has a tradition of academic and financial success, and we're genetically prone to high iq, and that's worth about 1000x more than any efforts at equal opportunity, race/gender laws, etc. For the white guys who mow lawns, build houses, etc, hopefully their families have good work ethics, because honestly anyone can learn to do those jobs. After watching low class white people vote for Trump, I'm not very sympathetic to their concerns. If they want to behave like animals, they can compete like everyone else.

RonJ
RonJ

The professor is being racist, projecting that students will evaluate a certain way, based on the sex or color of the person being rated.

KidHorn
KidHorn

Starting in 2021, when the dems get back in control, this sort of thing will become normal. The dem constituency will be a collection of groups who will be labelled as discriminated against. I suspect over time the groups will fight among each other over who is more discriminated against.

Dangereuse
Dangereuse

Dear Mr. Shedlock, I appreciate your excellent column, but in this case I think there's more to this question than you suggest. As an alumna of UC Berkeley, I had a lot of brilliant professors, men and women. Several years ago a colleague of mine, Ben Schmidt, wrote a computer program to analyze the language used in millions of student evaluations of professors on ratemyprofessor.com, and found that both male and female students were much more likely to use the words 'brilliant', 'genius', 'funny' (and others) when evaluating white male professors than anyone else. Should this be accepted face value as evidence that white men in academia are more likely to be funny and brilliant than anyone else? Maybe, I'm not sure.

Maximus_Minimus
Maximus_Minimus

I happen to have a bias against history professors, and economists no matter what the color of the skin. /s

thimk
thimk

college ain't what it used to be.

astroboy
astroboy

To some degree, the history teacher has a point. There is no reason that students couldn't be biased, it's not like racism doesn't exist. Of course, it could just be that on average white male professors are better teachers.

When I taught college my reviews were quite amusing reading. Most students thought I was brilliant and a wonderful teacher, other thought I was a complete waste of space, a few were neutral. I believe that's true for most professors, more or less.

Well, who was correct? I don't know. The point is that relying on student evaluations is a pretty iffy proposition and in my limited experience they're (fortunately) not taken too seriously, other than to polish up teaching techniques when the criticism can be useful.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

"both male and female students were much more likely to use the words 'brilliant', 'genius', 'funny' (and others) when evaluating white male professors than anyone else. "

Does that reflect bias based on race or sex? The danger here is that UC hires teachers just to achieve diversity. If they truly are not as good, then the kids will pick up on it, accurately.

What percentage of White male teachers are there? I will make up a number: 62%. If so, on that basis alone one would expect to see more brilliance attributed to white males.

Thinking back to my college engineering degree. I can only name two professors off the top of my head. Ms. Tong - Calculus, Wilson Tang - Statistics. Both Asian, both excellent. Two other teachers were excellent but I cannot recall their names.

Ms. Tong was one of only two female teachers I had in five years. The other was horrid. Worst teacher in 5 years.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

"The professor is being racist, projecting that students will evaluate a certain way, based on the sex or color of the person being rated."

Precisely

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

I just did "excellent" - Appears to be mostly random except for CS and Engineering. Can it be that the kids are simply right? Why not?

chongcheech
chongcheech

How can he statistically disprove that black men make better athletes in football and basketball. He can't. A black person's voice is more robust than a whites person's voice. Am I a racist for making these quantifying assertions or has God created a beautiful garden where the vegetables are all different but edible... they all contribute different taste to the meal.