Thursday, August 6, 2015

Nominations Sought for AALS Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award

From the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education:

The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education is pleased to open nominations for its 2016 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, the inaugural award honored Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 2014 the award honored Catharine A. MacKinnon, and the 2015 award honored Herma Hill Kay.  All of these remarkable women were recognized for their outstanding impact and contributions to the Section on Women in Legal Education, the legal academy, and the legal profession.

 The purpose of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award is to honor an individual who has had a distinguished career of teaching, service, and scholarship for at least 20 years.  The recipient should be someone who has impacted women, the legal community, the academy, and the issues that affect women through mentoring, writing, speaking, activism, and by providing opportunities to others.

 The Section is now seeking nominations for this most prestigious award. Only individuals who are eligible for Section membership may make a nomination, and only individuals—not institutions, organizations, or law schools—are eligible for the award.  As established by the Section’s Bylaws, the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Executive Committee will select the award recipient, and the award will be presented at the 2016 AALS Annual Meeting. 

 Please submit your nomination by filling out this electronic form​ by August 31, 2015Please note that only nominations submitted via the electronic form by the deadline will be accepted.

 Please email Dean Cynthia Fountaine if you have any questions or difficulty with your online submission. 

August 6, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Year of the Female Law Dean

National Jurist, Year of the Female Dean

Call it the year of the women dean. Eleven of the nation’s 28 new deans this summer are female, an unprecedented number. It brings the total number of female deans at the nation’s ABA-accredited law schools to 59, or about 30 percent, which is an increase of 21 percent from 2008.

 

While the number still pales in comparison to the number of female J.D. students, which is 47 percent, the dean numbers are inching closer to the percent of female full-time law faculty, which is 34 percent.

July 28, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Rise of Women Law Deans

We have been tracking the number of new women law deans.  Our current count is  11 of 25 new appointments (44%).

The National Law Journal provides more analysis in Female Deans Taking Charge

Since 1989, women who run law schools have dined together during an annual American Bar Association workshop for leaders in legal education. Tradition dictates that each attendee talk about her greatest success and failure during the year. They share support and ideas.

 

When Katherine Broderick assumed the deanship of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law in 1998, the 14 female law deans could fit at a relatively small table. Today, 59 women run American Bar Association-accredited law schools, comprising 30 percent of all law deans. That's up from under 21 percent in 2008, according to a survey of law faculty by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

 

Clearly, they need a bigger table.

 

"Because we are so many, the stories of triumph and disaster are much shorter," said Broderick, now the longest-serving woman dean.

 

The numbers are set to rise even higher. Eleven — fully 40 percent — of the 28 deans slated to take over this summer are women — a spike that has not gone unnoticed. Incoming deans who attended a two-day ABA conference in Chicago this month buzzed about the number of women in the room.

 

"It felt to me like there were a striking number of new female deans," said Jennifer Mnookin, who will take the top spot at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law on July 1. "At one point, I was talking with a group of six soon-to-be deans, and five of them were women. I don't think that would have been possible a decade ago."

June 23, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

46% of New Law Deans are Women

Update: 6-8-15

Before this year's new hires, women constituted 20.6% of Law Deans. See ABA Commission on Women, A Current Glance at Women in the Law

By my count, women constitute 11 of 24 (46%) of new deans this year. 

Jennifer Bard (Texas Tech),  Cincinnati

Kathleen Boozang (Seton Hall), Seton Hall

Danielle Conway (Hawaii), Maine

Lyn Entzeroth (Tulsa), Tulsa

Melanie Leslie (Cardozo), Cardozo

Jennifer Mnookin (UCLA), UCLA

Alicia Ouelette (Albany Acting Dean), Albany

Suzanne Reynolds (Wake Forest), Wake Forest

Jennifer Rosato (Dean, No Illinois), DePaul

Laura Rosenbury (Wash U), Florida

Melanie Wilson (Kansas), Tennessee

 Help keep the list current.  Add others to comments below.  

June 9, 2015 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Symposium: Women in the Law

Akron Law Review's, Women in the Law Symposium exploring a variety of issues at the intersection of women and the law.  And featuring an article by my co-editor, John Kang.

An Introduction to the Women in the Law Symposium
Tracy A. Thomas
-- Page 891

Professional Women Silenced by Men-Made Norms
Maritza I. Reyes
-- Page 897

Gender Differences in Dispute Resolution Practice: Report on the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Practice Snapshot Survey
Gina Viola Brown and Andrea Kupfer Schneider
-- Page 975

Physical Attractiveness and Femininity: Helpful or Hurtful for Female Attorneys
Peggy Li
-- Page 997

Women in Litigation Literature: The Exoneration of Mayella Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird
Julia L. Ernst
-- Page 1019

The Soldier and the Imbecile: How Holmes's Manliness Fated Carrier Buck
John Kang
-- Page 1056

Ill-conceived Laws and Exploitative State: Toward Decriminalizing Prostitution in India
Yugank Goyal and Padanabha Ramanujam
-- Page 1072

June 4, 2015 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Prof. McElroy Responds

And she responds with class. 

Lisa McElroy, After a Public Shaming, Reclaiming my Dignity. Excerpts don't do it justice.  Just read.

April 25, 2015 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Law School Accused of Mishandling Rape Investigation

Law Student Accuses University of San Diego for Mishandling Rape Investigation

A University of San Diego law student has filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming college officials discouraged her from reporting an alleged rape by two fellow students.

 

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating how the college handled reports of the same incident.

 

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 13, says the 29-year-old woman was raped by two men in the bathroom at an off-campus party in May 2013. The woman told NBC 7 she did not immediately report the incident to police because she was afraid.

 

"It's horrifying and stigmatizing. I didn't want to be that girl that got raped. Nobody does," she said.

 

But when she discovered one of her alleged attackers was in her evidence class the next fall semester, she informed her professor.

 

March 7, 2015 in Law schools, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Women in Law Leadership: A Bibliography

Women in Law Leadership: A Bibliography

 Taking on new administrative leadership at your law school?  Thinking of being a dean?  Here are some readings guiding you on this path.  Please add your own suggestions in the comments.

 ABA, Gindi Eckel Vincent & Mary Bailey Cranston, Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law

 Joan Williams & Rachel Dempsey, What Works for Women at Work (NYU Press 2014)

 Sheryl Sandburg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

 LeanIn.Org  http://leanin.org/

 Sharyl Sandburg & Adam Grant, Madam CEO, Get Me Coffee, NYT, Feb. 2015.

Deborah Maranville, et al, Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Table of Contents) (2015)

Martin Katz & Kenneth Margolis, Transforming Legal Education as an Imperative in Today's World: Leadership and Curricular Change

Laura Padilla, A Gendered Update on Women Law Deans: Who, Where, Why, and Why Not?, 15 J. Gender, Soc. Policy & the Law 443 (2007)

ABA, Women in the Profession, Grit and Growth Mindset Program

 The Women's Equality Program, Maryland School of Law

 2015 Women's Power Summit (Texas)

 AALS Women Deans’ Data Bank (discontinued)

February 19, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How to Get Away with Murder: Not exactly true to life but lots of fun

My favorite (and only) TV show. How to Get Away With Murder.  Of course you have to suspend reality.  I love the classroom scenes with this powerful woman crim law professor at the front.  

Why Doesn't Annalise Understand the Constitution? [spoiler alert]

3. Annalise's Fifth Amendment lesson plan is suspicious.

I know the show likes to cut between the case of the week and Annalise teaching in order to sort of demonstrate the practicum of her class (which, again, is better suited to a 3L seminar than a required 1L class, but I digress). But this week's lesson in never ever talking to the police seems pretty heavy-handed.

 

She shows up late to class, interrupting a lesson that a covering colleague had already begun to announce that she's going off syllabus. Annalise wants to talk about the Fifth Amendment and how suspects in criminal investigations shouldn't talk to police.

February 14, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Underrepresentation of Women of Color in Law Review Leadership Positions

In The Underrepresentation of Women of Color in Law Review Leadership Positions, Berkeley La Raza Law Journal (2015), A recent law grad analyzes that lack of opportunities available to women law students of color and proposes some affirmative solutions.

In the history of the UCLA Law Review, there has been only one black woman to serve as EIC (there have been no black men). This fact, combined with what I witnessed at the selection meeting, made me very concerned that the opportunities available to women of color law students were being unduly and unfairly limited. The unfortunate fact remains that in competing for law review leadership positions, women of color are significantly disadvantaged.

 

This Article explores the potential causes, challenges, and remedies surrounding this inequitable playing field. As Clare Dalton put it in describing the importance of investigating women’s issues in law school, “Exposing the sites of legal education and practice as important creators and sustainers of the culture of gender, as well as the culture of law, we can assert the importance of studying the treatment of women, women’s realities and women’s concerns in legal education and the legal profession.”5 The pipeline for women of color making the law review and into law review leadership positions, such as EIC, is one such site of legal education worth exposing.

 

Part I introduces the problem by examining the limited research that shows a significant underrepresentation of women and people of color in law review leadership positions, and explains the significance of such research. Part II explores the possible causes of this unfortunate phenomenon by uncovering the challenges that women of color face in obtaining law review leadership positions. Finally, Part III offers potential solutions for increasing opportunities for women of color in obtaining law review leadership positions.

 

Her proposed solutions include: creating a welcoming environment; structural remedies of diversity outreach committees, board quotas, mentorship programs, and transcripts and transparency of the board decisionmaking process.

February 12, 2015 in Education, Law schools, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Justice Ginsburg Rocks AALS Annual Meeting

NLJ, Ginsburg--and Reform--Highlight Law School Gathering

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg got the rock star treatment during the Association of American Law Schools’ annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Many of the normally rather staid legal educators in attendance whipped out their cellphones to snap pictures as Ginsburg entered the ballroom Saturday for an hour-long conversation with Wendy Williams, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

ICYMI, see Justice Ginsburg and Women's Legal History at AALS.  



January 6, 2015 in Conferences, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

AALS Women in Legal Education Programs Begin Friday

Friday, January 2

WILE Business Meeting and Networking Event, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Virginia Suite C, Lobby Level.  Refreshments to be served!  

 Saturday, January 3

Co-Sponsored Program, Liberty-Equality:  Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction—Griswold v. Connecticut Then and Now, 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m., Salon 1. 

Presented by the Section on Constitutional Law and co-sponsored by the Sections on Women in Legal Education and Legal History,  this program marks the 50th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the ground-breaking Supreme Court decision recognizing a right to privacy that protected individuals in making decisions about the use of contraceptives from the reach of state criminal law, but spoke implicitly to the constitutional underpinnings of an individual’s rights or interests in intimacy, marriage, procreation, sexuality, and sexual conduct.  Panelists will place the case in historical context, and explore the development of the Griswold doctrine, as well as its implications for current constitutional controversies over access to reproductive health care, marriage, sexuality and sexual conduct.

 

Speakers

Speaker: Cary C. Franklin, The University of Texas School of Law

Co-Moderator: M. Isabel Medina, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Speaker: Melissa E. Murray, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Speaker: Doug NeJaime, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Speaker: Neil S. Siegel, Duke University School of Law

Co-Moderator Speaker: Reva B. Siegel, Yale Law School

Section on Women in Legal Education Luncheon, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m., Salon 2.

Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, and 2015 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Herma Hill Kay, Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law.

 

Joint Program:  Engendering Equality:  A Conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, and New Voices in Legal History, 1:30 – 3:15 p.m., Salon 1.

This Section on Legal History and Women in Legal Education Joint Program, co-sponsored by the Section on Constitutional Law, explores the history of women’s equality and the legacy of Justice Ginsburg.  The first portion of the program will, through a conversation between Justice Ginsburg and Wendy Williams, consider the ideas and strategies shaping Justice Ginsburg’s efforts as an advocate, an academic, and a Justice to equal citizenship for women.   The second portion of the program will present a panel of new voices in Women’s Legal History who study the complex and often contradictory ways in which social, political, and legal actors have appealed to gender and equality in movements of the past, and suggest how such studies might engender/inform equality’s future.

Speakers

Speaker: Deborah Dinner, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Speaker: Lynda Dodd,  City College of New York, Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

Speaker: The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court of the United States

Co-Moderator: Reva B. Siegel, Yale Law School

Co-Moderator: Tracy A. Thomas, University of Akron, C. Blake McDowell Law Center

Speaker: Wendy W. Williams, Georgetown University Law Center

Speaker: Mary Ziegler, Florida State University College of Law

 

Sunday, January 4

AALS Crosscutting Program:  The More Things Change . . . Exploring Solutions to Persisting Discrimination in Legal Academia, 2:00 – 3:45 p.m., Thurgood Marshall East, Mezzanine Level.

 

This program, spearheaded by WILE Member Meera Deo, draws from empirical data, legal research, litigation strategy, and personal experience to both further conversations about the persistence of discrimination in the legal academy and activate strategies for addressing ongoing structural and individual barriers. Intersectional bias compounds many of these challenges, which range from the discriminatory actions of colleagues and students, to the marginalization of particular subject areas in the curriculum, to structural hierarchies in the profession.

By creating an avenue for direct personal exchange regarding these topics, the program seeks to build community between like-minded individuals who are diverse across characteristics of race, gender, class, teaching status, institution, and age. The focus of the participants is to share best practices and explore new approaches for overcoming ongoing discrimination, with the hope that these strategies may be more broadly employed.

The program follows an innovative format. After short presentations by three speakers, the program transitions to an “open microphone” session of speakers (selected in advance from a “call for remarks”) including those who are untenured, women of color, allies to marginalized faculty, clinical, legal writing and library faculty, and others with perspectives that may differ from the majority. The final thirty minutes are reserved for questions and conversation.

Speakers

Moderator and Commentator: Marina Angel, Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law

Speaker: Meera Deo, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Speaker: Angela P. Harris, University of California at Davis School of Law

Speaker: Melissa Hart, University of Colorado School of Law

Monday, January 5

Co-Sponsored Program:  Emotions at Work:  The Employment Relationship During An Age of Anxiety, 10:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m., Maryland Suite C, Lobby Level.

This program, presented by the Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law and co-sponsored by the Sections on Socio-Economics and on Women in Legal Education, recognizes that in uncertain economic times that translate into uncertain times in the workplace, many individuals are experiencing a greater range and intensity of emotions at work, both as employees and as employers.  Employees may be anxious about job security even when they have an employment contract or other job protections, may feel more pressure with respect to their work responsibilities, and may be emotionally (and not just financially) unprepared for sudden changes to their employment relationships and changes in career plans.  Employers also are experiencing heightened pressure as they try to steer their work organizations safely past the rough economic waves while needing to make some hard decisions along the way.  Are these emotions in the workplace openly recognized and managed, and if so, how?  This panel explores the emotional aspects of the employment relationship and how employment law or workplace policy should address these concerns.

 

Speakers

Speaker: Marion G. Crain, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Moderator: Rebecca K. Lee, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Speaker: Laura A. Rosenbury, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Speaker: Thomas Ulen, University of Illinois College of Law

Speaker: David Yamada, Suffolk University Law School

 

December 30, 2014 in Conferences, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays

Courtesy of the Akron Law Library.

Embedded image permalink

December 25, 2014 in Books, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Appellate Court Allows Law Prof's Gender and Race Discrimination Claim to Proceed

DC Circuit Revives Law Prof's Discrimination Claim Over Tenure Denial

A former professor at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law can proceed with a lawsuit accusing school officials of denying her tenure because of her race and gender, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled on Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit partially revived claims filed by Stephanie Brown, who was fired from the law school in May 2012 after she was denied tenure. Reversing the federal district judge who dismissed Brown’s case, a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel found Brown, who is black, presented enough of a nexus between her race and gender and her nonpromotion to survive at this stage of the litigation. [Brown v. Sessoms, No. 13-7027 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 19, 2014)]

Brown worked for more than two decades at the law school, according to court filings. In 2009, when she was an associate professor of law, she applied for tenure. Broderick expressed concerns that Brown hadn't produced enough legal scholarship, but ultimately approved the application after learning a law journal was about to publish one of Brown’s article. ...

Brown accused the school of discriminating against her based on her race and gender. She argued that the school granted tenure around the time she applied to a white male professor, William McClain, who had a similar scholarship record as she did. ...

“Drawing all inferences in her favor, we believe that Brown’s complaint sufficiently makes out that she and McLain had similar records with regard to teaching and service. Because both also failed to meet the publication requirement, their tenure applications appear, from the complaint, to be on comparable footing. The fact that McLain won tenure and Brown did not allows us ‘to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”

December 23, 2014 in Equal Employment, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Illinois Grants Bar Exam Breaks to Pump Breast Milk

New Mom Will Get Stop-the-Clock Breaks to Pump Breast Milk During Bar Exam

Told there was no procedure for appealing a decision by Illinois bar exam authorities not to provide stop-the-clock breaks when she needed to pump breast milk, Kristin Pagano nonetheless wrote a letter requesting reconsideration.

On Tuesday, that request was unanimously granted by the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar. Pagano will be allowed to take a break of up to 30 minutes during each three-hour segment of the test, which will not be counted against the time she is given to complete the bar exam, reports the Chicago Tribune. A female proctor and access to an appropriate area in which to pump breast milk will also be provided.

Hear Kristin speak about it here, Kristin Pagano Speaks: Breastfeeding Accommodations and the Illinois Bar Exam

December 18, 2014 in Family, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mindmapping and Flipping Classrooms: Videos on Innovative Law Teaching

TaxProfBlog, TED-Style Videos on Law Teaching

LegalEd has posted over thirty 10-minute Ted-style videos on law teaching:

  • Jamie Abrams (Louisville), The Socratic Method, Revisited
  • Renee Allen (Florida A&M), Metacognition and the Value of Reflection in Learning
  • Christine Bartholomew (SUNY-Buffalo), Finding Time
  • Sydney Beckman (Lincoln), Using Technology for Engagement and Assessment
  • John Bickers (N. Kentucky), How Non-Bar Tested Electives Can Teach Lawyering
  • Shawn Marie Boyne (Indiana), Teaching Through Simulations
  • Andrea Curcio (Georgia State), Assessing Ourselves as Law Professors
  • Aaron Dewald (Utah), Improving Presentations With Learning Sciences (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Aaron Dewald (Utah), Why Flip/Blend a Law School Classroom?
  • Victoria Duke (Indiana Tech), Bringing Exercises into Large Classes
  • Vicenç Feliú (Villanova), Clinics and Librarians Collaborating
  • Doni Gewirtzman (New York Law School), Teaching and Theater: The Craft of Law Teaching
  • Michele Gilman (Baltimore), Why Use Clickers? To Provide Students Real Time Feedback
  • Leigh Goodmark (Baltimore), How to Use a Drafting Exercise in a Doctrinal Course
  • Margaret Hahn-Dupont (Northeastern), Learning Through Reflection and Self-Assessment
  • Kim Hawkins (New York Law School), What Law Professors Need to Know About Visual Arts
  • Jeremiah Ho (UMass), Not Your Father's Case Method
  • Dan Jackson (Northeastern), Designing Lawyers: Leading an Experiential Law School Design Lab
  • Brett Johnson (Harvard), H2O Project: Remixing the Casebook
  • Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore), Teaching Narrative
  • Stefan Krieger (Hofstra) & Theodor Liebmann (Hofstra), Teaching Storytelling
  • Laurie Levenson (Loyola-L.A.), A Better Way to Teach Law School
  • Michele Pistone (Villanova), The Future of Higher Education
  • Michele Pistone (Villanova), Why Law School Needs to Change
  • Michele Pistone (Villanova) & Beryl Blaustone (CUNY), Teaching 21st Century Law Students: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose
  • Wes Reber Porter (Golden Gate), A Better Class to Class Process to Accompany Flipping
  • Jeffrey Ritter (Georgetown), Mapping the Law: Building and Using Visual Mindmaps for Legal Education
  • Jennifer Rosa (Michigan State), Legal Writing on Steroids: The Art of Flipping Your Classroom
  • William Slomanson (Thomas Jefferson), Why Flip? & Macro Design
  • Victoria Szymczak (Hawaii), Using Video to Convert Student Into Teachers
  • Debora Threedy (Utah), Flipping Contracts: The Making of the Videos
  • Frank Valdes (Miami), LatCrit and the Legal Academy
  • Leah Wortham (Catholic), Student Motivation and Sense of Well Being

December 16, 2014 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Women Law Professors Cited More, but Published Less than Men

A new study says women law professors are cited slightly more often than men.  NLJ, Study: Women Law Professors Cited More Often. Citation suggests some measure of good or relevant work being done by women.  But juxtapose that against the fact that women are published less often than men (32% of law reviews, 20% in top journals), a disparity that begins with student notes. (And similar to other disciplines where studies have shown, women are published less and cited less.)  Is this the professional equivalent of the neighborhood kickball game, where the girl has to be twice as good to get picked?  

Nancy Leong in Discursive Disparities details the consequences of women being left out of the writing game:   

Such harms include economic loss, damage to career, and diminished public influence. These harms are serious in themselves. Perhaps more importantly, however, the discursive gender disparity means that men's words dominate public discourse, and to control discourse is to control reality. When men's words, thoughts, ideas, and arguments constitute the overriding public narrative, the result is that men determine the texture of daily life on matters both trivial and grave. The result of the discursive disparity is that male discourse exercises a disproportionate influence on our collective consciousness.

 

 

December 11, 2014 in Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Study Shows Gender Bias in Student Evaluations of Professors

Best Way for Professor to Get Good Student Evaluations? Be Male.

Many in academia have long known about how the practice of student evaluationsof professors is inherently biased against female professors. Students, after all, are just as likely as the public in general to have the same ugly, if unconscious, biases about women in authority. Just as polling data continues to show that a majority of Americans think being a man automatically makes you better in the boss department, many professors worry that students just automatically rate male professors as smarter, more authoritative, and more awesome overall just because they are men. Now, a new study out North Carolina State University shows that there is good reason for that concern.

 

One of the problems with simply assuming that sexism drives the tendency of students to giving higher ratings to men than women is that students are evaluating professors as a whole, making it hard to separate the impact of gender from other factors, like teaching style and coursework. But North Carolina researcher Lillian MacNell, along with co-authors Dr. Adam Driscoll and Dr. Andrea Hunt, found a way to blind students to the actual gender of instructors by focusing on online course studies. The researchers took two online course instructors, one male and one female, and gave them two classes to teach. Each professor presented as his or her own gender to one class and the opposite to the other. 

 

The results were astonishing. Students gave professors they thought were male much higher evaluations across the board than they did professors they thought were female, regardless of what gender the professors actually were. When they told students they were men, both the male and female professors got a bump in ratings. When they told the students they were women, they took a hit in ratings. Because everything else was the same about them, this difference has to be the result of gender bias. 

 

“The difference in the promptness rating is a good example for discussion,” MacNell explains in the press release for the study. "Classwork was graded and returned to students at the same time by both instructors. But the instructor students thought was male was given a 4.35 rating out of 5. The instructor students thought was female got a 3.55 rating.” Considering that professors were rated on a five-point scale, losing an entire point on the "promptness" question just because students think you're female is a major hit. 

“The ratings that students give instructors are really important, because they’re used to guide higher education decisions related to hiring, promotions and tenure,” says Lillian MacNell, lead author of a paper on the work and a Ph.D. student in sociology at NC State. “And if the results of these evaluations are inherently biased against women, we need to find ways to address that problem.”

 

December 11, 2014 in Abortion, Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Study Shows Persistent Discrimination for Women Law Faculty of Color

Meera Deo (Thomas Jefferson), The Ugly Truth About Legal Academia, 80 Brooklyn L. Rev. (2015).

The Diversity in Legal Academia (DLA) project is the first formal, comprehensive, mixed-method empirical examination of the law faculty experience, utilizing an intersectional lens to investigate the personal and professional lives of legal academics. This Article reports on the first set of findings from that study, which I personally designed and implemented. DLA data reveal that ongoing privilege and institutional discrimination based on racism and sexism create distinct challenges for particular law faculty. Interactions between women of color law faculty and both their faculty colleagues and their students indicate persisting racial and gender privilege, resulting in ongoing bias. These findings cry out for law schools to intensify efforts at strengthening rather than de-emphasizing diversity, as many may be tempted to do during this period of great turmoil in legal education. In fact, law schools should provide greater institutional support to faculty, which will help not only those who are underrepresented, marginalized, and vulnerable, but all law faculty, law students, and the legal profession overall. This Article draws from both quantitative and qualitative data gathered from this national sample of law faculty to focus on the ways in which race, gender, and the combination of the two affect law faculty interactions with colleagues and students. It also proposes individual strategies and structural solutions that can be utilized in order for legal academia to live up to its full potential.

November 25, 2014 in Education, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

From Working Class to Academia

From one our past guest bloggers, Susan Apel, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School, a personal memoir about moving from the working class to academia.

November 20, 2014 in Law schools, Poverty, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)